20 Best Black Makeup Brands That Everyone Can Use to Get Gorgeous
If these companies aren’t on your radar, you are seriously missing out. Try our top picks from each brand and you’ll be an instant fan.
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Beauty for all
Black-owned makeup brands are finally getting the star treatment. While some of the new attention may have stemmed from far from glamorous reasons over the past year, it’s still about time and a distinct sign of progress. These Black-owned businesses and many others could use your support all year long—something that even Amazon has realized by creating a new shopping section called Buy Black. Overdue recognition aside, the beauty companies on this list should be on your radar because they are amazing. Many Black-owned beauty products were created to satisfy the neglected needs of women of color, and therefore, a lot of thought, care, and detailed attention went into their creation, so they address a variety of concerns and produce serious results.
With their stellar ingredients and extensive color palettes, these companies create top-notch products that will help you look instantly put together. But their true beauty lies in the fact that they treat women as individuals and, in the process, deliver the gift of gorgeous to faces of all shades. Try them once and you’ll be a fan for life.
After years of struggling to find suitable nude lip shades that complemented their own skin tones, Mented founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson decided to take matters into their own hands. The result was Mented, which launched in 2017. Though the brand was developed to serve the needs of women of color, Miller wants “women of every hue to be able to achieve the clean, natural look, which celebrates—and does not conceal—our true beauty.” The line’s moisturizing semi-matte lipstick will become your new go-to product for any occasion and help you look effortlessly gorgeous.
The Lip Bar
When it comes to makeup, there shouldn’t be one standard. But that’s what the beauty industry seemed to be pushing until very recently—and that’s what motivated Melissa Butler to cook up The Lip Bar in her kitchen in 2012. “Everywhere I looked, the media was telling women that beauty had to look a certain way,” she says. Determined to build a brand that was “inclusive at its core,” Butler began The Lip Bar with lip products that complemented various skin tones but has since expanded it into a full beauty collection.
Infused with all natural, vegan ingredients and created through cruelty-free methods, this Black-owned makeup brand’s products are beloved for being as good for the skin as they are for the environment. The wide-ranging line truly features something for everyone, including 26 foundation shades that work for “light skin tones like Nicole Kidman’s to very dark complexions like Lupita Nyong’o’s.” Finding the best foundation for your skin tone is an important beauty duty, as is protecting skin from the sun’s harmful rays. The Lip Bar’s newly launched Just a Tint 3-in-1 Tinted Skin Conditioner is a multitasking complexion perfector, sun protector, and skin moisturizer all rolled into one.
Looking for rich, deeply pigmented products? You’re in the right place. When Juvia’s Place founder Chichi Eburu realized that she couldn’t find bold, vibrant cosmetics that actually complemented her darker skin tone, she decided to create her own line. Driven by both “necessity and inspiration,” the Nigerian-born Eburu developed products that paid homage to African culture and the beauty trends that originated on the continent.
Juvia’s Place is revered for its boundary-pushing approach to everyday makeup, and beauty novices and professionals alike appreciate its approachability. Makeup artist Nyssa Green, founder of the Green Room Agency and a longtime fan of the brand, particularly loves the affordability of the line, which is priced similarly to many of the drugstore lipstick brands celebrities use. Green, who’s worked with celebrities of all skin tones including Jane Fonda and Sheryl Underwood, also applauds the brand for its “depth and quality” and highly recommends the eye shadow palettes for women of all complexions. The Warrior Eyeshadow Palette offers up deep earth tones with its shimmery golds, bronzes, and browns.
Pat McGrath Labs
When a makeup artist as accomplished as Pat McGrath creates a cosmetics line, there’s an obvious expectation that the products will be top-notch. Pat McGrath Labs not only meets that expectation but surpasses it. Guided by McGrath’s decades-long reign as one of the fashion world’s most influential beauty figures, the line is loaded with innovative colors for the eyes, lips, and face.
Though consumers and experts love the entire range, they particularly adore the highly pigmented eye shadow palettes. Considered “pure gold” by beauty pros like celebrity makeup artist Felicia Graham, the innovative shades and “silky-smooth consistency” make them must-haves for all women. These skin-tone-friendly makeup palettes should also be at the top of your beauty essentials list.
Pop star Rihanna’s makeup line Fenty beauty is equal parts enticing, provocative, and inclusive. The breakthrough brand—highly regarded for, among other things, its broad range foundation shades—is designed to give women of all complexions and skin tones boundless options for seamless, silky coverage. Offering a whopping 50 different foundation hues for the palest to the darkest skin tones, not to mention a plethora of complementary products for the eyes, lips, and cheeks, Fenty’s products should be in every makeup lover’s bag of tricks. The Pro Filt’r foundation, in particular, is a standout product adored by makeup pros and everyday beauty junkies alike for its lightweight, photo-ready finish. You’ll definitely want to avoid heavy foundation, by the way, since it’s one of the makeup mistakes that can seriously age your face.
