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Every year during Black History Month, the public is reminded that Black businesses are not second-rate alternatives to their majority white-led counterparts. Rather, these businesses should be held in the same esteem, often originators and creators of some of today’s most high-quality products.
The concept of “shopping Black” should be second nature — and the value and relevancy of Black businesses isn’t isolated to a designated month.
In the spirit of pushing for this level of equality, this list highlights “Black excellence” in business. From Beyoncé’s Ivy Park to the widely successful Uoma Beauty cosmetics brand, these are our favorite Black-owned brands of the moment.
1. Ivy Park by Beyoncé
Shop: Adidas x Ivy Park Nite Jogger In Grey, $168
When Beyoncé initially launched her athleisure collection Ivy Park in 2016, she shared the company with Topshop and Topman owner Philip Green. After the businessman was accused of sexual misconduct and racial abuse toward staff members in 2018, the famously pro-Black superstar bought out Green’s 50 percent share of the company, making her the sole owner of the brand.
After teasing the then-forthcoming venture in a 2019 Elle Canada interview, Queen Bey re-launched the brand in collaboration with Adidas in January 2020. If the “Formation” singer had any doubts about the venture, they were quickly put to rest. The capsule collection sold out in minutes during its pre-sale launch, and worldwide, during its physical launch the next day. Authorized resellers still have a few pieces from the collection for sale, with Goat as one of the most reputable.
2. Bevel by Tristan Walker
Shop: Bevel Double Edge Safety Razor for Men, $49.95
Bevel, a brand under African-American entrepreneur Tristan Walker’s health and beauty company Walker & Company Brands, stemmed from Walker’s frustration of not finding a razor that worked well with his unique skin and hair texture as a man with textured hair. “Shaving irritation and razor bumps [are] issues some 80% of Black men and women have globally,” he said in an interview with CNN. “If you have curly hair, this is an issue that you’re likely to face.”
Walker founded Walker & Company Brands in 2013, focusing on selling personal care products for Black and brown people. “[My] company really started out of my frustrations of not having products that I could use,” he said. From then, the brand only continued to grow, with the company releasing more products that are mainstays in many people of color’s routines.
3. Form by Tristan Walker
Shop: Form Multitask 3-In-1 Leave-In Lotion, $32
The other brainchild of Walker & Company Brands is Form, a line of hair care products for people with coarse, tightly coiled and textured hair. The line offers products at Sephora, including the Multitask Leave-In Lotion, the Polish Pomade, the Define Curl Crème and the Sculpt Curl Gel.
4. Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross
Shop: Pattern Leave-In Conditioner, $25
Tracee Ellis Ross has an iconic mane, so it made sense when the actress launched her own line of hair products. In 2019, the “Black-ish” star launched Pattern. While speaking of the business venture, the Golden Globe award winner said Pattern was 10 years in the making, explaining she created the line to solve “unmet beauty needs that have not been addressed.”
“Moving my attention to an area that people don’t know of me and that was new for me, as a CEO and founder — everything from packaging and the creative vision and all that kind of stuff to the formulas — I feel a little weepy about that part,” she said. Pattern is currently sold in Ulta Beauty stores.
5. Bolden Skincare by Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa
Shop: Bolden Skin Clarifying Cleanser, $15.29
Marketed as “skincare for Black and brown girls,” Bolden Skincare was founded by two Black women, Chinelo Chidozie and Ndidi Obidoa. In the Bolden mission statement, the women say it exists “to embolden women like us to confidently embrace their natural beauty.” Each product is “expertly-crafted, responsibly-sourced and tailor-made” to fit the experiences of women of color. Bolden currently has a full range of skincare products including a cleanser, toner, mask, SPF-included moisturizer and treatment to fully cover any skincare routine in its entirety.
6. LaQuan Smith by LaQuan Smith
Shop: ASOS Design x LaQuan Smith Off Shoulder Mini Dress In Camo Jacquard, $35.50 (Orig. $119)
LaQuan Smith, a luxury fashion designer hailing from Queens, New York, founded his eponymous clothing brand in 2008 after being rejected from both the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design. After interning at the New York magazine BlackBook in 2007, he spread his name in fashion circles by pretending to be a BlackBook editor at events. Determined to fulfill his destiny as a luxury fashion designer, he kept hitting the pavement and eventually made his New York Fashion Week debut in 2010.
Since then, the likes of Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna and Serena Williams have all worn his pieces. Bringing his sexy and glamorous designs to the everyday consumer, he launched a collaboration with ASOS in 2018, dubbing it “the perfect opportunity just to expand.”
7. Pyer Moss by Kerby Jean-Raymond
Haitian-American fashion designer Kerby Jean-Raymond is the genius behind the luxury womenswear and menswear label Pyer Moss. The brand gained major notoriety during its Spring 2016 Menswear Collection at New York Fashion Week, with its show highlighting police brutality, the Black Lives Matter movement and street art.
