30 Black-Owned Beauty Brands You Need



In celebration of Black History Month, NYLON is running a spotlight series called UNAPOLOGETIC. Every day, we’ll celebrate different aspects of black culture through profiles, interviews, roundtables, reviews, videos, and op-eds. #Blacklivesmatter and we hold that truth to be self-evident.

Growing out your natural hair or working on that flawless glow? We got you. Winter can do some major damage to your skin, so we searched far and wide and into the depths of Instagram to find some awesome beauty brands for your skin, hair, and makeup needs. All of them were created by black entrepreneurs with black hair and skin in mind; many of the products listed are made from all-natural ingredients, too.

And instead of just buying them once and forgetting about them, by following these accounts on Instagram, you can stay updated on their new scents, colors, and releases. Hopefully, you can even find a product that you're obsessed with and recommend it to your friends. We handpicked 30 of our favorite brands that you need to stock up for this week's #BlackFriday list, below.

The Afro Hair & Skin Co. is an independent Afro beauty and wellness business. They create organic hair and skin products by hand, using natural and locally sourced ingredients.

Balm & Co. products are created with the "intention of bringing holistic, planet and people friendly skin care to those near and far," according to their website. Their assortment of cleansers, serums, oils, and more is vegan and handmade with all-natural ingredients.

Foxie Cosmetics is a line of handcrafted bath bombs, soaps, and other body, skin, and hair care. The line is a one-woman show run by Kayla Phillips, a vegan, Texas-based musician. 

Folie Apothecary is 100 percent natural skin care and hair care handcrafted by Urban Bush Babes co-founder Nikisha Brunson. Mists, serums, oils, and more are available on her Etsy shop as well as stockists like Saint Heron. 

A'Naturelle is an all-natural topical skin-care line based out of Philadelphia. They incorporate the philosophy of ancient Indian ayurvedic principles into skin health. They only use plant-based ingredients in their creams, oils, and soaps. With more than 11 thousand followers on Instagram, the brand’s cult following loves their fresh scents of lemon, coconut ginger, and tea tree. 

Bekura (‘bee-kure-ah’) describe themselves as specialty and avant-garde body care. The line of spa naturals helps with fatigued, dry skin and hair. Their beauty recipes are moisturizing, epicurean-grade botanicals such as floral honey nectars, cacao bean, and cold-pressed fruit butters. They don't use any fillers or GMOs, and they're against animal testing. 

Base Butter is an all natural, multipurpose vegan beauty product with SPF 20 to protect you from the harmful rays. This one product can be used on your lips, skin, and hair. Can you say versatile?!

VEE+CO is a cruelty-free, plant- and earth-based apothecary line dedicated to, what it refer to as, the "triangle of life." They focus more on effect than fragrance, and their products can be used by men and women. 

Pooka Pure and Simple has gained a large following for its natural body butters, oils, and soaps. Going off of the name, the line uses very simple formulas that are free from all harmful substances such as preservatives, added colors, and sulfates.

Oyin Handmade makes hair and body products that are moisture-focused and affordable. The brand specializes in providing products for curly and highly textured hair types, but their whipped body butters are popular too. They can be found at select Target and Sally Beauty Supply stores, or you can purchase online.

Juvia's Place is an eye makeup haven for high-pigmented gel liners and shadows. The shadows come in palettes with African royalty based themes, and they offer extra pots if you run out of your faves.

Sacha Cosmetics is a brand that specializes in perfecting shades for medium to dark complexions. Its products include lipsticks, shadows, foundations, and more.

Coloured Raine has a selection of colors for eyes, lips, and nails that are as stunning as they are unique.

The Lip Bar might just become your new favorite supplier of vegan, cruelty-free, affordable lip colors, and the fact that they come in an array of colors and finishes doesn't hurt either.

In 1994, Black Opal was the first to launch a doctor-recommended makeup line for women of color, and it has been staying on top of its game ever since.

Ka'oir, by Gucci Mane's bride-to-be, is a line formatted especially for women who want high-pigmented, quality colors in nearly any shade imaginable.

