With the anti-racism movement around the world always in need of everyone’s support, you might have been left wondering how you can help in a practical, tangible way. In addition to making donations, signing petitions and educating yourself on the history of racism, one positive thing you can do is to support black-owned businesses.
The beauty world is full of brilliant black-owned brands offering gorgeous options for every area of your daily routine, from haircare and skincare to make-up. Here are just some of our favourites – the next time you run out of a product, consider topping up your stash with them.
Black-owned beauty brands to have on your radar
Pat McGrath Labs
You can’t talk about beauty and make up without thinking of legendary British makeup artist Pat McGrath. Her eponymous brand has been running since 2016 and in 2020, Naomi Campbell became the first ever global face of Pat McGrath Labs.
Pat’s bold, bright and colourful looks don’t come cheap – an eyeshadow palette will set you back at least £100 – but they’re considered well worth the investment.
R&R Luxury’s plant-based products put shea butter front and centre of the ingredients list, with it being included in over 90 per cent of its wide range of products. The brand, founded by Valerie Obaze, sells skincare, sugar scrubs, soap bars, whipped body butters, and lip balms.
Each beauty buy is made in Africa, where it has sourced raw materials directly from women in the rural north of Ghana and ensures they are paid fairly. What’s more, R&R Luxury re-invests money into the community through its own charity, the Savannah Development Project.
Founded by Roshanne Dorsett, the Glowcery is another beauty brand offering skincare products that are 100 per cent natural, vegan and cruelty-free. Every beauty buy uses superfood ingredients – nutrients, vitamins and minerals from fruit, veg and nuts – to create the perfect detox for your skin.
Okiki was founded by mother-daughter duo Ade and Antonia Ogunsola, who are based in Kent. The cruelty-free brand offers hand crafted, high quality, home and skin care products inspired by the founders’ Nigerian and Ghanaian roots. On their website, you’ll find lovely candles, soaps, lotions and bath salts.
Self-care brand Oyoma is relatively new to the beauty scene, launching in the UK in April 2021. It was born out of founder Ifeoma Onyenokwe-Orhiunu’s desire to create a minimalist, all-natural, zero-waste skincare product with Shea Butter at its core, to celebrate her Nigerian heritage. It’s first product is the Whipped Shea Butter, which promises to provide supple and soft skin every day.
By Joy Adenuga
Joy Adenuga is a professional make up artist and beauty expert who launched her own brand of beauty products that include brushes, eyelashes, and powders and soaps for your body. The products are all cruelty-free and vegan, too!
SwearBy Skin is one of the black-owned beauty brands making LED face masks affordable to all. Founder Shanae also wanted to cater for those with darker skin, as numerous professional treatments are deemed unsuitable for dark skin. SwearBy Skin’s face mask costs just £75 and has three different colour modes that painlessly trigger your skin’s natural healing abilities.
Bea is the cosmeceutical science-led skincare brand from Harley Street-trained skin specialist Bianca Estelle. The range offers edits of products to tackle a range of different skin concerns, from pigmentation to sensitivity to a targeted acne care line. If you’re not sure where to start, the 5-step daily regime has dozens of five-star reviews.
Award-winning hairdresser Charlotte’s Manketti Oil-infused haircare is stocked by Space NK and Net-A-Porter, and makes a seriously nourishing, replenishing treat for your locks, especially if you’ve got natural curls. The shampoo and conditioner are great everyday staples, but for hair that’s really thirsty, the hair oil will revive its natural bounce and shine.
Uoma Beauty, founded by Nigerian former-LVMH executive Sharon Chuter, has a simple message: beauty comes in every colour. Shade ranges in foundation and concealer are impressively inclusive, while buys like lipsticks and palettes are comprised of bright eye-catching hues. In the UK, you can shop it at Cult Beauty, Beauty Bay and now Boots.
‘We create beauty products that are, like us, a mixture of natural African roots and a quintessentially British attitude,’ say best friends Liha Okunniwa and Abi Oyepitan, the women behind Liha Beauty. The sleek minimalist packaging houses vegan, cruelty-free formulas that are free from parabens, sls and chemicals – try the £38 discovery kit to meet your new favourites.
During childhood visits to West Virginia, Nancy Twine would help her grandmother make her coveted homemade hair care. As an adult, disappointed in the natural hair offerings she found on the shelves, Nancy channelled this knowledge to launch Briogeo, a performance-driven line which has everything you need for stronger, healthier hair.
Dizziak’s hair range, launched by former beauty writer Loretta De Feo, is often hailed as a curly hair saviour – particularly when it comes to the Deep Conditioner, which is packed with rich, comforting ingredients like castor oil, shea butter and aloe vera.
Bouclème is plant-based curl care with a difference – founder Michele Scott-Lynch created the products after struggling with her own curl journey into her 30s, and created a 3-step system designed to cleanse, condition and, crucially, define. The collection, which starts from just £8, has an eco-friendly focus and fair-trade ingredients are used wherever possible.
Beauty Bakerie, available at Cult Beauty or Boots, puts the fun back into make-up – each item is themed around a sweet treat you’d find in (you’ve guessed it) a bakery, with bestsellers including the Brownie Bar palette and Oat Setting Powder, which comes complete in its own flour-style bag. Founder Cashmere’s journey is incredibly powerful, including having her daughter at 16 and overcoming breast cancer – read it here.
Afrocenchix’s Afro hair products are stocked in Holland & Barrett and Whole Foods, and consists of hair creams, oils, sprays and scalp treatments all made with natural ingredients. Founders Joycelyn and Rachael also have lots of useful educational tools on their website, including guides to working out your hair type and myth-busting blog posts.
Polish? Cienna Rose, founded by Carla Opoku, has got it nailed. The brand’s 12 free formulas are all non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free and, as well as the lacquers themselves, there’s nail care, base coats, top coats and cuticle oils aplenty in the range.
Shedid & Parrish
This 100 per cent natural and vegan haircare brand was founded by Jessica Parrish. As a mixed-race child, she was adopted into a Caucasian family and found it difficult to find products for her hair type. Her mission is to ensure curls like hers are seen and celebrated in their natural beauty, which is how Shedid & Parrish came about. The products are also cruelty and scent-free.
Buttah Skin was founded by model, actor and recording artist Dorion Renaud when he struggled to find products that catered to his skin needs. The Buttah brand, which is backed by Beyoncé, was born in 2018 when Renaud discovered the benefits of raw, organic shea. He created Buttah to ‘give melanin rich skin the attention it deserves’.
Epara means ‘to cocoon oneself’ in the Nigerian dialect of Ebira. After founder Ozohu Adoh attained her MBA at Oxford University, she decided to develop her own products to treat dry, uneven skin as she couldn’t find any suitable for herself already on the market.
The luxury skincare brand aims to introduce women with deeper skin tones to the best organic and natural ingredients from Africa. It can be purchased from Net-A-Porter as well the Epara wesbite.
Coloured Raine was founded in 2013 by Loraine R. Dowdy, a woman born in the Caribbean and raised in Brooklyn. She left her career to follow her dream of beginning a cosmetic line that encouraged self-expression and embraced broad racial diversity. The brand’s liquid lipsticks are bursting with colour and are extremely popular, alongside the super vibrant eyeshadows. The Queen of Hearts eyeshadow palette can be bought here from Beauty Bay.