16 Top Beauty and Cosmetic Brands Owned By Black People

Skeptics used to say black girls “didn’t buy” foundation. Explain that to these beauty empires.

1. Madame C.J. Walker

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.

New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

New York Daily News Archive / Getty Images

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

Black Opal Beauty make some of the best foundation sticks out there.

black opal

Danielle Gray / Via thestyleandbeautydoctor.com

These foundation sticks are in the kit of nearly every makeup artist we work with at BuzzFeed — the shade range is great for women of color. 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.

They say “A girl without freckles is like a sky without stars” I wanted to try something completely different so I made “fake” freckles. I’ve always loved them, they’re soo unique! Face: @blackopalbeauty Creme Stick Foundation in “suede mocha” to contour, @lagirlcosmetics HD Pro Concealer in “fawn” to highlight. Brows: @anastasiabeverlyhills Dipbrow pomade in “chocolate”. Lips: @nyxcosmetics Lipliner in “fushcia” @milanicosmetics Lipstick in “Rose Hip”. #freckledface #blackopalbeauty #lagirlcosmetics #nyxcosmetics #milanicosmetics #anastasiabeverlyhills #anastasiabrows #thecutlife #motd #fotd #instamakeup #vamua #virginiamakeupartist #757mua #bigchop #naturallyshesdope #naturalgirlsrock

A photo posted by Black Opal (@blackopalbeauty) on Jan 31, 2015 at 5:58am PST


3. Fashion Fair

Fashion Fair was one of the first, and remains one of the best, black owned beauty companies in the world.


Fashion Fair / Via fashionfair.com

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.  Here’s a video of past Fashion Fairs — there’s currently an exhibition of the Fair on tour. 

4. Miss Jessie’s

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

Shea Moisture, AKA the #1 brand that, when on sale at Target, can cause a stampede.



They launched a makeup line last spring — look at all those rich colors.


6. KA’OIR Cosmetics

KA’OIR Cosmetics, for lipsticks that span the rainbow. enhanced-12293-1424562642-7

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

IMAN Cosmetics — yes. That Iman. Ageless supermodel beauty, entrepeneur, and David Bowie’s wife. That Iman.


A photo posted by LB Group (@lb__group) on Feb 11, 2015 at 7:43pm PST

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsShe 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.

The Style and Beauty Doctor / Via thestyleandbeautydoctor.com

The Style and Beauty Doctor / Via thestyleandbeautydoctor.com


8. curlBOX

curlBOX, the subscription box service for curly haired girls.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsLook at their babely satisfied customers. I wish I could like this instagram ten thousand times.

always amazing. @baronesscountess A photo posted by @curlbox on Feb 13, 2015 at 2:10pm PST


9. Ginger + Liz

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

Black Up Cosmetics has a great foundation range — it’s a must, at least to try out. Their lip lacquers are awesome, too.



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

Black Radiance Beauty has consistently great eyeshadow palettes available at the drugstore, and their blushes are wonderful.

One Tree Brands / Via onetreebrands.com

One Tree Brands / Via onetreebrands.com



13. Mixed Chicks

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

Magnolia Makeup, for super bright eyeshadows and lipstick that go on opaque on all skintones.


15. Sashe Cosmetics

15. Sashe Cosmetics has a really fun shade range of greys, blacks, reds, pinks, greens, etc — I’d like all of them, by yesterday.



16. MDMflow

MDMflow is a London based beauty brand centered around a hip hop zine you can read online, too.


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.

Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/arabellesicardi/blackout-beauty-friday#.wfJ6rL58L



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