August is National Black Business Month, and while we love celebrating our favorite Black artists and Black-owned beauty brands all 365 days of the year, we felt it was an especially opportune time to shine a spotlight on some of the beauty industry's best artistic talent and the Black-owned businesses and products they love, consistently use, and recommend to friends, family, A-list clients, and, of course, you!
Below, we asked leading hairstylists and makeup artists (who regularly work with the glamorous likes of Tracee Ellis Ross, Naomi Campbell, Gabrielle Union, Laverne Cox, and so many more) which Black-owned brands and formulas we'd regularly find tucked into their product kits, showers, and high-standard beauty regimens. Keep scrolling! Our panel of experts are sharing 24 Black-owned beauty brands you can support this month in honor of National Black Business Month and always.
AJ Crimson Beauty
"Creamy and dreamy, the Dual Skin Creme Foundation is a must whenever I create a red carpet beauty look. I discovered this product when I wandered into the AJ Crimson atelier during my first award show season in Los Angeles back in 2016. The dapper AJ personally introduced me to this foundation, and I've been hooked ever since. The buildable, beeswax-based formula is rich, luminous, and photographs like a dream when you set it with your favorite powder." — Deja "The Lady Deja" Smith, celebrity makeup artist
"I'm also obsessed with the hours-long wear of his S+M Matte Liquid Lipstick. This particular formulation of liquid lipstick is comfortable and has the perfect-size applicator for full lips like mine. Everyone should have the signature red, Ruby Who?" — Smith
Pat McGrath Labs
"Pat McGrath Labs is really tailored to the needs of working makeup artists. As a young devotee of Fashion Television, a touchstone of my passion for beauty was watching the backstage interviews from beautiful Black Motha Pat McGrath. Fast-forward to the launch of her brand, and I couldn't have been any happier with the luxe experience of her packaging and products. The MatteTrance Lipstick was the first to catch my attention with its creamy, yet opaque, formulation." — Smith
"The intensely pigmented shades inside this palette are easy to manipulate with your fingers or a brush, wet or dry, to achieve your desired attention-grabbing gaze." — Smith
"My newest must-have item, however, is the FetishEyes Lengthening Mascara because the super-black pigment easily builds from defined, ultra-long length to a thick and voluminous effect that still manages to maintain lash separation coat after coat. I can't wait to try her newest extreme black mascara, Dark Star Voluminizeing Mascara." — Smith
"Pattern's products are super, super thick, and they feel luxurious in their consistency, which is excellent for penetrating curls. I always recommend using the Hydration Shampoo and the Intensive Conditioner. I use the Hydration Shampoo for really dry, brittle, and damaged curls. Then, for ultra-hydration and repair, I follow with the Intensive Conditioner under heat or steam to open the cuticles, which helps deposit all of the nutrients." — Marcia Hamilton, celebrity hairstylist
"I love this brand because of its high performance, brand messaging, and oversized packaging. AND of course, it was created by my beloved Tracee Ellis Ross, whose glamour and beauty regimens have been an inspiration to most of us. This Edge Control is one of my favorite products—it's a maximum-hold product, but it’s not cakey, which is very important when doing sleek looks or even styling baby hair." — Nai'vasha, celebrity hairstylist
"I love this Strong Hold Gel because I can create so many refined looks, and it never flakes. That’s really tough to find when using strong gels." — Nai'vasha
"Who better to go to for all things curls than Tracee Ellis Ross? Aptly named, this brand is the best curly hair product on the market that really brings out and enhances my natural curl pattern. Pattern Beauty products are moisturizing and provide excellent curl separation and definition, so my natural curl pattern really shines. I use the Curl Gel immediately after I wash my hair while it’s still damp. I gently scrunch it into my curls so I don’t disturb the texture. Then I flip upside down and diffuse my hair until it's halfway dry. The curl gel is my go-to because it provides all-day bounce!" — Tasha Reiko Brown, celebrity makeup artist
"For years, I've used and loved this Leave-In Conditioner. It’s always consistent, and it works great on natural curls as well as curly hair extensions." — Hamilton
"I've recently started using the Conditioning Cleansing Co-Wash on my own hair, and it's excellent. My hair feels soft but not filmy or sticky." — Hamilton
"Everything from Mielle Organics smells yummy and has tons of natural organic ingredients like sunflower seed oil, cocoa seed butter, rice bran water, and more. I always recommend the Mongongo Oil Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner to restore shine to curly hair that has been overly heat styled." — Hamilton
"The Rice Water Clay Masque is amazing for detoxifying and removing impurities from the hair while infusing moisture." — Hamilton
Flawless by Gabrielle Union
"I love Flawless by Gabrielle Union. Not only am I a fan of the products, but I’m also co-owner. Gabrielle and I created the line for textured-hair consumers. We have 12 products, including a Hydrating Detangling Hair Shampoo, Hydrating Co-Wash Cleansing Hair Conditioner, and more." — Larry Sims, celebrity hairstylist
