It's 2022, and These 29 Female-Founded Beauty Brands Are Thriving


(Image credit: Courtesy of Golde; Courtesy of Charlotte Cho)

One of the best parts of my job (aside from testing out curly hair products or getting beauty founders to share their skincare secrets) is the opportunity to discover new beauty brands and the founders behind them. There’s something magical about unearthing what seems like a hidden gem or spotlighting a new business, and in 2022, it’s clear that championing female-founded businesses is more important than ever.

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women, with estimates that 47 million women will be pushed into extreme poverty. Our strides toward gender equality within the workspace are slipping (a recent study from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce showed female-owned businesses struggling more than their male-founded counterparts), which is all the more reason to rally behind female founders—not just for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, but always. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t fret. Ahead, you’ll hear from 29 female founders of beauty brands about their mission, tips for aspiring entrepreneurs, and their hero products. Prepare to be seriously inspired.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Katherine Power)

WHO: Katherine Power

WHAT: CEO, Brand Builder, and Investor (Who What Wear, Versed, Avaline, and Merit)

Why did you found your business? 

I wanted to reimagine luxury beauty by making it clean, well-edited, and accessible. Merit is everything you need to get ready in five minutes, with high-performing products that will last all day.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Gilded Body)

WHO: Blair Armstrong

WHAT: Founder of Gilded Body

Why did you found your business? 

I started Gilded Body to change the way we think about bodycare, to shift the view of skincare beyond facecare, and to elevate the bodycare experience. Facecare is essential, as it’s how we present ourselves, but I’ve seen firsthand what can happen when we neglect our body’s skin. Bodycare is an essential part of caring for ourselves.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Sigma)

WHO: Simone Xavier

WHAT: Founder and CCO of Sigma

Why did you found your business?

My husband and I founded Sigma because I wanted to bring solutions to the average makeup user, like myself. Makeup brushes were costly 13 years ago, and selecting makeup brushes as a beginner can be an overwhelming task. After extensive research, we put together our beginner brush set, and that is how Sigma was born!


(Image credit: Courtesy of Charlotte Cho)

WHO: Charlotte Cho

WHAT: Co-Founder of Soko Glam and Then I Met You

Why did you found your business? 

My husband and co-founder Dave and I founded Soko Glam in 2012. It was purely a passion project born out of my love for K-beauty. Our mission is to help all people achieve only good (skin) days ahead through our complimentary Skin Concierge service, education through The Klog, and our trusted, curated selection of skincare products.


(Image credit: Courtesy of The Beauty Chef)

WHO: Carla Oates

WHAT: Founder of The Beauty Chef 

Why did you found your business? 

The Beauty Chef stemmed from my skin- and gut-health issues. As a child, I suffered from eczema and allergies, and my mom took me to see a naturopath who dramatically changed what I ate, removing processed foods and allergens such as gluten and dairy from my diet. My allergies and eczema subsided, so I experienced firsthand the connection of food as medicine—that what we eat can affect our skin and health.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Shayde Beauty)

WHO: Shay Paresh

WHAT: Founder of Shayde Beauty 

Why did you found your business? 

Working with established brands, I saw firsthand how skin color was treated as an afterthought—not just in marketing but down to the actual formulation process. My commitment drove my journey to launch and develop Shayde Beauty to address unmet skincare needs for people of color.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Shani Darden Skin Care)

WHO: Shani Darden

WHAT: Aesthetician and Founder of Shani Darden Skin Care

Why did you found your business? 

I didn’t always know that I wanted to start my own business. I couldn’t find what I wanted on the market, retinol that had all of the benefits of a prescription without the side effects, so I decided to create one. I launched Retinol Reform in 2013, and the business has continued to grow from there.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Megababe)

WHO: Katie Sturino

WHAT: Founder of Megababe and Body Acceptance Advocate

Why did you found your business? 

Megababe is an innovative beauty brand that unabashedly tackles issues often experienced but not often spoken about. From thigh chafe to boob sweat, we shed light on these common issues by creating award-winning, nontoxic, and solution-oriented products that allow people to feel more comfortable and confident in their skin. 


(Image credit: Courtesy of Bomba Curls)

WHO: Lulu Cordero

WHAT: CEO and Founder of Bomba Curls

Why did you found your business?

