From color matching to creating colors that perfectly complement a wide range of skin tones, these Black-owned beauty, skincare, and nail polish brands are making clean beauty for all.
Beauty products that are marketed toward Black women, and women of color overall, are MORE TOXIC than other beauty products. Between the number of products used and the chemicals included in those products, Black women are exposed to a much higher amount of toxic chemicals due to beauty and hair regimens than women of other races. [1, 2]
Beauty products that cause less harm and compliment melanated skin tones
In writing this blog post, my thoughts wandered back to this intersection:
Products that are more sustainable and contain less toxins are becoming available more and more. But, in my experience, a lot of those products that contain pigments do not compliment my skin tone. They were not made with brown skin in mind. This is normal, though, unfortunately. It is yet another way that Black and Brown people are an afterthought in another sector of the beauty industry.
The beauty industry has a nasty habit of inflicting harm throughout the entire process – from ingredient extraction, to testing, to being harmful to the humans that wear the products, down to completely excluding products that work for or compliment people of color. Solving this issue will require people who understand that struggle and who are also passionate about the beauty industry being the ones to implement change (and equitable support, but that would require a much longer blog post). The following Black-owned clean beauty brands are leading the way to create non-toxic beauty products that don’t just compliment Eurocentric skin tones and textures – they want them to compliment all skin tones!
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Black-Owned Clean Beauty Brands
Black-Owned Clean Makeup Brands:
1) The Lip Bar
First off, congrats to Founder Melissa Butler and The Lip Bar for celebrating 10 years of business this month (February 2022)! When folks said she couldn’t (I’m looking at y’all, Shark Tank), she proved them wrong in a big way. I started wearing lip colors because of the bold and beautiful colors that TLB creates. Their matte lipstick formula feels amazing and doesn’t leave my lips feeling dehydrated. They’ve also branched out and created so many other beauty products that I love, like their tinted moisturizer. This is the only “foundation” I have ever owned, but it’s not actually foundation. It’s a nice tint that makes my skin look nice. I have so much love for The Lip Bar and I could go on! I’ll stop here and just say…
2) Mented Cosmetics
For a long time, nude has been seen as a shade only for white women or fair-skinned women. In truth, nude is exclusive to each person that is wearing it. Founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson believe that all women should be represented in beauty products, and that’s why they created Mented Cosmetics. Their original nude lipsticks are all vegan, paraben-free, non-toxic, and cruelty-free.
Related article: 4 Eco-Friendly & Organic Lipstick Alternatives
3) Plain Jane Beauty
Founded in 2011, Lake Louise saw a need for more inclusive shades of brown makeup, and she made it happen. Plain Jane Beauty was also first clean beauty brand with inclusivity as a main pillar. To this day, Plain Jane Beauty is still committed to creating products with sustainable and eco-friendly ingredients, and with packaging and business practices that are sustainable, as well.
4) Luv + Co. Beauty
Dr. Melodie has 20+ years of professionally researching and studying how the ingredients and claims of beauty products impact women of color. This which is why she created Luv + Co. Beauty, which is all about (co)nscious (co)lor (co)metics. Luv + Co. Beauty has a “No Luv Ingredient List” which means they don’t use items like mineral oil and phthalates. Some of their best sellers include their wide range of lip colors.
5) Range Beauty
Founded by Alicia Scott, this line of makeup is made for eczema and acne-prone skin. With these sensitivities in mind, Range Beauty also creates colors for “the forgotten shades,” which is typically women of color with darker skin tones. Their commitment to “beauty without compromise” includes “good to skin ingredients, real shades for real skin,” non-irritating, and always keeping it clean by being sustainable, vegan, and cruelty-free.
Black-Owned Non-Toxic Nail Polish Brands:
6) OOO Polish
OOO is another one of my favorite beauty brands. They hooked me with the nail polish colors, they kept me with the free African history before colonization lessons… and even more colors! Symantha Wechie-Onyechi is the creator and founder of OOO Polish and you can see how the vibrance of the brand is just a reflection of her vibrant personality and knowledge of Africa.
7) Mischo Beauty
Kitiya Mischo King developed her formula for bold and non-toxic nail polish while pregnant with her son when she couldn’t find any existing brands that would do that for her. Mischo Beauty was born in 2013, and in 2021, it made the list of Oprah’s Favorite Things! Their philosophy of doing no harm has been there from the beginning, and still rings true.
8) Rooted Woman
India D. Williams founded Rooted Woman after a six month hiatus from work while she took a journey to improve her personal wellness. Rooted Woman nail polishes promote self-care through ethical and non-toxic ingredients, as well as making polishes in small batches.
9) Habit Cosmetics
Founder Aja Frierson wanted to fill a void in the beauty space – a lot of brands were doing a few things well, but she still couldn’t find everything she needed in one product. Habit cosmetics focuses on delivering non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free products in sustainable packaging with formulas that are multi-tasking and colors that are on trend for all skin tones. Yea, she accomplished all of that!
10) Pear Nova
As someone who has always been obsessed with nails, founder Rachel James used her love of luxurious items as inspiration to create the Pear Nova nail polish brand. The Pear Nova colors are bold and inviting, the formula is non-toxic and vegan, and the process is cruelty-free.
Final Thoughts on Black-Owned Clean Beauty Brands
When it comes to holistic beauty, these brands and their founders have provided us with the non-toxic and beautiful products that we really want and knew we needed. Black-owned clean beauty brands are necessary in the field of beauty, providing diversity and solutions to the problems that many of us have, but that major brands that lack diversity rarely accomplish properly. I hope that these brands excite you about the possibilities of diverse clean beauty, and also inspire you to place diversity as a priority value in all that you do in life. And in the future, I hope that more of these products can be sustainably made and packaged.
1. “The environmental injustice of beauty: framing chemical exposures from beauty products as a health disparities concern” – American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology
2. “Beauty products can be more toxic for women of color. It’s time to change that.” – Environmental Defense Fund