"I started as a salon stylist, and one of the leading brands in that setting is Design Essentials. They are innovative and smart with their product choices, and they're really a stylist's brand. The Compositions Foaming Lotion is a kit favorite for me because I can set any style and texture using this foam. It’s flake-free and residue-free. My roller sets and twist-outs result in a shiny finish." — Nai'vasha
"I love Design Essentials because it is a complete haircare line. They have everything one could possibly need. They do not discriminate when it comes to texture, and there is something for everyone. I incorporate the brand into my clients' haircare routine by starting them off with the shampoo and deep-conditioning masques. Then, once they see how incredible their hair feels afterward, I slowly work the styling products in to help make my job as a hairstylist easier." — Ro Morgan, celebrity hairstylist
"This is a vitamin A and C serum that improves skin’s clarity and texture while also diminishing blemishes and, most importantly, increasing decongestion of pores. And it smells divine!" — Autumn Moultrie, celebrity makeup artist
Black Girl Sunscreen
"This is a no-brainer for brown skin. It smells good, blends in easily, and it is affordable." — Moultrie
Shani Darden Skin Care
"With 2.2% encapsulated retinol, this serum boosts collagen production and improves cell turnover. It's excellent for diminishing fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars. It also has 2% lactic acid, which brightens dull skin. It's a game changer." — Moultrie
"Unlike any other face scrub I have ever used, this face polish leaves your skin feeling like a baby’s bottom immediately. It has a combination of coffee beans from Kenya and sugar, and it is great for people who shy away from serums and want a physical scrub. This hero product is truly amazing. My husband steals this product from me and keeps it in his shower to use every other day." — Moultrie
"As a makeup artist, I spend the most time perfecting my canvas so I can use as little product as possible. Ingredients matter, and Pholk has delicious, time-tested, tried-and-true formulas. I cleanse every day with the Daily Detox Face Wash, and then I treat myself weekly to the GlowUp Mask With Apple + Hibiscus." — Reiko Brown
"I love color—not an abundance of it—but a strong wash of 'you can't miss it' color on a face with clean skin is such a modern and elegant beauty look that has a spark of personality. Juvia's Place eye shadow palettes give me rich, bold, bright, quirky, and traditional primary colors that are creamy to apply and packed with pigment, so a little goes a long way. The creamy texture blends out the edges seamlessly onto lids so I can get a diffused wash of color with barely any need to blend." — Reiko Brown
"To softly pair with bright lids, Juiva's Place also has the most gorgeous chocolate nude lipstick collection for deeper skin tones that give a hint of warmth while still being a true nude. I keep her palettes and lipsticks in heavy rotation in my kit." — Reiko Brown
Danessa Myricks Beauty
"I love Danessa Myricks Beauty because her products are so versatile. One of my favorites is this beautiful pigmented cream called Colorfix 24-Hour Ceram Color. You can use it on the entire face, for eye shadow, lipstick, blush, and contour. Most importantly, however, it does not move! This also means that you need to work fast, but once it dries, its set for good. That kind of security in a product is priceless when you send your clients on the red carpet. It comes in small-squeeze tubes, which is perfect because you don’t risk cross-contamination by dipping any tools inside. This is really important when you're trying to keep your kit as clean as possible." — Jessica Smalls, celebrity makeup artist
"I love using the Love & Light Beauty Oils when I skin-prep on myself and my clients. I place a couple of drops into a serum and apply it to all the high points of the complexion like the cheekbone, brow bone, Cupid's bow, and the bridge of the nose. It creates a radiant glow from within, with and without foundation, for a really beautiful yet natural look." — Smalls
"Finding suitable grooming
products for my Black male clients was always a struggle until I came across Scotch Porter. I love their products and their approach to masculine skincare, as well as healthy beard care. I appreciate that the products aren’t greasy or overly fragranced, which is important when grooming men. A favorite product is their Moisture Defend Face Lotion. It hydrates the skin while leaving a soft matte finish, which is perfect because shiny, greasy skin is a no-no for my clients who are on camera or for my fiancé when I’m making him take a million selfies." — Smalls
"They also have a Conditioning Beard Balm that’s the bomb! I rub about a dime- to a quarter-size amount in the palms of my hands and massage it into the beard. It makes the beard hair, which is often dry and coarse, feel really soft and manageable while treating the skin underneath to help keep ingrown hairs at bay. When we have enough time, I will part the beard with a comb and apply a thin layer of the balm directly to the skin for a deep-conditioning treatment. Or I just tell my clients to do this at home twice a week!" — Smalls
