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August is National Black Business Month, but supporting Black-owned businesses shouldn’t end after Aug. 31. Black people have been setting trends across culture in so many mediums, especially beauty. However, they don’t always get recognized for their innovations and accomplishments in the beauty space — and many other spaces, too. That’s why we should celebrate their enormous contributions by shopping Black-owned beauty brands.
Pat McGrath, known in the industry as “Mother,” is one of the most sought-after makeup artists in the world, typically leading over 60 shows every season of Fashion Week. She has created too many trends to count and her looks are emulated on HBO’s “Euphoria.” Her eponymous makeup line, Pat McGrath Labs, is known for products with incredible color payoff and striking packaging. Then there’s Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, which forever changed the beauty world with her 50 shades of foundation, leading other brands to build out their ranges with diverse shades to become more inclusive. Black-owned brands know they can’t just cater to one skin tone or hair type, covering a wide range of beauty needs.
It’s not just A-listers who have their own lines, as there are plenty of indie options out there too. Honor them by shopping some of the best Black-owned beauty brands. If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on Variety.com, we may receive an affiliate commission.
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One of the most beloved indie hair brands on the market, Briogeo is known for its natural formulas that work, with a celebrity following to prove it. Briogeo founder and CEO Nancy Twine is the youngest Black woman to launch a hair-care line at Sephora. The brand is based on her grandmother’s homemade hair-care recipes, which work on every hair type, tapping into the power of plants — specifically their vitamins and antioxidants — to leave you with stronger, shinier, healthier strands. The best-selling Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask brings life back to even the most damaged, dry hair, restoring hydration and preventing future breakage in just five minutes. B vitamins, rosehip oil, argan oil, collagen and silk team up to transform strands, leaving them shiny and strong. $36, sephora.com
2. Mented Cosmetics
One nude lipstick does not fit all. That’s the idea behind clean beauty brand Mented Cosmetics, founded by KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson. They started with creating a range of nude lipsticks to ensure every woman could find just the right one for them. The line now encompasses more lip products, as well as makeup for eyes, brows and face. Every product is packed with pigment to show off those nude tones. If you’re going to buy just one thing, make it their OG item, a Semi Matte Nude Red Brown Lipstick. Foxy Brown is the perfect blend of brown and red with a velvety matte finish. $16.50, amazon.com
3. Beautystat Cosmetics
Cosmetics chemist Ron Robinson knows his way around product development. After countless creations for Clinique, L’Oréal, Revlon and Avon, he finally went out on his own to launch Beautystat Cosmetics. He had already made a name for himself as the blogger behind Beauty Stat, earning a following for his no-nonsense reviews of thousands of products. He applied the same approach to Beautystat Cosmetics by educating clients on what works and what doesn’t, cutting out the noise in the beauty industry. The hero product is BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner Serum, which has 20% pure vitamin C, in the form of L-ascorbic acid. The multitasker does everything from improving radiance, tone and texture to minimizing dark spots. The ingredient list also contains squalane for moisture and tartaric acid to boost absorption. $80, amazon.com
Tracee Ellis Ross is famous for many things, including her starring role on “Black-ish,” being the daughter of Diana Ross and her perfectly defined ringlets. There’s a good chance her hair-care line, Pattern, has something to do with the latter. The full range of curly hair products covers all the bases with shampoos, conditioners, brushes and stylers. Curls need lots of attention, so there are products for different types of curls and coils. The Leave-In Conditioner is a favorite for its ability to seal in moisture, detangle and help define the curl pattern, thanks to a combination of oils and honey, all in a lightweight formula that will never weigh hair down. $25, ulta.com
5. Uoma Beauty
While she was an LVMH executive, Sharon Chuter had a bird’s eye view of the beauty industry and saw the meager offerings in cosmetics for women of color. She took matters into her own hands and launched Uoma Beauty in 2019, ensuring that every single product had a shade available for everyone. The award-winning Say What? Foundation comes in a whopping 51 shades in an array of undertones. The hydrating, long-wear formula contains biomimicry pigments to deliver a second-skin effect. $39, ulta.com
6. Black Girl Sunscreen
When a sunscreen claims to have a “universal” tint, there’s a chance that tint isn’t so universal after all. Those with dark complexions might buy a bottle, only to end up with a white cast all over their faces. Enter Black Girl Sunscreen, which goes on completely sheer. Shontay Lundy created the sunscreen brand to ensure there will never be any telltale chalkiness left behind. The formula is meant to be worn every day — since that’s how often every skin tone needs to wear sunscreen — and doubles as a moisturizer. It’s chock full of skin-loving ingredients like avocado, sunflower oil, jojoba and vitamin C-rich carrot juice. The combination deeply hydrates and prevents breakouts. Plus, the formula is natural, vegan, cruelty-free and reef safe. $15.99, target.com
7. Beauty Bakerie
Its name isn’t the only sweet thing about Beauty Bakerie. Every product has an endearing moniker inspired by a dessert, with the bright pastel packaging to match. Then there’s the sweet and inspiring story behind the brand. Cashmere Nicole always wanted to launch her own beauty brand and finally did so in 2011, overcoming the challenges of battling breast cancer as a single mom. The line burst onto the beauty scene thanks to Instagram, when videos of their Lip Whip staying exactly as you applied it went viral. $20, ulta.com
8. Hyper Skin
Desiree Verdejo has always tapped into the beauty market for women of color. Her New York City-based boutique, Vivrant Beauty, based in Harlem, focused on just that. That taught her what her customers needed and when she found a gap in the market, she launched Hyper Skin. Its Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum is a miracle multitasker by treating breakouts and the dark marks they leave behind. The power ingredients are 15% vitamin C and vitamin E to prevent hyperpigmentation. There’s also turmeric root extract to minimize inflammation, kojic acid to brighten and hyaluronic acid to moisturize. $36, gethyperskin.com
There’s a major misconception that darker skin tones don’t need as much SPF as lighter complexions — and it’s completely wrong. Katonya Breaux has been working to bust that myth since she personally experienced the toll skin damage can take in her early 30s. She aims to teach women of color that slathering on sunscreen every day, rain or shine, is crucial. Her sunscreen line, Unsun, is definitely helping. She launched it in 2016 after years of searching for sunscreen that worked on women of color. The Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen boasts broad spectrum SPF 30 that won’t leave behind any color or residue, seamlessly blending into skin. The clean, natural ingredients including moisture-packed glycerin, coconut oil and olive fruit oil. $29, credobeauty.com