Long before 40 shades became the gold standard and historically white-centric brands touted inclusivity and diversity, Black women were the only ones meeting the oft-overlooked needs of our community. They were the only ones with shade ranges, cast-free sunscreens, and a catalog to define “nude.” We must continue to strive for diversity and inclusivity within the beauty industry and support the companies by us and for us who are doing the tireless work to spotlight, enrich, and highlight all that is wonderfully Black and beautiful.
Keep scrolling for 33 skincare brands to shop—all owned by Black women.
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We love a brand with a clear mission, and Luv Scrub has not veered off course since it launched a few years ago. These mesh wash clothes shake up everything you thought you knew about exfoliating in the shower. Each one is long enough to slough even tough-to-reach places like your back, and comes in an assortment of gorgeous colors to match any bathroom scheme.
Editor’s Pick: Mesh Body Exfoliator, Naked Sunset, $18
Three Ghanaian sisters, one of whom is a dermatologist, created Karité (French for “shea butter”) with, you guessed it, shea butter as its hero ingredient. The moisture-rich formulas look to high concentrations of raw ingredients to help heal and moisturize skin. The family oversees all oil sourcing for its product to prevent deforestation or harm to the animals in West Africa.
Editor’s Pick: Crème Mains Karité Shea Butter, $36
Certified aromatherapist Denise LaPalm founded L’Beauxtique to help us destress. The brand’s two-product lineup taps specialized blends of essential oils to help calm the mind, body, and spirit.
Editor’s Pick: Evening Body Serum, $69
Absolute Joi was birthed by pediatrician Anne Beal who created the line to help soothe her daughters’ skin breakouts. Specifically made to target concerns that taunt skin of color, Absolute Joi offers a complete range of products including cleansers, a toner, retinol, and sunscreen.
Editor’s Pick: Hydrating Gel Foam Cleanser, $37
The goal of Tsuri is to make self-care more than just an occasional practice. Founder Ashli Goudelock has a background in product formulation and created the range to deliver a spa-like experience without harsh ingredients like synthetic fragrances, colorants, and sulfates.
Editor’s Pick: Cashmere + Vanilla Body Oil Bar, $30
Newly launched company Kitini is all about a glow-up. The baby brand just launched in 2022 with four face oils, all made with minimal but potent ingredients pulled straight from founder Katini Yamaoka’s Japanese, African, and Australian roots.
Editor’s Pick: Clarity Face Oil, $95
Founder Katonya Breaux, like many Black people, was often left disappointed by the dearth of clean sunscreen products for our skin. Breaux created Unsun in 2016 to provide often overlooked skin tones with clean, non-toxic, and non-ashy sunscreen.
Editor’s Pick: Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen In “Medium/Dark”, $29
Esthetician to some of your favorite stars (Shay Mitchell, Kelly Rowland, Jessica Alba), Shani Darden delivers results—and her products are no different. From the cult-favorite Retinl Reform to the Face Sculpting Tool, Shani Darden Skincare provides simple but effective products that give us our healthiest skin possible.
Editor’s Pick: Retinol Reform, $88
As the name suggests, Buttah Skin’s products leave your skin feeling as soft as butter. Founded in 2018 by Dorion Renaud, Buttah Skin is built around shea butter to nourish your skin while proving feel-good ingredients for healthy, glowing skin.
Editor’s Pick: Buttah Vibe + Cleanse Kit, $50
Created for Black women, by Black women, Bolden is the skin savior you never knew you needed. One common skincare struggle Black women face is hyperpigmentation, which is why founders Ndidi Obidoa and Chinelo Chidozie created products that brighten skin and face hyperpigmentation.
Editor’s Pick: Bolden Clear Skin Kit, $89
Skincare shouldn’t be complicated. Fed up with the beauty industry’s lack of innovation and skincare products catering to Black skin, Jamika Martin found a way to simplify your routine. Enter: Rosen, a skincare brand with fun, targeted products that work for all skin tones and textures.
Editor’s Pick: Tropics Toner, $18
Inspired by her childhood growing up in Nigeria, Tegbe launched 54 Thrones to explore the beauty and authenticity of Africa culture and beauty secrets.
Editor’s Pick: Osun African Beauty Mist, $42
Ayele & Co.
Licensed esthetician and makeup artist Danielle Bahi started Ayele & Co., formerly known as Bahi Cosmetics, from her college dorm room at the tender age of 21. Although the Ivory Coast native created the brand to provide affordable, plant-based skincare for all, it’s especially popular among acne-prone individuals for its cult favorite Sunflower Sweets Serum. The Before and Afters speak for themselves.
Editor’s Pick: Sunflower Sweets Serum, $17
While pregnant with her daughter, Desiree Verdejo struggled to reduce extensive hyperpigmentation caused by a bout of hormonal acne. Unable to find a product that performed, she created her own solution with a vitamin C serum infused with kojic acid, turmeric, and bearberry.
Editor’s Pick: Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum, $36
Blk + Grn is a mecca for black-owned products for skin, body, makeup, and hair. This one-stop shop only houses clean, toxic-free beauty products to ensure whatever product touches your body is the best of the best—like Marla Rene’s Micellar Cleansing Water. Doubling as a makeup remover and cleanser, it’s formulated with cucumber, vitamin B5, and calendula to restore hydration to dry, damaged skin.
Editor’s Pick: Marla Rene Micellar Cucumber Aloe Facial Cleansing Water, $22
Oui the People
Karen Young, founder of Oui the People, was forbidden from reading beauty magazines growing up. Why? She thinks her mother felt their content showcased a damaging ideal of beauty. Oui the People is dedicated to producing bodycare with mindful messaging that rejects perfection and champions individuality.