I wanted to create a clean, sustainable, and wellness-based curlcare brand inspired by my Afro-Dominican roots. Bomba Curls is my love letter to curls and coils, and my decadent natural products seek to empower women to celebrate the skin they are in and define their standard of beauty.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Strange Bird)

WHO: Tina Chow Rudolf

WHAT: Founder of Strange Bird

Why did you found your business? 

The mission of Strange Bird is to make it easier to put ourselves first and representation. I want to help create a world for my kids where taking care of themselves is prioritized and seeing themselves validated in the world around them is their norm.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Mischo Beauty)

WHO: Kitiya King

WHAT: Founder and CEO of Mischo Beauty 

Why did you found your business?

I launched Mischo Beauty back in 2013 after not being able to find safe, nontoxic nail polish during my pregnancy with my son in 2011. It was then that I decided to take matters into my own hands (I have a degree in chemistry) to create what I couldn’t find.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Cheekbone Beauty)

WHO: Jennifer Harper

WHAT: Founder and CEO of Cheekbone Beauty

Why did you found your business? 

There is a lack of Indigenous representation in the beauty space, and I wanted to fill that gap because representation saves lives. Every Indigenous youth should see themselves in a beauty brand that is working to create safe products with less impact on the planet.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Nudestix)

WHO: Taylor Frankel

WHAT: Co-Founder of Nudestix and Nudeskin 

Why did you found your business? 

My mom, sister, and I started Nudestix to solve a common problem. We felt there was a lack of brands in the beauty industry that celebrated and embraced multitasking, effortless, and "less is more" beauty.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Golde)

WHO: Trinity Mouzon Wofford

WHAT: Co-Founder and CEO of Golde

Why did you found your business? 

Golde was inspired by my own experiences as a consumer in the wellness space. I wanted to make self-care easier, more approachable, and fun for all.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Pink Moon)

WHO: Lin Chen 

WHAT: Founder of Pink Moon

Why did you found your business? 

Pink Moon originally started as a boutique consultancy that helped female-founded, eco-minded, and ethical beauty brands grow. I expanded Pink Moon into a digital WellCare space and boutique last summer, which has been an expression of pure joy because it allows me to support other female entrepreneurs while helping women experience transformative self-care.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Topicals)

WHO: Olamide Olowe

WHAT: Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Topicals 

Why did you found your business? 

Growing up, I had a ton of skin conditions like acne, hyperpigmentation, post-barbae folliculitis, and boils and never found a brand that resonated with me. I knew firsthand how having these skin conditions affected my self-esteem and, eventually, my mental health. That’s why at Topicals, we take the focus off of having "perfect” skin and put the emphasis on making the treatment experience more enjoyable or, as we like to say, "Funner Flare-Ups.”


(Image credit: Courtesy of Saalt)

WHO: Cherie Hoeger

WHAT: CEO and Co-Founder of Saalt

Why did you found your business? 

The spark for Saalt came from a phone call I had with our aunt in Venezuela, who had gone without pads and tampons for years due to shortages of basic consumer staples caused by political instability. I immediately began researching what reusable options were out there and began working to create what I hoped would be the perfect menstrual cup that would be great for beginners and the mainstream consumer.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Indeed Labs)

WHO: Dimitra Davidson

WHAT: President and COO of Indeed Labs

Why did you found your business? 

At a young age, I knew that taking good care of your skin was critical in maintaining a healthy appearance. Yet, I could not find products that addressed my skincare concerns, products that worked, that were affordable, and with ingredients that I trusted. Indeed was born out of the needs that I had as a consumer.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Frigg)

WHO: Kimberly Dillon

WHAT: Founder of Frigg

Why did you found your business? 

I wanted to create self-care for the people who don't know how to self-care. We aim to develop supercharged beauty products that defend against the impacts of stress on the hair, skin, and body using cannabis and adaptogens. 


(Image credit: Courtesy of Valdé Beauty)

WHO: Margarita Arriagada 

WHAT: Founder and CEO of Valdé Beauty

Why did you found your business? 

To encourage women to discover their true selves and fully manifest their essence. In this alignment with our true self, it lies a purpose, inner strength, conviction, and beauty that transcends the physical.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Ciaté)

WHO: Charlotte Knight

WHAT:  Founder and CEO of Ciaté

Why did you found your business? 

