5 Black-Women-Owned Beauty Brands You Should Know
Black is beautiful. And so is supporting our businesses.
Black is beautiful. We already know this, but major players in the beauty industry are finally taking notice, snapping up brands originally launched by Black folks or launching brands in partnership with Black celebs. Fenty Beauty by Rihanna is slaying the makeup game with 50 shades of foundation (13 options for tan to deep skin tones). These days we can even find our fave SheaMoisture and Carol’s Daughter hair care products at Target and Walgreens. And general-market makeup brands like Clinique and Maybelline have also added more shades for women of color.
Brands like these blew up because we supported them. Independent, Black-women-owned brands are also finding their place in the retail and e-commerce beauty marketplace. Here we spotlight five of these emerging brands:
Shaun Leon Bath & Body
A trip to a perfumery in Paris sparked former stylist Shaunya Hartley and her mom, jewelry designer Leona Hartley, to partner and create Shaun Leon Bath & Body (shaunleon.com), an online bath and body boutique specializing in nourishing beauty oils and soothing bathing botanicals.
“I’ve been creating my own fragrances and beauty products for years as a passion project, and seeing that creativity on display was just intoxicating,” says Shaunya, who owned a successful vintage clothing store. “We were so excited about the idea of starting our own beauty shop that we started researching suppliers and coming up with formulas during our vacation!”
From their herbal bathing teas and aromatherapy soaps to face and body oils, Shaun Leon products are cruelty- and paraben-free and handcrafted with wellness and grooming in mind.
Marsh + Mane
Jenea Robinson transitioned from a high profile public relations career to launch Marsh + Mane (marshandmane.com), a new retail sanctuary in Philadelphia that caters to women of color and our hair care needs.
“I wanted to create the type of beauty supply experience that I wanted to shop in. I wanted it to look beautiful, feel warm and inviting, and I didn't want an environment where customers felt rushed or followed,” says Robinson.
The store stocks a handpicked selection of over 80 popular natural hair brands like Alaffia and Alikay Naturals, and independent brands that Robinson and her staff source from hair forums and social media. And non-Philly fillies are in luck. Marsh + Mane recently launched an online store.
An activist and punk rock artist from Austin, Texas, Kayla Phillips (aka Foxie) makes handcrafted bath, body, skin and hair care products that have garnered attention from Essence and Nylon. Most Foxie Cosmetics (foxiecosmetics.com) products have kitschy names like Everything Nice bubble bath and Rich Bitch Soak. Items sell out quickly but Phillips restocks in between her tour dates.
“I’ve been vegan for 12+ years, so keeping things vegan and cruelty-free are more than a means to be accessible, but my own ethical lifestyle choice. I go to great lengths to fully be sustainable and fair,” she says on her website.
“My bath products aim to soothe aches and pains because I'm a part of the chronic illnesses community, and as a touring musician, you'd bet I take a lot of baths after a long tour run. I wanted products that did something, so Foxie Cosmetics was born through that reason!”
For fellow chronic illness sufferers, Phillips offers a free mix of bath goodies ($3 for shipping).
Marjani (marjanibeauty.com) prides itself on being “the brown girl beauty authority.”
“Just like you, I’m a brown girl who’s just trying to find the right shade of foundation, the right color that makes my lips pop and a skin care regimen that gives my skin that perfect glow,” Marjani CEO and founder Kimberly Smith says on the website.
“We want more than a corner in the back of the store or three shades in a 30-range foundation line. We want something real. I wanted that for myself so I’m curating it for you.”
The beauty retailer offers a mix of domestic and international beauty and cosmetic products. Featured brands include Maréna Beauté makeup, Afrodeity skin care and Ginger + Liz vegan and toxin-free nail lacquer. Marjani also has a retail space in the Brown Beauty Co-op in Washington, D.C.
Fashion-industry veteran Dana Hill founded the monthly subscription box, Cocotique (cocotique.com), to help women of color discover the best in beauty and self-care.
“Each month I curate products that are targeted specifically for our unique needs. As women, we spend so much time taking care of others that we tend to forget to pamper ourselves … you can’t pour from an empty cup,” she says. “Subscribers are reminded to love themselves, embrace their magic and to recognize the importance of self-care and me time.”
Affordably priced at $25 per month, each Cocotique box includes five to eight products from a variety of skin care, hair care, fragrance, nail care and lifestyle companies. In addition to tried-and-true beauty brands like African Pride and Black Radiance, Cocotique supports and provides a platform for smaller Black-owned and Black-women-owned brands to gain exposure.