Clean Beauty Brands for Women of Color
We believe skin our skin should be celebrated. From creamy caramel to dark chocolate, and all the amazing shades in between. Culturally, our complexions have been both quietly and overtly looked down upon. From countless companies claiming "nude" is a pale pink color to drugstores not carrying any shades suitable for dark skin.
We've come a long way, and companies like Fenty Beauty have made it clear that inclusivity is one of the foundational tenants of their brand. However, "clean" beauty products can still be elusive for women of color actually reading the labels on their cosmetics. (*Disclaimer: We love basically everything Rihanna does including Fenty Beauty. It's an incredible step forward for women of color to be not only recognized, but celebrated by a mainstream beauty brand. However, Fenty Beauty products still contain chemicals recognized by the Environmental Working Group as unsafe so at this time we can't recommend them to our community).
We're hoping Fenty Beauty's success will help pave the way for more brands to expand their ranges to truly include women of color. There are still too many "universally flattering" products that appear chalky on women with darker skin tones—especially in the clean beauty world.
The underlying message we hear behind masked language of “universal” or “nude” is clear: “This isn’t for you.” This subtlety goes way beyond makeup and into the history of the damaging and unconscious endorsement of European beauty standards.
Because of this we're shining the light on some relatively unknown brands designed specifically for women of color that are free from harmful chemicals and actually good for your skin. Many of these companies are black-owned and female-owned as well.
The next time you need to replace your cosmetics, consider voting with your dollar and supporting the community instead of buying into mainstream brands.
Check out our picks below and let us know what you think.
Laws of Nature has been featured in Essence, BET, Bustle, Fader Magazine, The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Popsugar, etc., and was created by Jasmine Rose in 2015. After being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2007, Rose researched the disease and found strong links between it and chemicals in cosmetics like parabens, mercury, lead, and talc. She decided to transition into an all-natural lifestyle to reduce her exposure to toxic chemicals found in cosmetics, hair products, cleaning agents, etc. During the process of adopting a "clean" lifestyle, she ran into problems finding beauty products for her skin tone that fit her criteria. Believing other women of color shared the same struggle, she decided to launch Laws of Nature in 2015.
All products formulated for Laws of Nature are free from all harmful chemicals and only contain plant-derived preservatives. They also include skin boosting ingredients like moisture rich organic hydrosols, organic shea butter, kaolin clay, rosemary seed extract, and more.
Laws of Nature carries a skin-loving liquid foundation in a matte and satin finish, a cream-to-powder pressed foundation, a foundation stick, and a loose mineral foundation in addition to a translucent setting powder in 6 shades. All foundations can be found in 22 different shades ranging cool pinks to deep espresso.
They also include an option to complete an online consultation to find your perfect shade which allows you to submit photos, your current makeup brand and shade, and any skin concerns to help you find your best match.
All of Alima Pure's products are free from parabens, sulfates, phthalates, dimethicone, petroleum, talc, bismuth oxychloride, and nanoparticles and are never tested on animals. They also feature recyclable packaging. Though not marketed specifically to women of color, their loose mineral foundation range includes 45 different shades. Not a huge win if you prefer liquid foundation (which is only featured in 10 shades), but a great start.
Their formulations include skin-loving ingredients like aloe vera leaf extract, mango seed oil, argan oil, pomegranate seed oil, and many others.
A huge plus for this brand is their option to find your perfect foundation shade with a range of 10 samples, a kabuki brush, and $10 off a full-size foundation purchase all for $24.
Black Minerals is another brand created for women of color, by women of color. Featured in O Magazine, Essence, and Hype Hair.com, their products are free from phtalates, parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, petroleum and other toxic ingredients you don't actually want on your skin.
Founder Merced Boyce has made it the companies mission to cater to women of color by providing them clean, quality products in a wide range of skin tones. Their loose mineral foundation comes in 15 shades and there's also an option to create a custom 50/50 blend of two of their foundation shades if you fall somewhere in between. There's no liquid foundation option with Blac Minerals, but they do have some other nice choices for lips and cheeks as well as bundle sets to let you try out multiple products for a bit less than full price.