Whether they’re doing a celebrity’s glam for a red carpet event or prepping a model for a shoot, makeup artists are always working on clients with diverse skin tones. That’s why it’s essential that they stock their kit with products that flatter every complexion. Curious about the shade-inclusive beauty brands that they consistently use, we asked seven of the industry’s leading makeup artists to share their favorite Black-owned and Black-founded beauty products. And let’s just say, we'll be buying all of their picks ASAP. Ahead, the expert makeup artists dish on their all-time favorite Black-owned eyeliners, eyeshadows, foundations, and more. Keep scrolling to discover their makeup kit staples.
"The Black Opal True Color Skin Perfecting Stick Foundations ($11) are great complexion products to have in your arsenal," Jaikaran says. “I love these because a little goes a long way with this highly pigmented stick. This foundation can be sheered out or built up for fuller coverage—best of all they are relatively long-wearing formulas. You can even out skin complexion, highlight and contour to perfection with a trio combo that will not break the bank." To help you create the most flawless finish, Jaikaran suggests applying a little bit of foundation to the center of your face with a flat foundation brush and feathering outward.
"This product is hands down one of my favorites," Jaikaran says. "I reach for this gloss almost every day. The versatility is unmatched. You can wear this baby on its own, over a lip color to add a sultry finish, or mix in with a liquid lipstick to adjust consistency and tone." The makeup pro recommends lining your lips with a pencil and filling them in a bit to create dimension before applying the gloss.
Kim Baker’s makeup kit must-have is one of the latest launches from her brand Glamazon Beauty Cosmetics. "The eyes really have it with the Nubian Queen Eyeshadow Palette,” Baker says. "Many of today's top beauty influencers such as Ohema Bonsu love this fiery fall palette." This pigmented palette includes 12 bold colors– including warm browns, reds, cranberries, and bold golds–that can create beautiful day and night looks.
It goes without saying that protecting your skin from the sun is extremely important. That’s why Baker keeps a tube of Black Girl Sunscreen ($19) in her kit at all times. "I use Black Girl Sunscreen on my clients and on myself," Baker says. "Too often, women of color neglect to wear sunscreen because of the melanin in our skin. However, we need sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun as well. This sunscreen is super affordable and doesn't leave a white cast."
"This is one of the most beautiful liquid foundations," Medhin says. "It layers beautifully and is especially good for my olive toned women. It has a beautiful range, so it’s great for women of color." The Iman Cosmetics Luxury Concealing Foundation ($16) is available in eleven shades and is formulated with a skin tone enhancing ingredient blend of licorice, grapeseed, and pomegranate antioxidant extracts plus vitamins A, C, and E.
"The Lip Bar has the best liquid lipsticks, and they’re vegan too," Medhin says. "They have amazing colors and beautiful pigment. I love Hot Mama and the classic Bawse Lady. They are both beautiful reds." For the best results, apply lip balm and blot off excess oil, carefully outline your lips with the lipstick, and then fill in.
"I cannot be without [Danessa Myricks’] Dew Wet Balm ($22)," Matin says. "In fact, that’s one of the products that my clients can’t part with after I use it on them and they literally grab them from me. They are sheer and shiny and give the skin the most beautiful glow and glossy highlight without disturbing the makeup and without adding texture and shimmer which can look too obvious on the skin." The Dew Wet Balm comes in five shades and can all be applied easily with a finger or a brush.
"I’m in love with Carol’s Daughter Lavender Mint Foot Cream ($12) for myself and for my kit," Maulawizada shares. "It’s a lifesaver when clients are wearing sandals. It immediately makes their feet look perfect and hydrated. It takes away the dry, ashy look on the heels and the entire foot. I cannot send a client out without it." A small amount of the cream should be applied daily and massaged deeply into your feet, toes, and heels for best results.
Katie Jane Hughes
"[Coloured Raine has] beautiful eyeshadow palettes that are themed really well," Hughes says. "You can get the nicest assortment of warm shades in one palette, which in my opinion is perfect product development." The Coloured Raine Beauty Rust Palette ($25) contains six cruelty-free warm-toned shades–including 1 foil and 5 matte eyeshadow pigments.
"[Danessa Myricks’] whole range is an artist's dream. You can play with everything in whatever way you want," Hughes says. One of her favorite products from the line is Danessa Myricks’ ColorFix 24-Hour Cream Color ($18). The product acts as a hybrid cream color that can be safely applied to your lips, eyes, or face. It is available in 37 highly-pigmented shades that are smudge-proof, waterproof, fast-drying, and long-lasting even in high temperatures.
"The color range and texture of this product is my favorite,” Cheng tells us. "A lot of times as foundations settle, they change color and this one doesn’t at all. It’s so seamless and the finish is beautiful." The Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation ($68) is made with Vita-Serum Complex to help fight the formation of wrinkles and Diamond Core Powder Technology to improve skin texture.
"AJ Crimson has really beautiful lipsticks," Cheng says. "I love a true beige-y nude brown and Real Love is perfect. The texture is great and it’s really buildable." AJ Crimson offers a total of 20 matte and creme lipstick shades–ranging from nude to pink–that look incredible on all complexions.
"This is one of my favorite liners to use to line in upper and lower water to create a smokey eye look," Henney says. "It glides on perfectly and lasts really well on set and for events." The Pat McGrath Labs PermaGel Ultra Glide Eyeliner Pencil ($28) is available in five shades, but Henney’s go-to color is Xtreme Black.
"The Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminzer ($19) in Shimmering Rose Nude suits so many skin tones and has such a subtle sheen that works great with natural or more dramatic makeup looks," Henney says. Another plus? This lip gloss is infused with skin-loving ingredients like shea butter, so your lips will feel incredibly soft and supple after swiping it on.
"I love how finely milled this powder is," Johnson says. "It's a wonderful finishing powder that feels weightless." The powder is available in eight shades that were all developed with 8K TV & Film and flash photography in mind. When dusted across your face, it will absorb oil, set your makeup, and reduce shine.
"These are vibrant, vegan, cruelty-free, and won't dry out your lips," Johnson tells us. "The best benefit is they won't kiss off on your masks." The Atlanta-based makeup pro also tipped us off that the Glamatory Lip Potions can be used as a creme shadow or blush–just mix them with a little foundation.