It's no secret that the beauty industry has been far from inclusive in the past—but with the events unfolding in the US over the last few days, many of us have become more conscious of how we can do better.
One way I want to do so here on this site is to highlight the black-owned skincare brands that deserve your support.
Exercising your individual buying power is just one small way to take action, but it can make a big difference. By helping these businesses to grow, you will be encouraging economic investment, fostering job creation and strengthening black communities.
And with the amazing products they've created, these brands truly should be on your radar, anyway! Think: superfood powder face masks, non-whitening sunscreens, all-natural lip masks, and much more.
Read on to discover the black-owned skincare brands you need to know about, plus my top product pick from each.
Black-Owned Skincare Brands
- Brand background: Golde was launched by Tiffany Mouzon Wofford and her partner with the goal of bringing inclusivity and fun to the wellness space. The company started out with ingestible turmeric latte powders, and has now expanded into all-natural face masks.
- Editor's pick: Golde Lucuma Bright Instant Exfoliating Superfood Face Mask transforms from a powder to a creamy gel with a few drops of water. Left on the skin for 15 minutes, the lucuma, papaya and sea buckthorn fruits will gently exfoliate and brighten.
EleVen by Venus
- Brand background: EleVen by Venus is the brainchild of tennis superstar Venus Williams. In addition to selling activewear, she recently teamed up with Credo Beauty and The Sunscreen Company on a mineral suncare collection.
- Editor's pick: EleVen by Venus Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35 is a highly innovative sunscreen serum for all skin tones and types. Not only does it gives you broad-spectrum protection (with 25 percent zinc oxide), but it is also completely weightless and transparent on the skin.
- Brand background: KNC Beauty began after founder Kristen Noel Crawley fell in love with lip masks on a trip to Tokyo. Upon learning that a natural version did not exist, she was inspired to create her own, and now sells lip balms and eye patches, too.
- Editor's pick: KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen Infused Lip Mask is a gel-textured sheet mask for your lips. (You've probably seen it on Emma Stone!) Glycerin, collagen, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E help to plump and hydrate in just 15 minutes.
- Brand background: Shani Darden is the eponymous skincare range by celebrity facialist Shani Darden (whose A-list clientele includes Jessica Alba, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kelly Rowland). After years of honing her clinical expertise, she developed her own products, including a retinol that quickly became a cult sensation.
- Editor's pick: Shani Darden Retinol Reform combines 2.2 percent encapsulated retinol with two percent lactic acid in a lightweight serum. It treats everything from fine lines to dark spots to breakouts, and has countless celebrity fans.
- Brand background: Plant Apothecary was born out of co-founder Holly McWhorter's struggles with sensitive skin. After studying natural product formulation, she came up with a line of ultra-gentle and organic skincare and bodycare.
- Editor's pick: Plant Apothecary Start Happy Body Wash is a 100 percent natural shower gel with a honey-like texture. It's made from just eight simple ingredients, including uplifting geranium and peppermint essential oils.
- Brand background: Epara Skincare is a luxury natural skincare line that addresses the unique skin concerns of women of colour, such as hyperpigmentation and dehydration. Everything is based around the African botanical ingredients that worked wonders on founder Ozohu Adoh's own skin.
- Editor's pick: Epara Hydrating Serum replenishes moisture while treating wrinkles and sun damage with moringa and licorice extracts, glycerin and marula oil.
Lauren Napier Beauty
- Brand background: Lauren Napier Beauty began after celebrity makeup artist Lauren Napier saw a gap in the market for high-quality, effective, non-drying face wipes. Now she offers three different versions of her cult-favourite luxury wipes.
- Editor's pick: Cleanse by Lauren Napier Facial Cleansing Wipes (Lauren's OG product) removes makeup on the go while it nourishes your skin with aloe, chamomile and cucumber extracts. Each cloth is made of a plush, eco-friendly, recyclable cotton blend.
- Brand background: SheaMoisture dates back to 1912, when Richelieu Dennis' grandmother started selling shea butter at her village market in Sierra Leone. Her recipes were the inspiration for the natural skincare line he co-founded in the early '90s—which has grown to more than 750 products today.
- Editor's pick: SheaMoisture African Black Soap is a traditional bar soap made from palm ash, tamarind extract, tar and plantain peel. It has clarifying, calming and moisturizing benefits, and can be used on both face and body.
- Brand background: BeautyStat is all about vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid), one of the trickiest skincare ingredients to work with. But cosmetic chemist Ron Robinson was up to the task, creating a line of products that would offer all of the benefits with none of the downsides.
- Editor's pick: BeautyStat Universal C Skin Refiner is the brand's hero product, a 20 percent stabilized L-ascorbic acid serum that won't degrade or change colour over time. The encapsulated delivery system is so innovative, it boasts three patents! (Just be aware that it is silicone-based.)