IMAN Cosmeticsstarted by none other than the goddess herself—has an array of undeniably beautiful shades for all skin tones.

black|Up is a Paris-based line that focuses on perfecting professional-grade makeup for women of color.

MDMflow is a U.K.-based makeup line that draws inspiration from the mid-'90s to early '00s hip-hop culture and delivers it in unforgettable packaging.

Fashion Fair Cosmetics is all for bold colors on brown girls, as seen in their beautifully vibrant makeup and skin-care line.

Shea Moisture has already made itself a staple in the black hair care lane and has now added itself to the makeup scene.

Cocotique is making lives easier with their $20 beauty boxes of hair, skin, and makeup products. Perfect for the girl who doesn't quite know what works for her yet, or just wants to try new things without spending too much.

NeoTress is a monthly subscription that offers naturalistas everything they need for hair care and self-styling. They offer an exclusive hair experience, which packages custom hair tutorials, the best hair products, and the tools chosen for the subscriber’s specific hair needs.

CURLS maintains high standards for quality ingredients and product dependability. Founder, Mahisha Dellinger, collaborated with leading cosmetic experts to develop CURLS.

Unsun is a face moisturizer made for people of color to protect their skin. It is specifically formulated with a mineral tint and it is tested on tones that range from olive to dark.

Bevel is a brand of premium grooming products and services that are meant to reduce razor bumps and skin irritation. The razors are specifically designed for both women and men with coarse, curly hair. 

Ginger + Liz is a vegan-friendly and toxin-free nail lacquer brand. The collection was created in 2010 by Ginger Johnson and Liz Pickett, friends that bonded over their love of beauty and style. 

The founders of Nubian Heritage started out as street vendors in Harlem right after college. Their goal was to bring the healing traditions of African black soap and shea butter to their community. They used their knowledge of culturally authentic healing traditions to create natural skin and body treatments.

Madam CJ Walker Beauty Culture is a hair care line that stems straight from the legend herself. Walker was an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and a political and social activist in the late 1800s to early 1900s and the brand represents everything she stood for: power and beauty. 

In 1993, encouraged by her mother Carol, Lisa Price began creating high-quality products in her Brooklyn, New York, kitchen. As family and friends experienced how her products transformed their hair and skin, she decided to turn it into a company and thus began Carol's Daughter. 

Nail polish is for novices

Fashion label The Blonds is known for its high-intensity looks that you'd only wear if you wanted to stand out (and who doesn't?). For its runway shows, wild press-on nails are the beauty step that can't be missed. So, since the brand has partnered with CND since it was founded, we thought it best to get prepped for the show with Jan Arnold, CND's co-founder.

See why you should take your nail look from a zero to a 10, in the video above.

Shot by Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson
Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Production Assistant: Polina Buchak
Featuring Jan Arnold of CND Nails and The Blonds



Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

It would've been nice if someone said the word "fat"

Back in November, Rebel Wilson claimed to be the first plus-sized lead in a romantic comedy when she appeared on Ellen to talk about her role in Isn't It Romantic. Wilson was not only wrong, but she was—even if inadvertently—erasing the work of Black plus-size actresses like Queen Latifah and Mo'Nique, both of whom have expansive resumes that include romantic comedies.

Wilson's comment isn't the first example of white women taking up a little too much space in the fat acceptance ethos. It's actually quite common. But there is a reason why women like Wilson—women who are blonde, pretty, successful, and white—get put front and center in calls for body positivity. In the same way that feminism—the movement from which body positivity was born—has often failed to address how gender intersects with other identities like race and class; so, too, has body positivity been championed as a cause for otherwise privileged women. And that's why it's no surprise that Isn't It Romantic, which aspires to be both a spot-on mockery of rom-coms and a celebration of body positivity, is actually a perfect example of how very white both the movie genre and the body positivity movement tend to be.

