I became obsessed with beauty products in my early teens, after buying Bobbi Brown’s classic Teenage Beauty book. During the majority of my younger years, however, I had to search the limited shelves of “ethnic” products in my local drugstore in order to find brands that catered to my specific beauty needs—from foundations that actually match my skin tone, to conditioners that help manage my coils.
Brands developed exclusively by people of color—such as legacy brands like Aphogee and Iman Cosmetics—have been around for quite a while to those in the know, but were really hard to find. The rise of the Internet and e-retailing has helped, but our culture has changed, too. “Now with the growth of the multicultural mainstream, the embracing of natural hair trends, and the continued increase in the multicultural buying power, diverse brands and companies have become more visibly prominent in recent years,” Carol Mouyiaris, founder of Black Opal, tells SELF. “I think it is wonderful to see new black-owned beauty brands blaze a trail for the future.” Today, it’s easier than ever to find beauty essentials that work for me as a woman of color, and I can now find products that suit me at places like Sephora and CVS (you could call it the Fenty Beauty effect).
However, continuing to discover and support more black-owned beauty companies is always a priority for me, especially since there's still work to be done in order for the beauty industry to truly feel inclusive. Aisha Shannon Bates, founder of Coil Beauty, agrees. She was inspired to start her e-commerce site after disappointing shopping experiences at beauty supply stores. “It got to a point where the employees wouldn’t even answer my questions about products—they just pointed me towards the weave section where they were conveniently having a sale,” Bates tells SELF. “That is when I knew that I could do this way better than they were. So I created a new shopping experience that is online, bright, beautiful, customized, and filled with products made with African-Americans in mind.”
Coil Beauty stocks black-owned beauty brands like Unsun Cosmetics, Mielle Organics, and others, many of which are my favorites as well and included in this list below. Keep reading for 11 of the best black-owned beauty brands to shop (and celebrate) all year round.
All products featured on SELF are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
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