- Brand background: Alaffia started with a love story between co-founders Olowo-n'djo Tchala and Prairie Rose Hyde. With the goal of helping to alleviate poverty in Tchala's native West Africa, the couple built a brand focused on the region's handcrafted shea butter.
- Editor's pick: Alaffia Pure Unrefined Shea Butter is made from authentic West African shea butter and nothing else. Its buttery texture makes it ideal as a body moisturizer (or anywhere else you get dry patches).
- Brand background: UnSun Cosmetics came about after founder Katonya Breaux became frustrated with the lack of clean sunscreen options for women of colour. What began as a formula for her own use soon led to a full-fledged brand that is inclusive of all skin tones.
- Editor's pick: UnSun Mineral Tinted Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen SPF 30 is a tinted mineral sunscreen that doubles as a primer and colour corrector. It's available in two shades, Light/Medium and Medium/Dark. (Just keep in mind that with 6.5 percent zinc oxide and 5.5 percent titanium dioxide, it doesn't have a high concentration of active ingredients.)
- Brand background: Bolden was founded by sisters Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa with the goal of expanding the skincare options available to women of colour. The brand's main focus is hyperpigmentation, which is said to be the number one concern among customers.
- Editor's pick: Bolden Skin Brightening Toner works on discolourations, sun damage and dullness using niacinamide and glycolic acid. Meanwhile, vitamin B5, algae and licorice extract help to hydrate and calm the skin.
- Brand background: Nyakio is the namesake line of Nyakio Grieco, who has made it her mission to share the beauty secrets of her Kenyan heritage. As such, her skincare products include powerhouse ingredients like coffee extract, shea butter and cold-pressed oils.
- Editor's pick: Nyakio Baobob Youth-Infused Daily Defense Crème is a lightweight but nourishing moisturizer made with antioxidant-rich baobab oil (and no silicones).
- Brand background: Urban Hydration grew out of co-founder Psyche Terry's passion project—helping a local non-profit to raise money by selling handmade clean beauty products. After getting rave reviews from friends and family, she spun the idea into a multi-million dollar brand.
- Editor's pick: Urban Hydration Bright & Balanced Micellar Facial Cleansing Water with Pure Aloe Vera is a gentle, no-rinse cleanser that removes dirt, oil and makeup without drying skin.
- Brand background: Hyper Skin was started by Desiree Verdejo, who couldn't find a product to address the acne as well as post-acne hyperpigmentation that she battled while pregnant. After two years of development, she came up with a formula that worked, and now more products are in the pipeline.
- Editor's pick: Hyper Skin Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum fades dark spots and prevents breakouts with 15 percent vitamin C (in the form of ethyl ascorbic acid), kojic acid, fruit enzymes, bearberry, turmeric and other botanicals.
Black Girl Sunscreen
- Brand background: Black Girl Sunscreen is founder Shontay Lundy's solution to a common sunscreen problem faced by women with darker skin tones—the notorious chalky white cast.
- Editor's pick: Black Girl Sunscreen Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 dries completely clear and can be used on both face and body. (Just be aware that this is not a mineral formula—it protects with homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone and octocrylene.)
Rose Ingleton MD Skincare
- Brand background: Rose Ingleton MD Skincare comes from Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, a dermatologist who has tended to the complexions of Chrissy Teigen and Iman. Her streamlined product system addresses discolourations, fine lines, acne, redness and dehydration, and everything is spiked with a signature Jamaican superfruit blend.
- Editor's pick: Rose Ingleton MD Retexturizing Booster is a potent but non-irritating retinol serum for targeting fine lines and wrinkles as well as rough texture.
- Brand background: Epi.Logic is a high-performance skincare collection from Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, an oculofacial plastic surgeon. Her formulas are about "skin logic" for all, using simplified ingredients backed by science.
- Editor's pick: Epi.Logic Double Feature Retinol + AHA Overnight Facial combines retinol, lactic acid, glycolic acid, algae and squalane in one multi-tasking serum. Applied nightly, it encourages skin cell turnover, minimizes fine lines and boosts collagen production.
- Brand background: UOMA Beauty is the creation of Sharon Chuter, a seasoned beauty executive who believes inclusivity is about more than just an extensive shade range. That's why her foundations go a step further to address the unique skincare needs of different skin colour groups.
- Editor's pick: UOMA Say What?! Foundation comes in 51 shades and six different formulas based on the Fitzpatrick scale for measuring melanin. Each Fitzpatrick type is catered to with an infusion of targeted ingredients—from tomato extract for brightening dullness in dark brown skin, to algae extract for calming redness in very fair skin.
Shop Editor’s Picks
Have you tried any of these brands yet?
What did you think?