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Black-owned beauty brands to support in 2023, according to beauty experts

From lipstick to sunscreen, we got recommendations for the best in Black-owned beauty from dermatologists and beauty experts.
Dermatologists and beauty experts recommend their favorite Black-owned beauty brands.
Dermatologists and beauty experts recommend their favorite Black-owned beauty brands.Mented; The Lip Bar; UnSun; NBC

A little over a decade ago, a buyer for a major retailer turned down board-certified dermatologist Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd's skin care brand because of its focus on darker skin tones. “They told me, ‘we don’t cater to that market,’“ said Woolery-Lloyd, who is also founder of skin care education platform Derm Friends. "They said they had no interest in any type of brands that focus on that demographic."

Since then, there has been progress. When Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty launched in 2017 with 40 shades of its Pro Filt'R foundation, the internet and beauty industry took note. The product line resulted in “The Fenty Effect,” wherein major beauty brands like Dior and CoverGirl began expanding their own range of shades and creating more inclusive formulas for darker complexions.

SKIP AHEAD Best products from Black-owned beauty brands | Black-owned beauty brands to shop

But there's also further to go. Black shoppers spent approximately $6.6 billion on beauty products in 2021 — that’s about 11% of total beauty spending in the U.S., according to a 2022 report by McKinsey & Company. And though Black consumers show an affinity and preference for Black beauty brands, only 4% to 7% of beauty brands carried by retail stores are Black-owned or Black-founded.

In general, "Black-owned businesses have more barriers to entry into the market, they need more resources, capital and education in order to create, produce and sustain their businesses and have longevity,” said Dr. Aleta Simmons, a board-certified dermatologist and owner of Simmons Skin Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

But movements like the Fifteen Percent Pledge, created in 2020 so that companies across all industries commit at least 15% of their shelves to Black-owned businesses, are working to change that, with major companies like Sephora and Ulta Beauty signing on. The result has been positive for Black business owners, consumers and the beauty industry.

“I love that Black beauty brands have this very modern approach — they look young and fresh, whereas for years, brands made these old-fashioned products that have been around for decades that never changed because that was all that was available,” Woolery-Lloyd said.

To highlight notable Black-owned brands in the beauty space, we’ve rounded up a number recommended to us by beauty experts and dermatologists, as well as some of the brands' standout products.

Best products from Black-owned beauty brands in 2023

We consulted beauty experts about their favorite Black-owned beauty brands and compiled standout, highly rated products that we think you should know about. We also highlighted specific items our experts have used and recommended to us.

The Lip Bar: The Lip Bar Nonstop Liquid Matte Lipstick

Founded in Detroit, The Lip Bar — one of Simmons’ recommendations — offers brightly colored lipsticks, liquid lips and matte stains designed to stay on for around 24 hours, according to the brand. Lip Bar also offers a Complexion Quiz to show you the best product shades for your skin tone, and Virtual Try-On of lipstick shades using your camera. The Lip Bar will be expanding into the skin care space on Feb. 10.

Mented Cosmetics: Mented Cosmetics Complexion Bundle

Mented Cosmetics capitalizes on the quest for the so-called “nude” lip color — which is different for everyone. Founders KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson designed their cosmetics with women of color in mind, and offer a variety of shades for darker skin tones. Woolery-Lloyd told us she’s a fan: It's “beautiful, well-targeted and feels very modern.”

The Complexion Bundle comes with a stick foundation, setting powder and bronzer in 16 shades. The formula is also vegan, hypoallergenic and paraben-free, according to the brand.

Girl+Hair: Girl+Hair The Ultimate Braid Care Kit

Both Woolery-Lloyd and Simmons are fans of hair care brand Girl+Hair, "a leader in the field of scalp health and fine-tuning the treatment of certain hair styles,” Woolery-Lloyd said. Its innovative dropper, for example, is designed with a needle-nosed tip that allows people with braids to effectively apply the product. The brand offers hair strengthening oils, curling gels and leave-in conditioners designed for people with protective hairstyles looking to maintain the health of their natural hair.

