Black skin care matters!
Meet the brands that have always cared about Black beauty.
BY SOFIA TAFICH
It’s no secret that Black women and men have been overlooked and excluded from the beauty and wellness industry since the beginning, and there’s still work to be done.
Thankfully, there’s been quite some movement to become more inclusive in the last few years. Makeup lines are (finally) offering more foundation shades, and hair products are celebrating natural hair rather than taming it.
As a Black-owned skincare brand, Overlooked Beauty is all about inclusivity, celebrating people of color and supporting Black-owned businesses. For our first article, we thought we’d do just that — with a focus on skin care.
In researching these brands and reading about them, I found they all shared common values, goals or motivations with Overlooked Beauty. They all had the same drive in creating a line of products that exclusively served Black needs, wants and desires.
This list spotlights a handful of amazing Black-owned skincare brands, tells a little about their story and what makes them great. Get ready to meet, support and love them.
1. Nyakio Beauty
A first generation American of Kenyan descent, founder Nyakio Grieco was inspired by global beauty secrets and traditions that are passed down from one generation to the next. According to the brand’s Facebook page, the beauty tips and tricks she learned from her friends and family are what inspired Nyakio Beauty. The line features exfoliators, cleansers and facial oils, made with ethically-sourced natural ingredients.
2. Lamik Beauty
Kim Roxie founded LAMIK for multicultural women to let them know that “they fit, they belong, and they’re beautiful,” she said in a video. A native Houstonian, Roxie always loved making women feel good about themselves, and set to create products with natural, organic ingredients. Her line includes moisturizer, makeup remover, makeup and coming soon: the #SHOWUP Collection.
3. Dehiya Beauty
Named after one of the most powerful warriors in Northern Africa known as Queen of the Amazigh (“free people”), Dehiya’s goal is to “uncomplicate skin care routines for women everywhere,” as stated on their website. Founder Dr. Mia Chae Reddy was inspired by her grandmother’s skin care routine and a desire to return to simple beauty. The line features cleansers, mists, oils, masks, balms and more, made with natural ingredients, including argan oil from Morocco’s Argan Forest. Dehiya is also big on philanthropy, donating 2% annually to causes such as women’s, LGBT, disability and human rights, reproductive freedom and racial justice.
4. Pholk Beauty
Founder Niambi Cacchioli lived in Europe for 12 years, researching the African Diaspora. While traveling, she visited many local apothecaries and markets to create her skin care routine. Cacchioli created Pholk Beauty by combining African beauty wisdom with local ingredients. The brand welcomes women of color into the world of natural skin care and celebrates them as “innovators of culture,” as stated on their website. The line integrates African herbalist traditions and offers cleansers, masks, oils, toners and hydration products.
5. Epara Skincare
Founder and CEO Ozohu Adoh of Epara Skincare had one goal: to create luxury skin care products for women of color that catered to their underserved needs, as stated on their website. When Adoh failed to find products that successfully treated her dry, uneven skin condition, she opted to make her own. Her line seeks to nourish and protect skin with organic ingredients from Africa, and includes cleansers, masks, moisturizers, serums and tonics.
6. BeautyStat Cosmetics
Who knew the stabilization of Vitamin C would end with the launch of a beauty brand? BeautyStat Cosmetics was founded by cosmetics chemist Ron Robinson, who has worked in the beauty industry for over 20 years, developing products for brands like Clinique, Revlon, Lancôme and Estée Lauder. Robinson seeks to help consumers make better purchases by creating products with the “most interesting, innovating, cutting-edge technologies and ingredients,” as stated in a video. The line includes a serum, creams and more, and has been praised by magazines and even Oprah Winfrey.
7. Black Opal Beauty
Although Black Opal launched back in 1994 with black skin in mind, the company is finally Black-owned as of September 2019. Acquired by two African-American businesswomen, Desiree Rogers and Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, Black Opal’s is inspired by “the beauty and nuances of black skin,” as stated on their website. The line offers cleaners, exfoliators, toners, moisturizers, makeup and men’s shaving products.
8. Hyper Skin
Not even owning a beauty boutique guarantees skincare products that work on you — just ask Desiree Verdejo. According to their website, Verdejo suffered intense hormonal breakouts during her first pregnancy, and after finding no remedies, she wanted to make something beautiful, affordable and effective. After two years, Hyper Skin finally launched their first product: the Hyper Clear Vitamin C face serum.
9. Unsun Cosmetics
Katonya Breaux founded Unsun Cosmetics after encountering a lack of sunscreen options for women of color. She wanted chemical-free, no-residue options, so she set out to create them herself. Made for all skin types, the line includes a hand cream and a set of tinted mineral sunscreens, assured to “look good and feel good.”
10. BASE BUTTER
After struggling to treat their breakouts and oily skin, She’Neil Johnson and Nicole Graves took matters into their own hands and created BASE BUTTER. The brand’s goal is to facilitate skincare routines “for oily, combination, and acneic skin types,” as stated on their website. The line includes an aloe face jelly (a number one bestseller) and sustainable makeup remover and pre-cleansing cloths.
11. Anita Grant
Founder Anita Grant became obsessed with mixing her own beauty products to embrace her natural hair. The result: a highly effective, non-toxic line of hair and skin products. The brand offers an extensive amount of products, including masks, oils, balms, butters and more, and has won several business and beauty awards. As Grant remarks on her website, “What better way to care for your skin and hair than with products so pure they’re practically edible!”
