The Best Makeup Brands Created Specifically For Women Of Color
by Alexis Puebla
For too long “nude” lipstick and concealer meant “nude… for white women.” Thankfully, women from diverse backgrounds have fought for their place in the beauty industry, helping boost variety in makeup for women of color. From brands with more than 40 shades of foundation to companies that make blushes and highlighters that don’t wash you out, these are our picks for the best makeup brands designed for—and by—people of color.
Founded in 1994, Black Opal became the first technologically advanced, doctor-recommended, mass market skincare line for women of color. It was inspired by the allure of the unique pigments of brown and black skin, and it is a celebration of all shades of beauty. Media and pop culture adore Black Opal and consider it the absolute best makeup line for people of color. Just ask Hollywood, as this brand has been on the set of major movies like Think Like A Man and Almost Christmas. We’re ready for our closeup!
black | Up
Designed by and for women of color, the French beauty brand black | Up tailors to the unique needs of darker skin tones. Created for the woman who is proud of her culture and extraordinary beauty, the black | Up cosmetics will keep you shimmering and shining all day long. Own your true beauty with the velvety, matte, and powdery finishes this makeup line has to offer.
Available at most major retailers, IMAN Cosmetics is a beauty company that creates makeup and skincare designed for women of all different types of skin tones. The brand was created by iconic supermodel Iman as a response to her frustrations in finding her own identity in her long career in beauty and fashion. We’re always trying to master the looks of a supermodel, so this brand is definitely at the top of our list.
Aimed at increasing the amount of makeup choices for women with deeper complexions, koyVoca is a beauty brand that is curated especially for you upon your order. Cool, right? Specializing in providing that au-natural look we all long to master, the koyVoca products are easy and lightweight, making them an essential brand to keep on hand for those busy days followed by long nights.
Also, bonus points for the fact that it’s cruelty-free, which is something we can all get behind, right?!
Fashion Fair Cosmetics
Deeply rooted within the African-American experience, the Fashion Fair Cosmetics line doesn’t just stop at makeup. After expanding to address other beauty needs for WOC, such as fragrance and hair care products, Fashion Fair is paving the way for luxury beauty brands around six different countries. With a tagline like, “Unapologetically bold, unabashedly beautiful,” you know you’re in good hands.
Shea Moisture Cosmetics
After its highly successful hair and body products rose to fame, Shea Moisture created a cosmetics line designed to be gentle on skin while giving total coverage. As a natural, organic, and sustainably-produced company, we give this brand five stars. Offering tons of different shades of blush, foundations, lipsticks and more—Shea Moisture is a brand we’re totally loving right now.
Beauty Bakerie Cosmetics
Calling all the #GirlBosses! This beauty brand was founded by single mother and breast cancer survivor Cashmere Nicole, and we’ve never been more inspired. Nicole was committed to creating a brand that showed women of all colors that having a sugary sweet outlook on beauty is just as compelling as being the bad girl. Offering super adorable packaging and promos, Beauty Bakerie is one of our new favorite brands.
Mexican-American creator Reina Rebelde proudly embraces the duality of her Latina identity and heritage in her self-titled beauty brand. Fully understanding the power of a great red lipstick or a classic eyeliner, this makeup brand will highlight all of your unique beauty traits—not hide them.
Created by another supermodel (okay, we’re listening), Keyshia Ka’oir, KA’OIR Cosmetics is a bright and fun cosmetic line made to complement the boldest women on their daily adventures—even if those adventures are just heading to the office. The brand is predominantly focusing on lipsticks, which have a satin and matte base that’s silky smooth, providing an all-day lasting color that is made for the girl who isn’t afraid to take a risk.
Predominately known for her roles on Latino Television, Gaby Espino has created a lipstick line meant for women who are known to stand out. Offering a mix of matte, gloss, and LL-Cream lipsticks and liners, there is something for everyone—or at least, something for the girl who’s bold enough to wear purple shiny gloss to the grocery store. Are you up for the challenge?
Black Radiance Beauty
Black Radiance is a cosmetics line offering skincare products, eyeshadows and liners, and lip shades aimed at meeting the needs of different skin types such as dry, oily, and sensitive—not just different skin colors. Celebrating all it means to be a woman of color, the brand strives to be the No. 1 trusted expert when it comes to beauty, and it surely doesn’t disappoint.
Laws of Nature Cosmetics
Inspired by her mother’s breast cancer diagnosis, Laws of Nature founder and CEO Jasmine Rose found a substantial amount of evidence linking certain chemicals found in cosmetics to environmental factors of breast cancer. Flash forward a number of years, and Rose created her own foundation formula for dark and sensitive skin that includes only natural minerals to help promote healthy living. Who knew you could carry out your healthy lifestyle even to your makeup?
Specializing in drool-worthy eyeshadow palettes, Juvia’s Place Cosmetics is a brand that does not mess around. Offering vibrant shades inspired by Caribbean islands, the Sahara Desert, and more, the colors within the different eyeshadows and blushes alike are bold enough to have heads turning all night long.
One word: Rihanna. This yet-to-be released beauty line is dropping very soon, and we can hardly wait. It was just announced that Fenty Beauty’s foundation collection will include a whopping 40 different shades, and we are living for the endless teasers on Instagram and Twitter. We don’t want to pick a favorite beauty brand… but is it allowed to pick one that hasn’t even been released yet? We vote yes.
Sacha Cosmetics celebrates multicultural backgrounds across the globe. With amazing products in all makeup categories, the cosmetic line truly flatters any complexion. The brand’s top-seller, Buttercup Powder, is a face powder that eliminates any unwanted ashiness and has earned its top spot for being one of the most blogged about beauty products. Add us to the list, because we are totally smitten!