Author: MMM Team
28 Nov 2020
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have shocked us, and the world, deeply, leading us to reflect on the ways in which we can support black people. Unfortunately, the cruelty and racism shown to black people is not isolated to America – Australia has its own long, brutal history of racism which is still present today.
The beauty industry is notorious for being dismissive and exclusionary towards black people and other people of colour, so we believe it is important to highlight some beauty brands created and owned by Indigenous Australians as well as black people around the world. For decades, non-inclusive brands have profited off black culture and creativity, so in publishing some of the amazing work by pioneers in the beauty industry, we hope to pay credit where it is due.
Bush Medijina is a sustainable indigenous brand that specialises in handmade balms, masks, soaps and hair products.
According to their website, “Groote Eylandt communities suffer from the effects of poor health and life expectancy, low school attendance, low employment and safety standards, and high rates of crime and domestic violence. In response to this, Anindilyakwa Services Aboriginal Corporation (ASAC) introduced the Bush Medijina program to strengthen values, knowledge, culture, and community wellbeing.”
80% of their board are Indigenous women, and they use the knowledge passed down through the generations to harvest skin loving native botanicals while adding their own modern twist onto it to create beautiful products.
Bush Balm is run by Purple House, an Indigenous owned health service that runs 18 remote dialysis clinics around Australia. The brand was created when Indigenous people, forced to leave their communities for treatment, missed the traditional bush remedies of home. They harvest medicinal plants that have been used for generations to treat muscle pain, aches, and skin conditions.
Through this social enterprise, there are opportunities for dialysis patients and their families to gain employment through the production of the products. Bush Balm also hosts workshops, teaching about traditional practices and culture while teaching them to make the balms.
Although Indigiearth began as a company selling native food, the company now offers an all-natural skin care line. It is 100% Indigenous owned, with its creator winning multiple awards, including being the first indigenous person to win the NSW Business Leader of the Year in 2013.
They aim to use “wild harvesting where possible – our raw native fruits, produce and materials are purchased from Aboriginal communities across the country ensuring that employment, income and education remain within the community.”
The owner, Sharon Windsor, has helped to create business enterprises and wild harvesting in indigenous communities which she then purchases products through.
Beauty Bakerie is a US based cruelty free makeup brand that offers a range of vegan products too. The adorably packed products range from brushes to foundations.
As a teenage mother who then developed breast cancer, creator Cashmere Nicole channelled these challenges into developing her brand, saying that “a near-death experience taught me that nothing is more important in this life than the moments that are gone too fast. Having long-lasting, smudge-free makeup may seem like a simple novelty to one person, but to me, the 8-15 times I would have spent touching up my makeup today are now the 8-15 opportunities I have to be in the moment.”
Juvia’s Place branding and ideology is built on celebrating ancient queens of African kingdoms “who emulated and honored beauty through their soulful and innovative techniques that the top beauty gurus still use today.” Their combined use of African traditions and modern engineering has helped them to create highly pigmented products at an affordable price point while being inclusive of all skin tones.
Many of the products by Juvia’s Place are vegan (for example all of their makeup brushes), however we recommend checking the ingredients list for each specific product.
Coloured Raine’s team is entirely made up of black people, with 75% of them being women. They make monthly contributions to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, BLM Frontline Fund, the Henrietta House and Reclaim the Block and developed their brand to be a celebration of all “color through unity.”
From product development (all products are manufactured in the USA), to graphic design and media they ensure that people of colour are represented and employed every step of the way.
Creator Ibi Meier-Oruitemeka wanted to create a natural, toxin free beauty brand designed for black women. In 2019, she was listed as one of the ‘Top 50 Emerging Beauty Industry Leaders’ by EICBI and has been featured in magazines such as Vogue and Nylon. Vogue has ranked the brands facial oil FLOW as the ‘Best Skincare for and by People of Colour’
The company is based on the English coast and uses “locally sourced and grown ingredients and actively supports British artisans, makers and small scale producers by buying British ingredients that make up much of her range.”
A list of beauty brands owned by people of colour would not be complete without mentioning Pat McGrath’s eponymous brand. Regarded by some as the most influential makeup artist in the world, in 2015 McGrath launched her own makeup brand. Less than five years later, it was declared a billion-dollar company. This is no mean feat considering that the beauty industry has historically excluded women of colour.
On a side note – we have finally had the pleasure of matching Pat McGrath Lab’s Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation, so you can now find your foundation match to it on our home page!
Do you have any favourite brands that are owned by Black People that we haven’t included here? Let us know in the comments!
Please note: The Match My Makeup team and our family members encompass a wide range of races and ethnic backgrounds, however, like many other people, we are learning about how we use language appropriately. So if you have any constructive feedback, please feel free to comment below, we are listening.