I founded my business to bring runway looks, products, and creativity to retail shelves. As a session artist, I continually analyzed the white space and challenged myself on how I could disrupt it. 


(Image credit: Courtesy of Curls Dynasty)

WHO: Nickie Nougaisse

WHAT: Founder and CEO of Curls Dynasty

Why did you found your business? 

I started Curls Dynasty because I was tired of my love-hate relationship with my hair and inspired by my three closest friends' struggles with their 4c hair. On my journey, I discovered that our common enemy was dryness due to a lack of moisture retention. I went to work putting together a system that quenched our hair’s thirst and resonated with textured sistas worldwide.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Josie Maran)

WHO: Josie Maran

WHAT: Founder and CEO of Josie Maran Cosmetics

Why did you found your business? 

Over 15 years ago, I worked as a model and actress and was constantly in the makeup chair. Over time, I noticed the products that were used were wrecking my skin, so I decided to make chronological beauty products, which are conscious, efficacious, and sustainable beauty rituals that empower people’s lives.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Freck Beauty)

WHO: Remi

WHAT: Founder and CEO of Freck Beauty

Why did you found your business? 

Remi: I have forever admired and been obsessed with freckles—I wish there were a more exciting story, but to be honest, that’s it. I never thought I would wind up in this industry, but along the way, I realized that the world was missing a beauty brand with an attitude that didn’t play by any rules, and that’s how Freck Beauty came to be.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Klur)

WHO: Lesley Thornton

WHAT: CEO and Co-Founder of Klur

Why did you found your business? 

I founded Klur as a brand I had always expected but never experienced—a clean, well-considered, sustainability-driven, inclusive, expert-lead beauty brand.


(Image credit: Courtesy of 107)

WHO: Chloe Kwak

WHAT: Co-Founder & Co-CEO of 107 

Why did you found your business? 

For a long time, I dealt with eczema and numerous health issues. I have tried various remedies, but nothing really worked for me until I met this fantastic aged-old secret vinegar that led me to inner and outer wellness. I had to share it with the rest of the world, so I founded 107.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Pholk Beauty)

WHO: Niambi Cacchioli

WHAT: Founder of Pholk Beauty

Why did you found your business? 

I founded my business because the natural-beauty category wasn’t targeting my needs as a Black woman with oily-combination skin. I wanted to make the cultural connection between these powerhouse natural ingredients and melanated skin.


(Image credit: Courtesy of Mo Mi Beauty)

WHO: Diane Read 

WHAT: Founder Mo Mi Beauty

Why did you found your business? 

From as early as I can remember, my mom had always looked to the garden when it came to well-being, which further inspired me to learn about time-honored beauty ingredients, traditions from around the globe, and infusing them with modern personal care. I founded Mo Mi [mō-mee] as a beauty and lifestyle brand for everyone interested in sustainable, plant-based products that celebrate our diversity. 


(Image credit: Courtesy of Brown Girl Jane )

WHO: Malaika Jones

WHAT: Co-Founder of Brown Girl Jane 

Why did you found your business? 

We founded Brown Girl Jane as a love letter—in the form of real solutions—for women who were constantly everything to everyone and always juggling balls in the air. It's the wellness collection and community we always wished we had. My co-founders and I work hard to redefine what it means to be "well" and have crafted a collection that simply helps you feel good, look great, and live well.

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

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Jasmine Fox-Suliaman

Jasmine Fox-Suliaman is a fashion editor living in New York City. What began as a hobby (blogging on Tumblr) transformed into a career dedicated to storytelling through various forms of digital media. She started her career at the print publication 303 Magazine, where she wrote stories, helped produce photo shoots, and planned Denver Fashion Week. After moving to Los Angeles, she worked as MyDomaine's social media editor until she was promoted to work across all of Clique's publications (MyDomaine, Byrdie, and Who What Wear) as the community manager. Over the past few years, Jasmine has worked on Who What Wear's editorial team, using her extensive background to champion rising BIPOC designers, weigh in on viral trends, and profile stars such as Janet Mock and Victoria Monét. She is especially interested in exploring how art, fashion, and pop culture intersect online and IRL.