"I love the Detangling Brush by Felicia Leatherwood. It's amazing because it helps detangle even the tightest curls. This product is easy to work into my clients' haircare routine, and I always recommend they use the detangling brush once they apply their conditioner and leave-in conditioner. After my clients have seen the effortless glide of the brush and how it evenly distributes product throughout their hair, they are hooked!" — Morgan
"The Glowcery's grocery of 100% natural, vegan plant-based, and superfood skincare products are handmade in an artisan lab. All of their products are made with cold-pressed fruit, vegetable and nut oils that are rich in omega essential fatty acids, green antioxidants, and vitamins you'd find in fresh produce sourced from your local greengrocer that are known for promoting overall nutrition to the body. I love the lip scrubs which can often be an overlooked element in your routine. These scrubs are amazing for helping to revive dull and/or dry, chapped lips." — Stefan Bertin, celebrity hairstylist
"Okiki is an authentically British, authentically Nigerian brand. It's a lifestyle brand that provides handcrafted personal care and home care products such as candles and bath salts. I love that for every large candle sold, Okiki donates £1 to help re-plant trees in Ghana. Out of all the products, I’d recommend the Amelia Face Cream, which is full of antioxidants, in addition to vitamins A and E. It’s really powerful but very light, so you’ll get that glow without any greasiness." — Bertin
"Herby Box is a brand that makes it easy for people to benefit from herbs with blends helping to aid the immune system, brain function, or just general wellbeing. Herby Box provides gorgeous herbal teas that contain a blend of herbs and a unique tea experience. Personally, I think the one to go for is the Herbal Immune Booster which contains turmeric, stinging nettle, burdock, cats claw, echinacea, and more. It's great for reducing inflammation, which is perfect for healthy skin and scalp!" — Bertin
"I’m obsessed with Kreyòl Essence's Haitian Castor Oil. Castor oil is a classic Caribbean beauty secret that goes back so many years. I love using it on my brows and hairline to keep my hair healthy and flourishing." — Naeemah LaFond, celebrity hairstylist
"Mented Cosmetics' Vacay Bronzer is my everyday go-to for a soft glow. It gives me a slightly tanned finish that balances my skin tone and makes my features pop without looking too overdone." — LaFond
"LivSo's Moisturizing Hair Lotion is an easy product to work into your everyday routine. It has been part of mine for over a year. Most of my clients are hooked and the combo of the lotion, plus the shampoo and conditioner has helped to alleviate most of the dry scalp issues many of my clients are facing right now. It’s also founded by dermatologists and clinically tested." — Kadi Lee, celebrity colorist
"At our salon, Highbrow Hippie, we keep one of these tubes of natural shea butter skincare at the front desk and by every sink in our atelier. With all of the constant hand washing nowadays, it is by far the staff favorite for keeping hands hydrated and moisturized. It’s also a family-owned business, founded by three sisters, and sourced from Ghana, which we love." — Lee
"I was put on to this by my business partner Myka Harris, as I have been searching for a good multivitamin to support overall health and well being during this time. Founded by Tonya Lewis Lee (wife of Spike Lee), this is one of the only supplements that I’ve found that is not only certified organic but is also vegan, gluten and allergen-free, and can be taken on an empty stomach. I take it first thing in the morning after I have my hot water and lemon, and I’ve already begun to notice a huge change in the health of my hair, skin, and nails. It provides beauty from the inside out. It also comes in a beautiful amber bottle, though I’ve heard the refills come in a recyclable package to eliminate unnecessary waste." — Lee
Next: Pat McGrath Labs Debuted the Buzziest Mascara of 2020—See Our Before-and-Afters
Erin has been writing a mix of beauty and wellness content for Who What Wear for over four years. Prior to that, she spent two and half years writing for Byrdie. She now calls Santa Monica home but grew up in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and studied writing, rhetoric, and communication at University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She studied abroad in Galway, Ireland, and spent a summer in L.A. interning with the Byrdie and Who What Wear family. After graduating from UW, she spent one year in San Francisco, where she worked as a writer for Pottery Barn Kids and PBteen before moving down to L.A. to begin her career as a beauty editor. She considers her day-to-day beauty aesthetic very low-maintenance and relies on staples like clear brow serum (from Kimiko!), Lawless's Lip Plumping Mask in Cherry Vanilla, and an eyelash curler. For special occasions or days when she's taking more meetings or has an event, she'll wear anything and everything from Charlotte Tilbury (the foundations are game-changing), some shimmer on her lids (Stila and Róen do it best), and a few coats of the best mascara-type product on earth, Surratt's Noir Lash Tint.
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