Former actress turned beauty entrepreneur Vera Moore created her eponymous brand to fill a gaping hole in the industry for products that serve women of color—something she understood all too well as one of the first Black actresses contracted on a soap opera. Breaking ground as the first Black-owned brand to open an outpost at New York’s Green Acres Mall in 1982, Vera Moore is an OG in the world of Black-owned makeup and continues to be a leader in the field today. The brand’s Sheer Beginning foundation (available in a variety of shades from light to dark) is a long-wear, water-based blend designed to complement underlying skin tones. Your makeup isn’t the only thing that you need to keep in mind, of course. Here’s how to find the best hair color for your skin tone.
Anyone who’s on the hunt for a high-quality, waterproof foundation with true staying power should look to AJ Crimson Beauty. Founded by Hollywood heavyweight makeup artist AJ Crimson, this collection features a wide array of beautifying foundations based on what Crimson has personally used to enhance the faces of stars like Regina King, Hilary Duff, and Christina Milian.
Professional makeup pros agree that Crimson’s personal expertise is the secret ingredient in the AJ Crimson Dual Skin crème foundation. Preferred by experienced makeup artists like Green for its “amazing coverage and range,” it’s a magnificent multitasker that can serve as a foundation, concealer, or contouring product. It can even camouflage tattoos! Don’t miss these inexpensive beauty tricks only stylists know.
Black Opal Cosmetics
One of the most recognizable drugstore makeup brands, Black Opal Cosmetics was created in 1994 by chemist Niko Mouyiaris as a solution to his wife Carol’s difficulty finding beauty products for Black women. Fast-forward 25 years and the brand, which was acquired in 2019 by entrepreneurs Desiree Rogers and Cheryl Mayberry McKissack, is officially Black-owned and still going strong.
Chock-full of glow-enhancing essentials like primers, powders, and concealers that work with many different skin tones, the brand is also known for its accessibility and affordability. The True Color Skin Perfecting Stick Foundation SPF 15—the brand’s top-selling foundation—is available in 19 shades, protects against sun damage, and leaves behind a “velvety silk finish,” which is why it’s a constant in Green’s makeup bag. Bonus: The under-$15 price point is a blessing for just about every budget.
If supermodel-worthy makeup is what you crave, your wish is Iman’s command. The iconic model’s eponymous cosmetics collection has been a mainstay on the Black beauty scene since 1994, and it’s still a staple for beauty connoisseurs. Green, who’s used Iman cosmetics on clients of all skin tones and textures, is a longtime fan of the brand and considers these pressed powders a great score. When it comes to pressed powder, Green looks “for it to be finely milled and light in texture [because] that’s key to minimizing the appearance of pores and fine lines”—and exactly what she finds so appealing about this particular product. Applying foundation correctly is another way to keep your skin looking its very best.
If you’re looking for a collection of vibrant hues with a cruelty-free formulation, look no further than Coloured Raine. While this Black-owned makeup brand was developed with darker skin tones in mind, founder Loraine Dowdy also wanted to offer products that catered to “each person’s unique self-expression, regardless of age, race, or gender.”
Get ready to fall in love with these Focal Point Glowlighters, buttery-soft highlighters that blend seamlessly into the skin. Available in eight illuminating shades, they’ll add radiance to your complexion and highlight your best features. On the other hand, these are the makeup mistakes pros wish you’d stop making.
Niye Aniekan-Attang founded Ace Beauté in 2015, originally as a lash line. Just six years later, the brand is well respected as a full-scale beauty brand boasting ethically created products for the eyes, face, and lips. The brand’s motto? “Beauty for all.” And you’ll find something perfect not only for your skin tone but also for your mood and desired look. Go natural or bold with Ace Beauté’s intensely pigmented eye shadows in this Quintessential Palette, a collection of 16 ultra-flattering colors that epitomize accessible glam and work well for a slew of see-and-be-seen scenarios.
Anyone looking to up their brow game should check out Lamik Beauty. Founder Kim Roxie, who got her start in the beauty business as a makeup artist at a local shopping mall, launched her first makeup shop in Houston in 2004 as a destination for women to have their brows shaped and their faces perfectly painted. What started out as a physical venue morphed into a brand once Roxie began selling her handmade cosmetics to clients. Today, Lamik Beauty is a complete makeup line that offers a wide array of makeup, but the brow-care products are the brand’s best sellers. Try one and you’ll see why. Lamik’s eyebrow gel is a fantastic product that instantly smooths and sets brows and lasts all day.
