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Sweatpants & Beauty | Black Beauty: Brands that Celebrate Color

By Charlotte Smith

Beyoncé likes her baby heirs with baby hair and afros, but browsing through most popular beauty stores is a sobering reminder that commercially, white skin and hair is yet again standard. However, we as consumers can change that. For this Juneteenth, I’ve put together a list of Black-owned beauty companies to support – because Black is indeed beautiful.

Via: Balm & Co’s instagram

  • Balm & Co.: Soothing botanicals, vegan formulas, and “extra ingredient” free – only ingredients that serve a purpose in healing your skin, body, or hair is used – make for some beautiful products. They are family owned, so everything is made in small batches and sometimes the shop is closed, but the reviews on these products make the wait seem more than worth it.
  • Bevel: Shaving when Black is a whole different ballgame due to the tighter curl pattern of hair. Say hello to Bevel, a shaving line specifically made for those tighter curl patterns.
  • Black Opal Beauty: Black and Brown skin can provide several challenges – flaky, acne-prone, quick to scar, and dehydrated all at once. What’s a girl to do? Consult Black Opal Beauty, a line specifically developed with the needs of Black skin in mind. They also have amazing makeup, so you can start your day with clear skin and a killer cat eye.
  • blackUp: France’s first makeup line dedicated TO women of color, developed BY women of color. This is one of the brands I recommend most when people with deeper skin tones have a hard time finding foundation or contour that’ll work with their skin tone.
  • dermHA*: Mildred Bell, a medical aesthetician with over 30 years of experience in the beauty industry, is the brains behind this brand that’s geared toward sensitive skin – this includes eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne, and cancer patients. This product can only be sold by licensed distributors in medical spas, so ask around for it in your area.
  • Fashion Fair: This is the largest Black-owned cosmetics company IN THE WORLD. It started during Ebony Magazine’s Fashion Fair, when a journalist noticed girls backstage were having to mix up foundations to get the right hue. After cosmetics companies turned her down, she threw them a big ol’ middle finger and made it on her own. It’s still commonly used backstage in shows.

Via GoldLabelCosmetics.com

  • Gold Label Cosmetics: The about page says it all, honestly – “Gold Label Cosmetics mission is to encourage EVERYONE to proclaim THEIR BEAUTY everywhere they go.” Not only do they have a lovely array of lipsticks, but they have coffee mugs (!!) for you to sip your tea from with that killer red lip.
  • Iman Cosmetics: Yes, THAT IMAN. You know, the supremely gorgeous supermodel. She has a skincare line that is both gentle and wonderfully effective and created the first BB creams for deeper skin tones.
  • Juvia’s Place: Inspired by West Africa, these palettes are richly pigmented and have amazing color payoff. The colors often resemble jewels and spices, because who doesn’t want bedazzled eyes and a fiery blush?
  • The Lip Bar: Working in the fashion industry made the founder start making lipsticks in her kitchen so that any and every body can be represented in makeup. The result is some killer shades, swoonworthy packaging, and models of all colors.

Madame C.J. Walker

  • Madam C. J. Walker Beauty Culture: Not only are these products pretty much the best of black hair care, the history behind Madam C. J. Walker herself is AMAZING.  Like, ‘one of the first self-made millionaires in America’ interesting. Her parents were slaves and she died on HER VERY OWN ESTATE. Talk about #bossbabe.
  • MDMFlow: A young rapper in university changes her major from chemistry to cosmetic science, working in luxury beauty retailers at night. The result is lipsticks in gold bullet tubes with high color payoff that look amazing on every shade.
  • Miss Jessie’s: Miko and TiTi Branch started this line back in ’04 and it’s been exploding ever since. Curly girls everywhere rave about the formulas that leave curls soft, bouncy, and frizz free.
  • Oyin Handmade: The colorful packaging of this brand is now found in Sally’s, but should be in your bathroom, too. Their goal is to help dry, curly, highly textured hair get to it’s ultimate form in softness and hydration.
  • TGIN: Standing for “Thank God I’m Natural,” this brand is available at Target, Whole Foods, and Sally’s. The founder, Chris-Tia Donaldson, provides legal advice to a Fortune 100 company’s top executives along with this business. Soon, consulting may become her side hustle.
  • Unsun Cosmetics: You know what’s an absolute drag? Trying to be good and wearing sunscreen, only to get that lovely white cast all over your body. Say no more to “is that ashiness or sunscreen” with Unsun Cosmetics’ tinted sunscreens. Tested on complexions ranging from olive to the deepest browns, this sunscreen blends in without a trace.

Charlotte Smith is an esthetician licensed in Tennessee and Georgia. She’s married to a lumberjack version of Deadpool, is obsessed with huskies, is straight up in quarter-life crisis mode, and loves pretty much anything that could be considered creepy.

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