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5 Beauty Companies Made By (And For) Women Of Color

by Rebekah Carey

Like most things, having a product that is made by those it’s designed/created for is always ideal. Anyone that’s been in a drugstore has likely noted the bevy of tones in the lighter gradient being in stark contrast to the handful of shades available at the opposite end of the spectrum. Grocery store chains may often only carry one or two haircare brands that are made for people of color, and any other options are often from companies that have existed for decades and have only recently “branched out” into carrying a line or two that are marketed towards women of color.

Everyone deserves thoughtful products that are made with knowledge and experience behind them — products that they actually need, and that they know will work. Historically, women with darker skin tones have not been offered the same variety of products that exist for white women. Alternatively, there are individuals and companies that are determined to provide better and more representation, to inspire women of color and their beauty needs, and provide individualized products that are made for them. (We’d love to know your favorite beauty products and companies that design for all ranges of skin tones in the comments section!) —Rebekah

Image above: via BASEBUTTER

The first company we’re highlighting is Hanahana Beauty, which creates all-natural skincare that is dedicated to uplifting and celebrating the stories of women of color. In addition to the amazing products they sell, they’re also working on a new project called “The Process,” where they’re hoping to create an additional platform that’s all about giving women a place to share their stories and experiences. Right now they’re working on sharing the stories of women in Ghana who are a part of the West African Shea Butter production that can be found in beauty products around the world — yet they’re rarely accompanied with the knowledge about the process of where it comes from, and who makes these products possible.

NUHANCIAM is a French skincare company for “tan to dark skin tones.” They have products for skin concerns specifically for darker complected people. The company was co-founded by Muriel Berradia, a woman of Indian origin who found her own need in the lacking availability of high-quality products that could meet her skin needs.

BASEBUTTER is an all-natural beauty company that is all about highlighting your natural beauty safely and supportively. They currently have four products available for pre-order (to ship by November 20th) “Love” (a whipped body cream), “Radiate” (hydrating face gel), “Glow” (shimmer stick), and “Shine” (moisture stick). All of them are vegan, for all skin types, non-irritating, and they’re proud to never use parabens, phthalates, petroleum, synthetic dye, sulfates, mineral oil, phenoxyethanol, propylene glycol, edta, artificial dyes, triclosan, or PEG.

Black Opal is a company that has been around for over 20 years, and found instant recognition after launching in 1994 in an industry that had even fewer options. Black Opal can now be found all around the world, with makeup and skin products that offer solutions for hyperpigmentation, oil-control, shade matching and more.

koyVoca, founded by Courtney Coates, is a reasonably priced, cruelty-free, highly pigmented makeup line that is made to order. Created to work with a “no makeup” look or bolder styles, they have both samples and a comparison chart that makes finding your shade even simpler.

While Fenty Beauty’s ethos is that it’s makeup made for every tone, it came out of a need for more variety of colors for darker skin tones. Rihanna, or Robyn Rihanna Fenty, created Fenty Beauty because she herself was finding a lack of products that worked across skin tones and for “traditionally hard to match” skin tones.

Brown Girl Swatches isn’t a beauty company, but we wanted to include them because they’re an incredible resource for makeup lovers. Have you noticed how popular arm swatches have become on Instagram and Pinterest? If you’re not familiar, that’s where an outstretched forearm displays different shades of lipstick, foundations, blushes or eye shadows typically from a palette. So many of the wide variety of shades they’re displaying are often shown on a white arm, which isn’t particularly helpful when you’re trying to see how the shades would look on you if you have a darker complexion. Luckily, Asea created Brown Girl Swatches so that more people could see how makeup actually looks on them.

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