It’s no secret that the beauty industry has been far from inclusive in the past, and many of us have become more conscious of how we can do better. Exercising your individual buying power is just one small way to take action—so if your routine could use a refresh, these black-owned skincare brands deserve your support.
Doing so can make a big difference. By helping these businesses to grow, you will be encouraging economic investment, fostering job creation and strengthening black communities. And with the innovative products they’ve created, these brands should be on your radar, anyway! Think: dark spot-fighting serums, non-whitening sunscreen, hydrating masks and much more.
From The Skincare Edit Archives
Read on to discover the black-owned skincare brands that you need to know about, plus my top product picks.
The Black-Owned Skincare Edit
Best dark spot serums
Best retinol serums
Best lip mask
Best face masks
Best calming serum
Best hydrating serum
Best lip balm
Best body moisturizer
The Best Black-Owned Skincare of 2022
- Background: Topicals is the creation of Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng, who—despite being in their early 20s—already heave years of experience in beauty brand-building and clinical research. Their goal was to create a line of science-backed products to help people with chronic skin conditions to feel more confident.
- Editor’s pick: Topicals Faded Brightening & Clearing Serum is a potent, gel-like serum that fades post-acne marks, dark patches and discolourations. It’s loaded with a long list of active ingredients, including niacinamide, tranexamic acid, azelaic acid, kojic acid and licorice root. No wonder it is frequently sold out!
- Background: Shani Darden is the eponymous skincare range by celebrity facialist Shani Darden (whose A-list clientele includes Jessica Alba, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kelly Rowland). After years of honing her clinical expertise, she developed her own products, including a retinol that quickly became a cult sensation.
- Editor’s pick: Shani Darden Retinol Reform combines 2.2% encapsulated retinol with 2% lactic acid in a lightweight serum. It treats everything from fine lines to dark spots to breakouts, and has countless celebrity fans. It’s one of my all-time favourite retinoids—see my full review here.
EleVen by Venus
- Background: EleVen by Venus is the brainchild of tennis superstar Venus Williams. In addition to selling activewear, she has also teamed up with Credo Beauty and The Sunscreen Company on a collection of mineral suncare products.
- Editor’s pick: EleVen by Venus Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35 is a highly innovative sunscreen serum for all skin tones and types. Not only does it gives you broad-spectrum protection with 25% zinc oxide, it is also completely weightless and invisible on your skin.
- Background: ROSEN Skincare grew out of founder Jamika Martin’s struggles with teenage and adult acne. When she couldn’t find anything that worked—let alone with clean ingredients and cool packaging—she decided to take matters into her own hands.
- Editor’s pick: ROSEN Skincare Tropics Toner is the brand’s bestseller, a hydrating toner that prevents dark spots and balances oil production. It contains just five ingredients, including kojic acid to inhibit melanin production and hyaluronic acid to bind moisture.
- Background: BeautyStat was founded by Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist who spent 20 years creating formulas for brands like Clinique, L’Oréal, Revlon and Avon. After realizing that consumers were more confused than ever, he channelled his experience into creating a results-driven skincare line using premium, scientifically-proven ingredients.
- Editor’s pick: BeautyStat Universal Microbiome Barrier Balancing Cleanser is the brand’s newest product, a fragrance-free foaming cleanser that deep-cleans without stripping your skin’s moisture barrier. It removes dirt, oil makeup and sunscreen in one step, yet is gentle enough for even sensitive skin.
- Background: KNC Beauty began after founder Kristen Noel Crawley fell in love with lip masks on a trip to Tokyo. Upon learning that a natural version did not exist, she was inspired to create her own, and now sells lip balms, lip scrubs and eye masks, too.
- Editor’s pick: KNC Beauty All Natural Collagen-Infused Lip Mask is a gel-textured sheet mask for your lips. (You might’ve seen Emma Stone wearing one on Instagram!) Each mask is infused with collagen, glycerin, hyaluronic acid and algae extract, which plump, hydrate and prime your lips for lip colour in just 15 minutes.
- Background: Golde was launched by Tiffany Mouzon Wofford and her partner with the goal of bringing inclusivity and fun to the wellness space. The company started out with ingestible turmeric latte powders, and has now expanded into all-natural face masks.
- Editor’s pick: Golde Clean Greens Purifying Face Mask transforms from a powder into a creamy gel with a few drops of water. Left on the skin for 15 minutes, the chlorella, spirulina and mango juice work to purify, brighten and reduce inflammation.
- Background: Hyper Skin was started by Desiree Verdejo, who couldn’t find a product to address the acne as well as post-acne hyperpigmentation that she battled while pregnant. After two years of development, she came up with a formula that worked, and now more products are in the pipeline.
- Editor’s pick: Hyper Skin Hyper Even Brightening Dark Spot Vitamin C Serum fades dark spots and prevents breakouts with 15% vitamin C in the form of ethyl ascorbic acid. It’s also high in kojic acid, bearberry and licorice to amplify the brightening effects.
ROSE Ingleton MD
- Background: ROSE Ingleton MD was developed by Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, a dermatologist who has tended to the complexions of Chrissy Teigen and Iman. Her streamlined product system addresses discolourations, fine lines, acne, redness and dehydration, and everything is spiked with her signature Jamaican superfruit blend.