8. Uoma Beauty by Sharon Chuter
Shop: Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation, $39
Uoma Beauty was founded by Nigeria-born, Los Angeles and London-based former beauty executive Sharon Chuter. The unique brand name (pronounced “uh-mah”), means “beautiful” in the founder’s native language. Its line of products is “rebellious, innovative and created for all.”
The line, which ranges from complexion products including foundations and concealers to lip and eye products, has received raving reviews from respected and trusted beauty gurus and YouTubers including Jackie Aina, Nyma Tang and NikkieTutorials. Its hero product, the Say What?! Foundation, is available in a whopping 51 shades and continues to be a favorite within the beauty community.
9. Mented Cosmetics by KJ Miller, Amanda E. Johnson
Shop: Semi-Matte Nude Pink Brown Lipstick, $16.50
Mented Cosmetics is another brand formulated to meet the unmet beauty needs of Black and brown women. Founded by Black women KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson, Mented — a play on the word pigmented — was born when both women, while relaxing “over a glass of pinot,” asked themselves why it was so difficult for them to find the perfect nude lipstick that complemented their complexions.
“We believe every woman should be able to find herself in the world of beauty, no matter her skin tone,” the women explained in the brand’s mission statement. “We know you’ll love being put first — because when it comes to beauty, no one deserves to be an afterthought.” All of Mented Cosmetics’ lipsticks are vegan, paraben-free, non-toxic and cruelty-free. The brand also offers a wide range of eyeshadow palettes, lip glosses and lip pencils.
10. Black Opal by Desiree Rogers and Cheryl Mayberry-McKissack
Shop: Black Opal True Color Soft Velvet Finishing Powder, $7.79
Black Opal remains a veteran in the beauty game. Having been around for 25 years, the brand has amassed a loyal following of consumers that swear by its products. Currently available in more than 30 countries worldwide, Black Opal was founded by Jamaica native Carol Mouyiaris and her Greek husband, but officially became entirely Black-owned in 2019 when bought by businesswomen Desiree Rogers and Cheryl Mayberry-McKissack.
The skincare and beauty brand’s first product, the Advanced Dual Complex Fade Gel, first launched in 1994. Currently, its finishing powder remains one of the staples in many Black women’s makeup routines for its soft color payoff that complements the pigments in deeper skin tones.
11. Buttah Skincare by Dorion Renaud
Buttah was founded in 2018 by former “College Hill” reality star, actor, TV host and model Dorion Renaud. As outlined on the brand’s website, Renaud created the line after tirelessly searching for skincare products that addressed the specific needs of highly melanated skin. The lightbulb moment came when he discovered the “transformational properties” of Buttah’s star ingredient: raw, organic, natural shea butter. Renaud explains he created Buttah Skincare for “everyone who is searching for products that work.”
12. Briogeo By Nancy Twine
Shop: Briogeo Scalp Therapy Essentials Kit, $85
Black-owned haircare brands have been receiving a surge of long-overdue support over the past few months, with many people choosing to spend their dollars this way in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests. One of the brands that has seen a major increase in recognition and sales is cult-favorite haircare brand Briogeo.
The brand’s CEO and founder, Nancy Twine, took to Instagram back in June 2020 to thank those who have supported the brand, and even paid it forward by outlining other Black-owned beauty brands to watch.
As for Briogeo’s products, let’s just say they have a reputation of being both effective and diverse. Among the countless lines that are formulated to treat all hair types, one of the most popular is the Scalp Revival series that literally cured my flaky scalp.
13. Melanin Haircare by Whitney and Taffeta White
Shop: Melanin Haircare Multi-Use Pure Oil Blend, $17.99
Longtime natural hair YouTuber Whitney White (adoringly known as Naptural85 on YouTube) answered her subscribers’ prayers in 2015 when she partnered with her sister Taffeta White to launch their own brand Melanin Haircare. Boasting the tagline “simple natural hair care,” Melanin strives to make products that are high in nutrients and accessible for all.
“I wanted to share my love for natural, homemade and safe hair care products on a larger scale, so that everyone, regardless of time or budget, could benefit from real, nutrient-rich products for healthy, thriving hair and scalp,” Whitney shared on the brand’s website.
14. Forvr Mood by Jackie Aina
Shop: Forvr Mood Scented Candle In Cuffing Season, $35
As YouTube royalty and a pioneer in the online beauty space, Jackie Aina almost broke the internet with the August 2020 launch of her lifestyle brand Forvr Mood. While the makeup guru became famous for her skills in the beauty space, her true fans knew that her love for candles and luxury lifestyle products runs deep. So it was no surprise when she unveiled her candle and silk sleep accessories collection.
“Black-woman owned, self-care brand for the regular-degular girl. Bougie, but make it approachable,” is how the brand describes itself on the website — and it couldn’t be articulated better.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like to read about how you can support the #BlackLivesMatter movement and protesters.
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