Any woman who covets full, voluminous lashes needn’t look any further than Uomo Beauty. The brand, founded by Nigerian beauty exec Sharon Chuter, features one of the most sought-after mascaras on the market. Drama Bomb Extreme Volume nourishing mascara is an absolute must-try. Loaded with nurturing and sustainable ingredients like castor, golden jojoba oil, and avocado, this smudge-proof, water-resistant, vegan mascara helps promote the growth of natural lashes while also delivering a dramatic effect. While we’re on the subject, check out these mascara hacks for perfect lashes.
Drawing on the insight gained while developing products for major beauty players like Kiss and Benefit cosmetics, self-taught makeup artist Danessa Myricks set out to create multifunctional cosmetic products that work well on all faces. And her innovative Enlight Halo loose powders, which are formulated with crystallized pigments, add instant illumination to skin. Luxurious and blendable, they come in five sparkling shades and provide a sophisticated glow for any skin tone.
Makeup artist Alicia Scott founded Range Beauty with a dual purpose in mind: to expand on the cosmetic options for women of color while creating products that wouldn’t inflame or irritate sensitive, eczema-prone skin like her own. Per the brand’s website, Range Beauty is “clean beauty for forgotten shades.” The brand’s foundation offerings, in particular, are intended to match every complexion while providing sweat-proof, long-lasting coverage. For sensitive skin, you’ll also want to check out these anti-aging creams dermatologists trust most.
Beauty Bakerie is a cosmetics line designed to sweeten your look as well as the lives of those in need. Founded in 2011 by Cashmere Nicole, the collection benefits a number of Nicole’s charitable and socially conscious endeavors, and of course, the products are brilliant beauty buys, as well. The cruelty-free, all-inclusive collection is driven by Nicole’s wellness-minded perspective. After surviving a challenging bout with cancer, Nicole sought to create products that treated skin as well as they made it look. The Flour Setting Powders, with names that sound good enough to eat, are primed to perfect the finish of makeup applied to any skin tone. Check out these other amazing products that give back.
When Destiny Jones launched Lipmatic in 2014, the four-shade lip gloss line was created with a distinct nod to her father, the rapper Nas, and his musical career—the product names all paid homage to his iconic song titles. Over the past seven years, however, the brand has evolved into a broader range of products.
Since attributes like “high shine” and “rich, long-lasting pigments” are prerequisites for professional makeup artists, Lipmatic’s cream lipsticks are often an essential part of their beauty arsenal. In addition to giving off the perfect amount of gleam, the lipsticks also nurture stressed lips with their moisturizing and healing formulation of shea butter, avocado oil, and vitamins A and E. The Grand Central Station hue is a soft, gilded shade of nude that goes with nearly every complexion.
Founded by Afro-Latina and Dominican-American sisters Mabel and Shaira Frías, Luna Magic delivers bold, high-performance, and their eye shadow palettes especially are made for drama—and created with diversity in mind. This best-selling Uno eye shadow palette offers 12 shades of rich color that spans from neutral to nearly neon. If you wear glasses, special rules apply: Don’t miss these clever tips for wearing makeup with glasses.
Gold Label Cosmetics
The general consensus among beauty pros is that keeping your pucker paraben-free should be a priority. “It is so important to use clean products, for the safety of our overall health,” notes makeup artist Marcia Williams. And that’s exactly why lip wear from the cruelty-free, paraben-free Gold Label Cosmetics, founded by makeup artist Kristen Elise Brown in 2012, should be on every beauty lover’s shopping list. The brand’s Matte Lip Pens pack a serious punch of pigment that stays in place all day. Make sure to avoid smudged lipstick and these other lip mistakes if you want a polished look.
If a velvety lip gloss that doesn’t run and gives really high shine is at the top of your wish list, you’re about to attain lip wear nirvana. Bossy Cosmetics’ vegan, gluten-free collection was created by self-professed lipstick junkie Aishetu Fatima Dozie to “ignite confidence in women through ethically produced beauty products.” The brand’s lip glosses, in particular, bring about that confidence with a healthy dose of hydration and highly pigmented color. Bossy Gloss, which is available in seven scintillating shades, boasts an ultra-moisturizing formula that will pamper your pout and give it a pretty pop of color. Which one are you drawn to? Find out what your favorite lipstick color says about your personality.