Fact: Diversity is one of the most talked-about topics in the beauty universe, especially after global racial-justice movements amplified the conversation.
And if we’re all honest with ourselves, this conversation is imperative because, for the longest time, the skin, hair, and wellness needs of Black women were simply an afterthought when it comes to shade inclusion and ingredient innovations.
Thankfully, we’ve started to see a shift in brands’ perspective, direction and inclusivity.
Difficult conversations are taking place, and now almost every skincare, makeup, fashion, and wellness line is slowly stepping up to ensure people of color’s needs are met.
In that same spirit, we decided to champion inclusivity by celebrating some Black Women icons using their voice and space to usher in the changes we’ve always wanted to see. Each of these phenomenal women has made an indisputable impact and revolutionized beauty for the better.
Self-taught beauty mogul Pat McGrath has been shaping the beauty industry for decades, conceptualizing makeup looks for every red carpet event, runway show or magazine.
She’s also significantly contributed to major corporate brands such as Dolce & Gabanna and Giorgio Armani.
Even Vogue’s Anna Wintour proclaimed Pat the most influential makeup artist in the world.
In short, Pat McGrath is the most renowned makeup mogul in the beauty sphere today.
And thanks to her line of innovative and highly-inclusive cosmetics products, Pat will surely retain that title for another decade or two (hell, a whole century). We surely can’t wait to see what she does next!
This force of a woman is no newcomer to the beauty universe. In fact, she made her first debut at the tender age of five.
During her childhood visits to West Virginia, Nancy spent time as sous-chef to her nana, the town’s resident beauty doctor, making her coveted haircare products.
After moving to New York to trade out her homemade hair elixirs, she quickly realized that there was a need for natural haircare products – since the industry didn’t really cater to African-American hair types.
Armed with her East-Village studio apartment, her grandma’s beauty recipes, and a brilliant team of natural hair products chemists, Nancy launched Brigeo.
Yes! That’s how the cult-favorite haircare brand came to be. And since its launch, Brigeo has taken beauty back to the basics with its unmatched products and natural approach to hair care.
Suppose you haven’t tried some of their products.
In that case, we recommend you start with the Scalp Revival Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo ($42), which strikes a perfect balance between making your scalp feel refreshed and not being too gritty to use, thanks to its ingredient-rich and super-hydrating formula.
Their Farewell Frizz Milk Leave-In Conditioner ($22) is equally good.
Somali supermodel and beauty mogul Iman is one of the most phenomenal women in the world.
Apart from playing muse to Yves Saint Laurent and Gianni Versace, Iman is also an ardent activist, philanthropist, and founder of the luxurious makeup brand Iman Cosmetics (one of the first cosmetics brands to cater to the BIPOC community).
Today, you can find its wide range of complexion staples such as BB creams, foundations, and pressed powders at Target.
In her former years, Sharon Chuter worked as a corporate executive for LVHM and with million-dollar beauty brands such as Benefit Cosmetics, L’Oréal, and Revlon.
But, all the while, Sharon dreamed of achieving something greater – building a brand that fully represented and catered to women of color. And thus, Uoma Beauty was born.
The beauty brand is a highly inclusive makeup brand that vivaciously champions diversity and individuality. If you’re unfamiliar with Uoma Beauty, the brand provides a full gamut of products designed for beginners and experts.
You’ll get everything from eyeliner, eye shadow palettes, foundation, false lashes, and lipsticks – which are available in a whopping 51 shades.
Rihanna – Robyn Fenty
This Queens needs no introduction – for years, she gave us chart-topping bops, unmatched style steals, and in 2017, she decided to revolutionize the beauty industry with a 40-foundation shades brand.
Since then, the global icon and billionaire has turned Fenty Beauty (and Fenty Skin!) into an internationally loved brand centered on quality, inclusivity and creativity.
Before launching Klur, an eco-inclusive skincare brand formulated using sustainable botanicals, Ms Thornton worked as a makeup artist for billion-dollar beauty brands.
She then got into advertising and TV before becoming a certified beauty therapist, which allowed her to focus on skincare edification and product development.
In a recent interview with Byrdie, the beauty educator said she got the inspiration for Klur from a decade-long experience of feeling invisible and unappreciated in the clean beauty space.
“Clean-luxury brands are notoriously un-inclusive and don’t concern themselves with the needs of people of color. So, Klur is my re-imagined vision of what a community-driven sustainable luxury brand should be.”
Today, the luxury skincare line provides Black and other people of color everything from clarifying face masks, firming body oils, spot-clearing serums, and more. We love the brand’s Stellar Restorative Corrective Serum ($110). It works wonders on breakout-prone skin.
Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys is more than a record-breaking artist, pianist, and activist. The award-winning star is now a wellness guru and an avid supporter of the Makeup-Free Movement, an initiative focused on celebrating everyone’s natural beauty.
And while she clarifies she’s not anti-foundation and eyeliner, it truly is inspiring to see a phenomenal woman show off her bare face and represent natural beauty with such tenacity.
Alicia also uses her platform to provide young queens something to look up to, appearing on magazine covers and interviews sans makeup and thus spearheading a message of honesty and rawness in the beauty universe.
With the launching of Black Girl Sunscreen in 2016, Shontay set out to give people of color a sunscreen they could confidently slather on – and dismantle the myth that Black doesn’t crack, of course (it cracks without SPF!)
She created an oxybenzone and parabens-free (two highly debated ingredients in the skincare zeitgeist) formula that vigorously protects the skin without leaving a ghostly residue on melanated customers. And just after five years in business, Black Girl Sunscreen is now one of the most sought-after sunscreens on the market.
Oh, it’s also available at Target!
Ms Price launched the beauty brand Carol’s Daughter in her kitchen in 1993. Since then, the firm has gained international loyalty and become one of the most renowned natural haircare brands.
The haircare line is also one of the first African-American woman-owned brands to have a flagship store and premier shelf space in over ten department stores.