Walking down the beauty aisle and feeling like no shades speak to your skin tone is an unsettling reality for many women of color. Unfortunately, it took me years to find foundations and lip shades that look good on my chocolate skin tone. Contrary to popular belief, brown girls have an array of undertones and complexions that don’t fit into one “dark” category. This is why it’s more important than ever to recognize the makeup brands that were made with brown girls in mind. Often, black-owned businesses, in comparison to more-mainstream beauty brands, are overlooked because they’re not sold in mass retailers.
That doesn’t mean they’re not as amazing, though. Many black-owned makeup brands are dreamed up to cater to an underrepresented group of women. You’ll feel good about investing in #BlackGirlMagic makeup lines because they’re spreading representation in the best way.
If you’re not already, scroll on and get acquainted with these popping black-owned makeup lines that are changing the landscape of beauty.
Meet AJ Crimson, a celebrity makeup artist who decided to solve a woe for many women of color by creating a makeup brand designed for every shade of brown. Ladies, you must get your hands on one of his new lip glosses ($22) that are in collaboration with Naturi Naughton. These colorful, silky glosses will accentuate every curve on your pout. I’ve tried them, and they’re good.
Pat McGrath Labs
You can’t talk about amazing makeup lines without bringing up Pat McGrath’s magical collection. She’s an icon in the beauty industry, if you didn’t know, and the Mother of Makeup surely did not disappoint with her dreamy products that usually sell out in minutes. Her luxurious products cost a pretty penny and are exclusive for good reason. Believe me—her selfie-worthy Lust MatteTrance Lipsticks ($38) will have you feeling like a whole new woman.
Founded in 2013 by Loraine Dowdy, Coloured Raine creates a massive collection of the boldest and brightest lipsticks ($17) every brown girl needs to try. Think every shade of the rainbow. The company is rooted in fostering self-expression and individuality. Real talk: You won’t be afraid of color after you get your hands on one of these sultry shades.
After one scroll through Beauty Bakerie’s Instagram, you’ll be obsessed with its dessert-themed beauty products (so cute!). The soft and shimmery eye shadows are gorgeous, but the lipsticks are on another level. Founder Cashmere Nicole created a cult social media following because of the infamous Lip Whip ($20), a matte lipstick that can outlast the strongest water pressure. You have to see it to believe it.
Juvia’s Place was created by founder Chichi Eburu to celebrate the beauty of African tribes with highly pigmented palettes that are the truth. One peep at the brand’s Instagram photos showing off these swatches will have you desperate to test one of these babies. If you’re a lover of warm, golden, and bright tones, you need to try one of these palettes, like, now.
Known for being one of the OG black-owned brands in the biz, Iman Cosmetics was founded in 1994 by supermodel Iman. She was tired of having to bring her own foundation on set during photo shoots and knew she wasn’t alone. So she created one of most amazing foundations in the game: the Second to None Cream to Powder Foundation ($16). Her line is full of rich, beautiful shades that’ll look stunning on every hue of brown.
This cruelty-free company is committed to deeper complexions, so it came out with 21 shades of brown foundations. (Yes, 21.) It’s so refreshing to see more shade-inclusive beauty brands on the market that actually live up to the claims. A popular fave is KoyCova’s cream-to-powder foundation ($14)—everyone raves about its airbrushed finish.
It’s frustrating when you apply a “translucent” setting powder and it leaves a ghostly white cast on your skin (that shows up even worse in photos). This is exactly why Sacha Cosmetics, created in Trinidad and Tobago, became the brains behind the pigmented setting powder brown girls can’t get enough of. Once you try its Buttercup Setting Powder ($20), you’ll understand what all the hype is about.
Up next, prepare to be inspired by 13 entrepreneurs of color who’ve created successful beauty brands.