Jeanine is a Writer, Actor, member SAG/AFTRA, AEA, Podcast host,…
The Black beauty and hair industry is experiencing an exciting renaissance. Now more than ever, Black women are stepping up and taking roles as CEOs for global beauty brands that center Black women while providing color palettes and hair products that work for women of all shades and hair types, from super z formation kinky curls to bone straight tresses. Black women are creating beauty brands that center products without harmful toxins and that focus on skin and hair health.
The holidays are the perfect time to upgrade your beauty products, and Black Girl Nerds has got your back. Here are five of our favorite makeup and hair companies owned by Black women.
Mented Cosmetics are, in a word, fantastic. My favorite item, the foundation stick, has a lovely light consistency, offers full coverage, and is vegan and cruelty-free. Mented Cosmetics’ website and app have a 60-second quiz for the foundation match that is spot on. I love the bronzer, which, when applied with a large brush, gives a lovely golden finish that makes the natural highlights of your skin just glow. The lipstick has a moisturizing quality that feels amazing and makes the lips look simply luscious. The eye shadow palettes have colors that work for everything from work to going out clubbing. This makeup line is high quality and affordable.
Mented also has lovely lovely individual blush, eyeliner, and mascara that all are light and enhance the features naturally. And best of all, Mented Cosmetics products wash off cleanly without residue. If you’re ordering online from Mentedcosmetics.com, there are free returns if you order anything that doesn’t work out.
Mented Cosmetics was founded in 2017 by K.J. Miller and Amanda Johnson. Miller and Johnson met at Harvard Business School, clicked, and decided if they ever came up with a great retail idea, they’d work on it together. Miller and Johnson talked about how the beauty industry left out Black women, which inspired them to create Mented Cosmetics to provide a makeup line with products for all skin shades and tones. I’m happy and grateful they did because Mented Cosmetics is now my favorite makeup brand.
Known by Black people with natural hair in the Houston area for years, Uncle Funky’s Daughter was created in 2009 by Tonya Goff.
According to an interview on NaturallyCurly.com, Uncle Funky’s Daughter was acquired in 2014 by Renee Rhoten Morris. Interesting story, she had been thinking of a career change, stopped by Uncle Funky’s Daughter’s retail store to buy some butter to twist her hair, and ended up chatting to one of the co-owners, Tonya Goff’s husband. The couple was divorcing and thinking of just closing the business, but Rhoten Morris bought the brand. She brought back the original recipes of some of the brand’s most popular products, like the Original Curly Magic Curl Stimulator, and added additional products to the line.
I discovered Uncle Funky’s Daughter when I ran out of hair products in Colorado. My hair was super dry, and when I went to a Walgreens in Denver, there was one travel size Ultimate Curly Girls Kit, which had travel sizes of Midnight Train leave-in conditioner, Curly Magic Curl stimulator, Thirsty Curls Leave in Curl revitalizer, Supercurl Miracle Moisture creme, and extra butter Brilliant shine creme. It was the only travel size of Black hair products in the drugstore, so I bought it. I was not disappointed. Every single product smells divine, and my parched hair just drank the conditioners and butters in and felt satisfied, leaving my hair feeling soft and supple.
You can find Uncle Funky’s Daughter on Amazon and in various drug stores nationally, but I love buying online directly from Unclefunkysdaughter.com. Prices are a little bit lower on the website; you can get special discounts and several travel-sized gift packs of various products from each line. Uncle Funky’s Daughter has products that work for all hair textures.
Black Opal cosmetics has been bought by Desiree Rogers and Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and has been rebranded BLK/OPL. Rogers and McKissack are co-owners of the iconic brand.
First, let’s talk about BLK/OPL. I love that after 25 years of non-Black ownership, Black Opal was acquired by two Black female CEOs. The rebrand is fire. Not only does BLK/OPL have a full makeup line that is cruelty-free and dermatologist-approved, and it also has a skincare line. The blemish control cleansing bar, pore-refining toners, gels, and even skin-plumping products are all available for under $15. BLK/OPL’s makeup line is affordable and has a diverse palette of colors that work for the spectrum of skin types. This line is perfect for anyone who wants quality makeup and skincare for an affordable price.
Rogers and Mayberry McKissack are brilliant co-owners with decades of combined experience in the Black beauty industry. When they bought Fashion Fair, they were compelled to bring together a team to meet the needs of consumers in the 21st century. Fashion Fair is now completely vegan and cruelty-free. Fashion Fair’s price point is slightly higher than BLK/OPL, and all of the iconic colors our mothers and grandmothers wore are back. Fashion Fair makeup has been upgraded and feels majestic, even better than the original brand, and worth the price if your budget allows it.
Nourish & Shine and Curls to Go
Nourish & Shine is the haircare line formerly known as Jane Carter Solution. This brand is worth looking for. No drying parabens and sulfate- and cruelty-free, Nourish & Shine is a natural hair and skincare line that will make your tresses look and feel amazing.
The Curls to Go line works well with tightly coiled curls. Just a tiny amount will moisturize your entire scalp. Favorite products include Restorative butter, which smells like hair heaven, and the super-rich curl cocktail styling cream. A little bit goes a long way with these products, leaving your hair feeling silky, light, and nourished.
This holiday season treat yourself to the gift of beauty while supporting these fab five Black female owned businesses.
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Jeanine is a Writer, Actor, member SAG/AFTRA, AEA, Podcast host, Producer, CEO VisAbleBlackWoman Productions, Certified Health Coach and Conscious Dance facilitator. Jeanine's mission, centering Black women's stories to preserve our legacies.