Editor’s Pick: Hydrating Body Gloss, $65
Black Girl Sunscreen
Shontay Lundy changed the sunscreen game for women of color by creating a non-white cast formula infused with nurturing avocado oil and jojoba oils, cacao, and carrot juice.
Editor’s Pick: Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, $19
If you’ve been following model Tatiana Elizabeth Price, you’ll notice girl loves a sun-kissed vacation glow. That’s all her body care brand Skin Buttr. Free of any harmful ingredients, Skin Buttrs’ body butters use whipped shea at the base to nourish and condition the skin. Oh, and the Gingr Lemon scrub smells DIVINE.
Editor’s Pick: Gingr Lemon Scrub, $8-25
Founder Niambi Cacchioli founded Pholk with a mission to harness the African Diaspora’s beauty traditions into a plant-based skincare brand that celebrates women of color.
Editor’s Pick: Glow Replenishing Face Wash, $2o
Hanahana ethically sources its shea butter-based products from the Katariga Women in Tamale, Ghana.
Editor’s Pick: Vanilla Lavender Shea Body Butter, $7
New York-based skincare brand Aba Love creates handcrafted botanical products perfect for the green beauty lover. The aromatic goods are free of synthetic fragrances and parabens, instead boosted with seed, plant, and floral oils.
Editor’s Pick: Aba Love Flower Crown Facial Serum, $21
Nyakio Kamoche Grieco started her namesake skincare line, Nyakio, in response to the lack of beauty products using ingredients from her homeland of Kenya, like Mafura oil. Her line is also full of ingredients from around the world, like Maracuja oil and Yangu that work to hydrate dry skin.
Editor’s Pick: Maracuja & Yangu Rescue Oil, $40
Using clean, simple ingredients, Kaike aims to address the complex skincare issues Black people endure daily. Dry skin or hair? Kaike’s signature Frosting is a creamy cocktail of mango butter, coconut oil, apricot kernel oil, and more. Chapped lips? Not with Kaike’s Lip Frosting, which softens the skin with castor oil, mango butter, and coconut oil. Ashy who?
Editor’s Pick: Kaike Marshmallow Mask + Scrub, $20
Anne’s Apothecary’s philosophy is “what you put on your skin should be safe enough to eat”—so you better believe the ingredients are pure. The products, created in North Carolina, are handcrafted in small batches with a focus on herbs and essential oils. You can shop everything from body scrubs and cleansers, to deodorant.
Editor’s Pick: Anne’s Apothecary Black Honey Facial Cleanser, $10
Kristen Noel Crowley, influencer, mom, and former ELLE contributor, launched her beauty brand three years ago with a collection that includes lip and eye masks as well as lip scrubs and balm.
Editor’s Pick: Collagen-Infused Lip Masks, set of five for $25
Elle Johnson is all about no-fuss, easy-to-follow botanical skincare starting with the “Clear 3,” a skincare system of 1) cleansing lotion (yes, lotion), 2) toner, and 3) moisturizer. It doesn’t hurt that Johnson, who used to work in branding, has gorgeous Insta-ready packaging.
Editor’s Pick: Elle Johnson Cleansing Lotion, $18; ellejohnson.co
All-natural skincare line Base Butter is on a mission to challenge the depiction of Black women in media. Partly inspired by founder She’Neil Johnson’s own struggles with acne, the line includes a moisturizing facial “jelly” and body cream.
Editor’s Pick: Base Butter Radiate Face Jelly, $27
Beija Flor Naturals
This organic California-made skincare line was founded by Stevonne Ratliff, who created it to address her own hyper pigmentation and skin frustrations. Her botanical products include scrubs, lotions, and bar soaps all inspired by Brazil.
Editor’s Pick: Beija Flor Naturals Acai Mango Lotion, $20
Blade + Bloom
Blade + Bloom’s eco-conscious goods are handmade in Chicago with a focus on 100-percent plant-based skincare and candles. All feature delicious scents (the “Charming I’m Sure” soap apparently smells like “the secret ingredient in your boyfriend’s cologne”), and the no-nonsense packaging is recyclable.
Editor’s Pick: Blade + Bloom Rich Cleansing Bar in Charming, I’m Sure, $12
Elements of Aliel
Elements of Aliel is all about minimalism and nontoxic skincare. The vegan face and body products range from serums to clay masks to balms.
Editor’s Pick: Elements of Aliel Rose Balm, $32
This organic line promises to help you “slay, naturally.” Cleansers, mists, masks, toners, and even “beauty boosters” contain tiny, concentrated doses of antioxidants and other good-for-skin ingredients.
Editor’s Pick: Jacqs Revitalizing Face Toner, $19
True Moringa started as a project to explore alternatives to chemical hair relaxers and cosmetics, and has since expanded to skincare. The facial oils, scrubs, and balms contain moringa, a green plant rich in fatty acids, antioxidants, and other skin-quenching ingredients.
Editor’s Pick: True Moringa Lavender Facial Oil, $26
Mary Louise Cosmetics
Growing up, Akilah Releford watched her grandmothers Louise and Mary turn natural ingredients from their kitchen into skin-saving remedies. Releford named her skincare brand, Mary Louise, after her inspirations, and continues their legacy with organic, natural products formulated with essential oils accessible to everyone.
Editor’s Pick: Turmeric Facial Serum, $35
Beauty Commerce Editor
Nerisha is the beauty commerce editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music).
Kristina Rodulfo is the Beauty Director of Women’s Health—she oversees beauty coverage across print and digital and is an expert in product testing, identifying trends, and exploring the intersections of beauty, wellness, and culture.
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