12. OUI the People
Founder Karen Young cares about brand language. The OUI mission is as catchy as its name: they are committed to the reConstitution of Beauty. “Rather than pursuing flawlessness, we aim to build efficacious products, designed thoughtfully, that help you feel great in the skin you’re already in,” as stated on their website. OUI sells razors, gels, toners, bath soaks, masks and glosses, all with clean and natural formulas.
13. Beneath Your Mask
Founder Dana Jackson took the time to write her inspiring story — read her words here. Long story short, Beneath Your Mask was born as an “expression of self-acceptance,” after Jackson overcame a Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) diagnosis at 30 years old. In her quest to repair her damaged skin from the Lupus, Jackson created safe, non-irritating and non-toxic products: masks, skin soufflés, scrubs, balms and serums.
14. Salt Spray Soap Co.
Genelle John is all about “less is more.” She fell in love with easy, natural soap-making and created Salt Spray Soap Co. to share her passion with Bermuda (her home) and the rest of the world. The line, which seeks to heal skin damage and moisturize, includes colorful soaps (scented and unscented), body butters, salt scrubs and lip balms.
15. Black Girl Sunscreen
Shontay Lundy was done with white residue, blotchy makeup and sacrificing beach days because of sun rays. She founded Black Girl Sunscreen to cater to the skin needs of black women, creating sunscreens without parabens or other harmful chemicals (including one for kids!).
16. KNC Beauty
Founder Kristen Noel Crawley saw a wall of lip masks while strolling around Tokyo, and fell in love. She created KNC Beauty after discovering no brand of natural lip masks existed. Two years later, the first all-natural, collagen-infused lip mask hit the market. Today, the recognized line offers several sets of lip and eye masks.
17. Lauren Napier Beauty
Beauty expert Lauren Napier just wanted clean skin. No makeup remover satisfied her, so she created Lauren Napier Beauty. The brand offers three kinds of cleansing wipes for different skin types, which can also be used to prep and refresh skin before applying makeup. The wipes are made with pure ingredients, natural compounds and come in recyclable packaging.
Keli Smith founded KAIKE (pronounced ‘cake’) to cultivate and celebrate healthy skin. As stated on their website, “skin-care, like any celebration, starts with a #pieceofkaike.” The brand offers products for all skin types, including masks, balms, body bars, scrubs, cleaners and their “frostings” (aka body butter).
19. Shani Darden Skincare
Dermatologist Shani Darden often sent her clients home with custom-made products, so she launched Shani Darden Skincare. An esthetician and skin expert, Darden is deemed “the secret behind Hollywood’s most flawless faces,” and has a results-oriented approach to skin care, as stated on her website. Her line offers creams, moisturizers, toners, serums and more.
20. Hanahana Beauty
Abena Boamah-Acheampong founded Hanahana Beauty for two reasons: 1) she wanted to feel confident in her own skin, and 2) the lack of transparency and sustainability in the beauty industry, as stated on their website. Then she met the Katariga Women while visiting Tamale, Ghana, and found a third reason: a desire to uplift women of color and a commitment to direct, sustainable sourcing of ingredients. The brand is all about accessibility, transparency and sustainability, and offers body butters, scrubs and lip balms.
21. Buttah Skin
Model, actor and recording artist Dorion Renaud never found skincare products that worked on him. Then he encountered the power of natural Shea, which inspired him to create Buttah Skin. The brand caters to melanin-rich skin types, combining nature and science for radiant results, as stated on their website. The line, which features toners, creams, masks, butters, serums, cleansers and brushes, is clinically validated, FDA registered, cruelty free and made with organic ingredients.
22. Aba Love Apothecary
Founder Aba Gyepi-Garbrah is a lover of plant medicine and a Certified Aromatherapist. Inspired by her mother’s beauty rituals and routines, she created Aba Love Apothecary to provide holistic, plant-based skincare and aromatherapy products, as stated on the website. The line offers serums, mists and oils.
23. Mary Louise Cosmetics
Inspired by her grandmothers’ natural, homemade beauty remedies, Akilah Mary-Louise Releford created Mary Louise Cosmetics. The brand seeks to provide affordable, wholesome, organic beauty products to nourish and clean, as stated on their website, and offers serums, face masks, body butters, soaps and hand sanitizers.
Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, a board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon, is dedicated to holistic facial refinement. Jeanniton founded epi.logic in her quest to combine her “in-clinic experience with multitasking active ingredients,” as stated on her website. Her line prides itself in being simple, effective and scientifically-proven, and includes cleansers, gels, toners, serums, moisturizers and more.
CEO Trinity Mouzon Wofford co-founded Golde with her partner Issey Kobori, “with the goal of bringing good vibes to the wellness industry,” as stated on their website. The brand uses superfoods not only for their face masks, but also for their “taste-good” products: a variety of latte blends made with matcha, cacao and turmeric.
26. Oyin Handmade
Jamyla Bennu founded Oyin Handmade in 2001 to celebrate her natural hair texture after failing to find natural, organic products in the market. The brand offers several products to moisturize, cleanse and style hair, and eventually expanded to skincare, offering beard products, deodorant, butters, lotions and body oils.
Walking down the aisle of men’s health and beauty products, Tristan Walker felt frustrated and like a second-class citizen, as said in a video. He founded Walker & Company, and later the BEVEL brand, under the notion that “black men deserve better,” as stated on their website. The line includes cleansers, gels, toners, serums and correctors, as well as a variety of body and hair products.
28. FENTY SKIN
We couldn’t forget the Queen! Rihanna created Fenty Skin for everyone and all skin types. A bad experience with a harsh skin product as a teen drove her to create a line with clean formulas and ingredients from all over the world, as stated on her website. Designed to complement Fenty Beauty, the line features cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, creams and sunscreen.