9 Black-owned brands reshaping the beauty industry

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Although the sunscreen market may be relatively untapped when it comes to formulations made for people of color, Black-owned beauty brands creating products for Black people, people of color, and a range of complexions and hair types have been ubiquitous.

They’ve thrived for decades thanks to Madam C.J. Walker, Fashion Fair Cosmetics and newer brands such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and upcoming Fenty Skin lines.

As the death of George Floyd has awakened a new civil rights movement, Black-owned beauty entrepreneurs say they’ve seen an increase in sales. Some products are in such high demand that they are back-ordered and available only for presale.


“Noticeable is an understatement,” says Katonya Breaux, founder of cosmetics label Unsun, about the uptick in orders she has received in recent weeks.

Katonya Breaux, the mother of singer Frank Ocean, and other entrepreneurs had a hard time finding sunscreen for darker skin. Their solution was to create their own products to fill the void in the left in the sun-care aisle.

July 16, 2020

Shontay Lundy, creator of Black Girl Sunscreen, which is carried at more than 200 Target stores in the U.S., also has seen a significant surge in orders. She calls the moment bittersweet. “We’ve always celebrated Blackness and who we are,” she says. “Black and women of color have been doing amazing things for years, and now the attention is coming.”

Sustaining the momentum so that Black-owned beauty brands remain on the collective radar beyond this moment means becoming more aware of the robust offerings, which include skincare, makeup, and body and grooming products.


This clean beauty brand is based on founder Nyakio Kamoche Grieco’s family traditions and beauty lessons taught to her by her grandmother. (Example: exfoliating with crushed coffee beans.) Now available exclusively at Target, the line includes face oils, cleansers and creams created with global beauty practices in mind. Baobab, marula and sweet almond oil are some star ingredients.



The Ceylon skincare brand, founded by Patrick Boateng, was formulated specifically for men of color and focuses on issues that affect skin with higher melanin content, namely acne scarring, razor bumps, eczema and hyperpigmentation.

Oui the People

Creating a new take on the standard razor, Oui the People, founded by Karen Young, makes premium quality razors for sensitive skin, along with body oils, shave gel and bikini-line sheet masks.

Junie Bees Butta

Based in Los Angeles, the Junie Bees Butta brand was started by Jennifer P. Archie, a mother trying to treat her baby’s eczema. She began learning about oils and butters and created a formula now used by babies and adults for moisturizing and healing.



Founded by Sharon Chuter, a former LVMH and L’Oréal beauty executive, Uoma (pronounced “uh-mah”) is a line of inclusive makeup including eyeshadow palettes, lip products, contour sticks and more than 50 shades of foundation.


After spending nearly a decade working on Wall Street, Briogeo founder Nancy Twine started a clean haircare line using her grandmother’s beauty recipes. The Briogeo line is known for its effective scalp-cleansing products as well as items to improve overall hair health.


Co-created by Susan Edwards, a Chicago native who lived in Kenya and Liberia for eight years, Uhai products are made from powerful botanics and superfoods sourced from Africa. This haircare line includes a scalp serum, edge gel, and moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner.



A natural skincare line founded by artist and entrepreneur Tabi Bonney, Itadi uses ingredients sourced from family-owned farms in Togo, West Africa. A star ingredient in the line, which consists of toner, moisturizer and face wash, is coffee berry, which contains high levels of antioxidants and can help boost the body’s natural production of collagen as well as aid in lessening inflammation.


Kanti, a new brand targeted toward millennials, offers an initial product, Likuid Gold Luxury Glo Oil, made with pure baobab oil and 24-karat gold. The brand, founded by Alisha Ricki and Keamone F., focuses on diverse skin types. The product is said to moisturize, brighten and smooth skin and address hyperpigmentation and uneven texture.