The black-owned beauty brands to support today and always

Krissy Turner
L-R: Pat McGrath, Tracee Ellis Ross and Rihanna - getty

The past week has seen global outrage and protests take place in support of justice for the death of George Floyd, the unarmed black man who became the latest addition to a long list of black people who have died in police custody in America.

While supporters are signing petitions, donating to critical funds and charities, protesting for justice and educating themselves on the depth of racism both in the UK and USA, making a point of buying the brilliant products on offer from black-owned brands is a great way to support the cause long-term.  

While it may seem frivolous in light of these turbulent, tense times, there's a wealth of black-owned beauty brands to have on your radar. Some of these brands have been created to specifically cater for darker skin tones and Afro hair, but many of the ones we've listed here cater for everyone. 

Here are 17 brilliant black-owned beauty brands to support now - all of these have long been staples on our own beauty shelves.  

1. Charlotte Mensah 

London-based British-Ghanian Mensah is an acclaimed hairstylist constantly making waves in the UK hair industry. She's long been a go-to for those with Afro and mixed-heritage hair (Zadie Smith and Janelle Monae are her clients) and has a chic salon in London's Portobello.

Four years ago, she launched her own much-anticipated haircare line. We love the Manketti oil (light enough that you can use it every day, but super-nourishing for dry hair types, too). 

2. Dizziak 

The brainchild of Loretta De Feo, who previously worked at Stylist, hair care brand Dizziak is a curly hair saviour. When she was frustrated by the lack of rich conditioners on the market, De Feo, who has curly Afro hair herself, created her own. Fully vegan, packed with natural ingredients, these products will look stylish on your bathroom shelf. 

3. Epara

Ozohu Adoh's passion for authentic skincare was behind her founding her own brand, Epara Skincare. Growing up in Nigeria with a dry skin type, she opted for African organic ingredients to soothe her own skin and came up with a brilliant formula which addresses a host of skin concerns that women of colour have. Her luxury line is full of nourishing, rich ingredients: think mango butter, marula oil and shea. 

4. Briogeo

Late last year, Briogeo's repairing mask bought my own heat-damaged curls back from the brink, and I've been dedicated to trying as many of its products as possible since. Following a childhood helping her grandmother make natural hair products, Nancy Twine founded Briogeo, a haircare line with no harsh sulfates or parabens with a collection for every hair type. 

5. Pat McGrath Labs

Arguably the most influential make-up artist in the world, the beauty industry rejoiced when McGrath who has been a pioneer in her field for near 30 years, finally launched her own beauty line. Having awed at her beauty looks on the catwalk for so long, being able to own and wear her products was much-anticipated. 

Expect unbelievably glowing, flawless skin (the Skin Fetish foundation comes in 36 shades) and super-pigmented lipsticks and eye palettes.

6. Camille Rose Naturals

Natural brand Camille Rose offers hair, skin and bath lines that are renowned for being gentle yet super-effective. Founder Janell Stephens launched the brand when the natural hair industry was just beginning to gather momentum: she concocted her own natural blends in her kitchen. 

Now, among the natural hair community, Camille Rose is widely recognised a staple brand to get on your radar. 

7. Fenty Beauty 

Fenty Beauty, infamously owned and created by Rihanna (but LVMH as its 'parent'), aimed (and succeeded) to fill a huge void in the beauty industry when it launched back in 2017. With foundation shades for all skin tones still a rarity, Fenty launched with 40 shades, the majority of which were for medium to darker skin, since expanding it to a whopping 50. Three years on, every new launch is as highly anticipated as the entire brand was. 

8. Pattern Beauty

Pattern Beauty is a newbie to the scene, having launched last September, but with a founder as fabulous as actress, Tracee Ellis Ross, it was highly anticipated. Ross has long offered great curly hair inspiration herself, and her haircare line caters for those with wavy, curly and kinky hair types. 