- Editor’s pick: ROSE Ingleton MD Skin Calming Booster is a soothing and moisturizing serum for dehydrated and sensitive skin. Each drop is packed with barrier-supporting niacinamide, moisture-binding hyaluronic acid and calming allantoin; it also has green and white tea extracts to fight free radicals.
- Background: Klur began after esthetician and formulator Lesley Thornton saw a gap in the market for clean skincare products to treat diverse skin conditions and ethnicities. Everything in her minimalistic range is gentle, multi-purpose and sustainably-made.
- Editor’s pick: Klur Supreme Seed Delicate Purification Mask is a purifying mask that all skin types can use weekly. It decongests pores and draws out impurities with kaolin clay and lactic acid, while driving in nutrients such as green tea, Centella Asiatica and provitamin B5.
- Background: After launching her highly successful makeup collection in 2017, Rihanna branched out into skincare three years later with Fenty Skin. The pop superstar’s aim is to offer simple solutions for all skin tones and types, using only clean and cruelty-free ingredients.
- Editor’s pick: Fenty Skin Fat Water Pore-Refining Toner Serum is a two-in-one toner and serum infused with multitasking niacinamide. That means it will brighten dullness, fade dark spots, minimize pores and control shine—all while delivering lightweight hydration.
- Background: Epi.Logic is a high-performance skincare collection from Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, a board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon. Her brand is all about potent, scientifically-proven actives in multitasking formulas that give maximum payoff.
- Editor’s pick: Epi.Logic Double Feature Retinol + AHA Overnight Facial combines retinol, lactic acid, glycolic acid, algae and squalane in a single serum. Despite the multiple actives, it is gentle enough for even sensitive skin, and works to encourage skin cell turnover, minimize fine lines and boost collagen.
- Background: If you’ve been wondering how Pharrell Williams has defied the aging process—he’s 48, but looks a decade or two younger—he’s finally sharing his secrets. He teamed up with his longtime dermatologist, Dr. Elena Jones, to create Humanrace, a line for skin of all types, races and genders.
- Editor’s pick: Humanrace Humidifying Cream is a cushiony moisturizer that mimics the effect of humidity on your skin (minus the sweat and shine). It’s silicone-free and fragrance-free, and hydrates with ingredients like squalane, hyaluronic acid and snow mushroom.
- Background: Epara is a luxury natural skincare line that addresses the unique skin concerns of women of colour, such as hyperpigmentation and dehydration. Everything is based around the African botanical ingredients that worked wonders on founder Ozohu Adoh’s own skin.
- Editor’s pick: Epara Hydrating Serum is a lotion-like serum with hydrating and brightening benefits. It draws in moisture with glycerin and plankton extract, and then locks it in with nourishing marula oil. There’s also licorice extract to help fade pigmentation and sun damage.
Beneath Your Mask
- Background: Beneath Your Mask was born out of Dana Jackson’s battle with lupus and the damage it did to her skin. She set out to handcraft a line of safe, non-toxic and non-irritating products, inspired by her journey of healing and self-acceptance.
- Editor’s pick: Beneath Your Mask Remedy Conditioning Lip Balm is an all-natural lip treatment that goes on like a balm but repairs like a moisturizing mask. The mix of botanical oils and butters includes ximenia oil, a rich African plum oil that is prized for its protective and anti-aging properties.
- Background: Katonya Breaux was frustrated about the lack of clean sunscreen options for women of colour, so she decided to create her own. What began as a formula for her own use soon led to a full-fledged brand, UnSun Cosmetics, that is inclusive of all skin tones.
- Editor’s pick: UnSun Face + Body Highlighter SPF 15 is a tinted face and body highlighter with added mineral sun protection. It comes in two shades, Golden Angel (a shimmery rose gold) and Bronze Goddess (a shimmery bronze), and can be worn alone or mixed with makeup. The 3.5% zinc oxide and 3% titanium dioxide give you an extra boost of SPF when layered over your regular sunscreen.
- Background: Alaffia was started by husband-and-wife team Olowo-n’djo Tchala and Prairie Rose Hyde, who met and fell in love when Hyde was a Peace Corps volunteer in Togo. With the goal of helping to alleviate poverty in Tchala’s native West Africa, the couple built a brand focused on the region’s handcrafted shea butter.
- Editor’s pick: Alaffia Pure Unrefined Shea Butter is made from authentic West African shea butter and nothing else. Its buttery texture makes it ideal as a body moisturizer—or to use anywhere else you get dry patches.
- Background: Urban Hydration grew out of co-founder Psyche Terry’s passion project—helping a local non-profit to raise money by selling handmade clean beauty products. After getting rave reviews from friends and family, she spun the idea into a multi-million dollar brand.
- Editor’s pick: Urban Hydration Bright & Balanced Micellar Facial Cleansing Water with Pure Aloe Vera is a no-rinse micellar water cleanser that removes dirt, oil and makeup. Rather than harsh cleansing agents, it’s infused with natural ingredients like aloe and vitamin E.
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