1. Beauty historians are quick to talk about how Estee Lauder, Charles Revson, and Helena Rubenstein changed the realm of beauty . But the first self-made millionaire in America was Madame C.J. Walker, who created hair products for African American hair.
Here’s a picture of her around 1916 driving her car, being a millionaire with her girls, NBD. Her products are still available, by the way.
2. Black Opal Beauty make some of the best foundation sticks out there.These foundation sticks are in the kit of nearly every makeup artist — the shade range is great for Black women. It’s a velvet finish somewhere between matte and dewy and looks great year round, regardless of the weather. They’re also super affordable, at less than $10 a pop. They have other foundation types that vary in coverage, but not in quality: all tops on that front.
3. Fashion Fair was one of the first, and remains one of the best, black owned beauty companies in the world.It was founded by Eunice W. Johnson, the creator of the Ebony Fashion Fair, with her husband John H. Johnson, the publisher of Ebony and JET magazines. The Ebony Fashion Fair was this amazing celebration of African American women who got to walk the runways in designs by Vivienne Westwood, Dior, and more. Johnson noticed that models in the fair were mixing foundations to achieve their own shade, so she created this line to better serve the women in her life. It started off as a mail-order company and grew exponentially to what it is today.
You can see if it’s coming to a museum near by here, if you’d like.
4. Miss Jessie’s is a cult favorite for curls.
They have products for all kinds of curls — the slightest of waves to the kinkiest curl. They’ve only been around since 1997, but it’s hard to imagine the natural hair marketplace without their products at this point. They’re everywhere, because they’re just that good.
5. Shea Moisture, AKA the #1 brand that, when on sale at Target, can cause a stampede.
Doesn’t she look radiant? From the Shea Moisture’d hair down to the lipstick choice.
They launched a makeup line last spring — look at all those rich colors.
6. KA’OIR Cosmetics, for lipsticks that span the rainbow.
They have a waxy — but not dry — consistency that is packed full of pigment. No animal testing, either, FYI. One tube will run you $16.99.
Keyshia Ka’oir (the founder and CEO) always looks totally on point in her own creations.
7. IMAN Cosmetics — yes. That Iman. Ageless supermodel beauty, entrepeneur, and David Bowie’s wife. That Iman.
She was the first to come out with BB Cream specifically for darker shades, and she’s also spoken out against the racism of beauty brand placement in drug stores. She was once told that “Black women don’t buy foundation,” and she laughed in their faces and made her own line to sell anyway. An actual hero.
8. curlBOX, the subscription box service for curly haired girls.
Look at their babely satisfied customers. I wish I could like this instagram ten thousand times.
9. Ginger + Liz, a vegan-friendly, toxin-free nail polish line that’s specifically formulated against chemical reactions (and also just has a great shade range, which definitely helps).
10. Black Up Cosmetics has a great foundation range — it’s a must, at least to try out. Their lip lacquers are awesome, too.
11. If curlBOX isn’t for you, COCOTIQUE is another subscription service that sends not just hair products but makeup products, too.
12. Black Radiance Beauty has consistently great eyeshadow palettes available at the drugstore, and their blushes are wonderful.
13. Mixed Chicks, a curl-defining system founded by two bi-racial women for ladies with all kinds of curls.
I first discovered this brand in the bathroom of one of my friends who had the coolest hair I’d ever seen — and I’ve since seen it in the vanity of every other curly haired babe I know (particularly those with primarily 3C curl patterns). The most loved product is the Leave-in Conditioner — and remember that a little goes a really long way.
14. Magnolia Makeup, for super bright eyeshadows and lipstick that go on opaque on all skintones.
15. Sashe Cosmetics has a really fun shade range of greys, blacks, reds, pinks, greens, etc — I’d like all of them, by yesterday.
Look at that blue, you guys! And they were doing the baby hair thing long before it became trendy.
Did we miss your fave, or do you have a favorite product from these guys? Let us know in the comments below.
By: Arabelle Sicardi