It was met with rave reviews shortly after it launched, but is annoyingly rather tricky to get hold of in the UK. Get it on your shopping list for when we're allowed to travel again. 

9. Willow & Mane

If you’re after a super-luxe feeling sustainable towel, Willow & Mane is your best bet. Handmade in the UK from organic cotton, they are effortlessly absorbent and stretchy, meaning they can be wrapped into turbans while you lounge around the house waiting for your tresses to dry.

Choose from an assortment of various bold and pastel hues, as well as a few reversible colourways or personalise your own. Unlike microfibre towels, which are especially effective for curly, coily, afro hair types, this eco-friendly alternative will reduce plastic use and limit contaminating waterways with microfibres. 

10. Bouclème

There’s a lot to love about this brand, founded by Michele Scott-Lynch in 2014. Delectable looking packaging, sustainable, sulphate, silicone and paraben free, and born out of sheer respect for curls, Boucleme boasts a haircare range which features pure, natural actives that deliver moisture where it’s needed without stripping or weighing down the hair. If you’ve already tried their products, you’ll know all too well about their weightless, yet efficacious excellence - and if you haven’t, well, you’re in for a treat. 

11. Gina Knight Wig Design 

Created by award-winning wig designer Gina Knight, this brand houses numerous styles which celebrate afro hair textures and focus on truly protecting hair and scalps without compromise. Specialising in textured wigs for hair replacement, each piece is created with 100 per cent quality human hair, carefully sewn and styled by Gina, who herself was diagnosed with alopecia. 

12. Lash Magnifique 

Well adored by countless celebrities, including Mel B and Jourdan Dunn, Lash Magnifique creates vegan, cruelty-free lashes which can be worn up to 25 times. Brand founder Stacey Nathaniel, is not only responsible for producing luxe-feeling strip lashes for every occasion, but also heads up the brand’s award-winning eyelash extension services.

13. LIHA Beauty 

An arguably perfect marriage of self-proclaimed “natural African roots and a quintessentially British attitude”. LIHA, founded by friends Liha and Abi, offers natural, organic and vegan skincare which seamlessly blends the rich botanical life of West Africa with English aromatherapy traditions and folk remedies. Their multi-purpose Idan Oil, £39, is wonderfully indulgent and leaves the skin silky-smooth. 

14. Uoma Beauty

This is a well-loved brand prized on its unfaltering inclusive nature. Founded by Nigerian born, LA & London based former beauty executive Sharon Chuter, Uoma - pronounced uh-mah, meaning beautiful in Igbo - is your one-stop shop for playful beauty which allow us to reconnect with the very thing make-up is all about: fun.   

In an effort to hold brands accountable, this week Chuter launched the #PullUpOrShutUp campaign, which calls on businesses, especially those that have outwardly shown support for the Black Lives Matter movement, to release public reports on the number of black people they employ and how many black executives they have working at a corporate level. The campaign seeks to create real, meaningful change to corporate and professional spaces which will support the movement long-term.

15. The Afro Hair & Skin Co.

Crafted by hand, using fresh natural and locally sourced ingredients, this brand creates truly organic products which will feed your hair and skin with what  it really needs. From balancing facial oils to nourishing hair butters, this business - located along the English coast - is a eco-conscious shopper’s dream.

16. Nails & Brows

Once lockdown is over, we’re sure this boutique will have to work through a long list of clients eager to get back through its doors. Founded by Sherrille Riley, it is perhaps the salon’s approach to beauty which entices us most. Offering a bespoke, expert approach that promotes natural beauty and individual style, this boutique is the luxurious home of routine beauty treatments, including waxing, lashes and manicures. 

17. EQUI Botanics 

Since the day she held a clump of her fallen hair in her hands, Ekwy Chukwuji-Nnene has worked tirelessly to understand hair and how to truly take care of it. Her brand is the product of years worth of research, testing and reformulations, which has resulted in a haircare range which protects, nurtures and strengthens natural hair.