In the film, Wilson plays Natalie, an architect based in New York, who is single and plus-sized—the archetypal rom-com underdog. Very early on in the movie, she endures the double humiliation of both being hit by a runaway food cart and then accosted by its owner for not stopping it with her "cement truck"-like body. At work, Natalie is similarly disrespected: The office manager hands off troubleshooting tasks to Natalie; another colleague always tasks Natalie to throw out his trash; her assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) won't stop watching movies (rom-coms, naturally) while in the office; and Natalie is so afraid to present her ideas for more innovative parking garage designs that she isn't even widely known in the firm as an architect, and is treated like an intern.

But is Natalie just a doormat? Or is it that she isn't asking for what she wants? And isn't very nice about not getting it? If Natalie's life is any example, the bar on suffering is set pretty low for white women. In her personal life, Natalie lives alone with her dog, and seems to be pretty well-off, financially; her best friend is actually her slacker assistant, Whitney, and she's close with another coworker, Josh (Adam Devine), who gives Natalie constant emotional support. She's decidedly anti-romantic, having been told by her mother from a young age that there's no such thing as real-life fairy tales; she's level-headed and practical. But also, she's filled with self-loathing. This leads her to be crass, sarcastic, and disconnected from people. And it was this last part that was hard for me. As a fat Black woman who grew up broke, does not have an assistant, and would get fired if I didn't do my job well, it was hard, if not impossible, to root for her.

For Natalie, though, everything changes when she bangs her head while fighting off a mugger. Her mundane life is tinted through rosy rom-com glasses. Suddenly, all the things that sucked about her life are gone, and everything is beautiful and perfect. But was her life so bad before? It didn't really seem to be.

And yet, looking around the theater at the mostly white, female audience, I accepted that my feelings didn't seem to be shared. But that almost seems to be by design; this feels like a movie for a white, female audience. There is only one person of color in the movie who even has a name: It's Isabelle (Priyanka Chopra), who shows up about halfway through the film—after everything has been rom-com filtered—as a yoga ambassador and swimsuit model. But a name is all Isabella has. A supporting character at best, she doesn't have any connection to anyone other than her white boyfriend, and is sketchily drawn. We learn nothing of her familial or ethnic background, and, even when she is shown at her wedding, there is nobody from her family celebrating with her. This huge oversight is particularly bizarre, given that Natalie has already bemoaned the lack of diversity in romantic films.

Another huge oversight? The presence of the word "fat." I don't think I heard it used a single time. Natalie only references her weight indirectly, by commenting on the appearance of straight-sized women; when talking about her own body, the word "fat" is replaced with "girl like me." But by ignoring this aspect of herself, and refusing to address it head-on, Natalie is succumbing to the same fatphobia that shapes her world, whether she identifies it as being a problem or not.

Before her life becomes a rom-com, Natalie feels invisible at work and in the world. Some of this is certainly her fault, but fatphobia is also at play. Fatphobia chips away at the humanity of fat people from different angles. It means that Natalie gets used to being dehumanized; she doesn't expect others to have empathy for her when she's physically hurt, because they don't value her body. And it's no coincidence that Natalie's fantasy world includes a magically bigger apartment with unlimited clothing options, because discrimination against fat people isn't just a matter aesthetics and preferences—it affects everything from our ability to dress ourselves to our ability to make and save money, since there's a price to pay for being fat, even if it's just having to pay more to travel. Just as much as gender and race intersect with fat bodies, so, too, do economics and class.

I knew I could count on a plus-sized white comedian to take down a genre of films that prioritized thin women. But I ventured to see if Wilson could go further than that, and challenge what it means to be white and well-off and fat in the process; it isn't just about taking down rom-coms but about doing so in a way that isn't just a mouthpiece for white feminist values. But, in the end, that isn't what happened. Isn't It Romantic is fine, but it needed to do more than target an audience of girls who are 10 to 30 pounds overweight and still too jolted by the word "fat" to ever apply it to themselves, so they go for acceptable alternatives, like curvy, plus-sized—or thicc, if they're hip. But I'm not afraid to say I'm fat, I'm just disappointed I will be waiting even longer to see a realistic reflection of that experience onscreen.

Isn't It Romantic is in theaters now.