The brand’s Ultimate Braid Care Kit comes with an apple cider vinegar rinse that works to clear build up and repair damaged hair, a leave-in conditioner that delivers hydration and an oil balm with moisturizing emollients like shea butter, castor oil and olive oil.

Beauty Bakerie: Beauty Bakerie Proof is in the Pudding Eyeshadow Palette

Cashmere Nicole’s Beauty Bakerie is a charming brand, of which Simmons is a fan — she loves the Proof is in the Pudding eye shadow palette, which includes four matte and five shimmer eye shadows in neutral shades. Beauty Bakerie says the eye shadows are highly pigmented, buildable and the formula is vegan and paraben-free.

Taliah Waajid: Taliah Waajid Ditch the Itch Anti-Itch Serum

“If I have braids in my hair, I like to use Taliah Waajid product,” Simmons said. The brand’s Ditch the Itch serum is designed to care for hair underneath protective styles like weaves, braids and two-strand twists. It contains ingredients like bamboo, basil and peppermint to help soothe itching and dry scalp, and it can be applied directly on the irritated area to stop the itching, according to the brand.

Danessa Myricks: Danessa Myricks Colorfix Metallics

Danessa Myricks Beauty is another favorite of Simmons, who said she likes the liquid eye shadows. There are "tons of colors that make your skin pop, whatever brown skin tone you are,” she said. The Colorfix liquid eye shadow line comes in four finishes: matte (available in both bright and nude colors), glossy, glitter and metallic. In addition to Colorfix, Danessa Myricks also offers high-impact liquid eye shadows and multi-chrome eye shadow flake toppers.

UnSun Cosmetics: UnSun Cosmetics EVERYDAY Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

Katonya Breaux, founder and owner of UnSun Cosmetics, previously told us she created UnSun Cosmetics after finding sun damage on her own skin, but chemical sunscreens were irritating and mineral-based options were often too thick, white and pasty. "I had no success with finding tinted mineral sunscreens with shade options matching my skin tone," Breaux said. She said UnSun was created specifically for people with darker complexions who wanted that necessary protection from the sun.

The brand’s EVERYDAY Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen offers SPF 30 protection and is available in two shades: Light to Medium and Medium to Dark. UnSun Cosmetics says it has a smooth and silky formula that won’t leave a white residue.

BeautyStat: BeautyStat Universal Pro-Bio Moisture Boost Cream

Woolery-Lloyd mentioned BeautyStat as a great skin care brand for people of all complexions. Created by Ron Robinson — who worked in product development for major beauty brands like L’Oreal, Revlon and Clinique — BeautyStat launched its first and bestselling product, the Universal C Skin Refiner, in 2019. The serum contains 20% stable and pure vitamin C that doesn’t oxidize or turn brown, according to the brand. In addition to the vitamin C serum and its accompanying eye brightening treatment, BeautyStat also offers moisturizers, cleansers, face masks and chemical peels.

Sister Tribe: Sister Tribe Cosmetics Lipstick in Queen

Sister Tribe Cosmetics’ lipstick in the shade Queen is Simmons go-to everyday lip product. “It’s moisturizing, and it's hard to find a good lipstick that feels like a lip balm,” she said. “I can leave it on all day and I don't feel like my lips are dry after a few hours.” Sister Tribe Cosmetics offers more than a dozen lipsticks and glosses that the brand says can compliment a variety of skin tones.

Camille Rose: Camille Rose Aloe Whipped Butter Gel

Camille Rose offers hair, skin and body care products that are made using natural and food-grade ingredients, according to the brand. Simmons said she loves the Aloe Whipped Butter Gel, which is formulated to provide moisture and a light styling hold and is made with natural ingredients like macadamia seed oil to prevent breakage, almond extracts that conditions the hair and aloe vera to promote hair growth and retain moisture, says Camille Rose.

Black-owned beauty brands to shop

We reached out to over 50 beauty brands across skin care and makeup to compile Black-owned beauty companies that we think are worth checking out. We also confirmed with each brand below that they’re at least 51% Black-owned, which is in-line with the Census Bureau's definition of a Black-owned business.

Black-owned beauty and skin-care brands

Black-owned hair-care brands

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

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