WOC-Friendly Makeup Brands

From wearing light coats of Lip Smacker’s™ liquid lip gloss at age 6 to dousing my face in powder foundation at middle school dances, it’s safe to say that my love for - and usage of - makeup has evolved. What seems to remain stagnant though is the cosmetics industry’s desire to broaden their horizons and appeal to various demographics, specifically women of color.


As I was watching the iconic Jackie Aina on YouTube the other day, she said something that piqued my attention. “The thing is, a lot of times I make comments and remarks about how brands don’t create foundations that are dark enough. And usually, the counter-argument is people say, ‘Darker people don’t buy as much.’ Well, people aren’t gonna buy your product if you aren’t marketing it to them.” It’s such a simple concept, but seemingly too hard for companies to understand. Frequently, we as women of color have to either 1) beg and plead for darker shades or 2) settle for ashy products. In hopes that I can make the search easier, here are a few of my favorite WOC-friendly makeup brands:


    1.     BlackUp

Of the 4 black female beauty vloggers I follow, Jackie, Patricia Bright, and Cydnee Black have raved about this brand at least once. The website’s tagline is literally “Makeup and Skin Care for Women of Color”, and it most certainly lives up to the hype. BlackUp does not cater to the whims of colorism; no matter your complexion, there is something for everyone. The tutorials show real women using real products, so makeup lovers at every level of expertise can sharpen their skills. Plus, if you want a POPPIN’ highlighter, THIS is the place to buy it from.

    2.     Sacha Cosmetics

When I was on the hunt for a mattifying setting powder, I lost all hope that I would ever find the powder I wanted. That is, until I stumbled across this gem. Although people typically use buttercup powder for “baking and beating” their faces, if it is applied sparingly before and after putting on foundation, your makeup will not shift an inch. After trying one item from Sacha Cosmetics, they reeled me in for good. Superb brushes. Distinct lipsticks. Most importantly, their products provide flawless finishes without breaking the bank. What more could a girl want?!


    3.     NARS

As far as foundations go, NARS never ceases to amaze me. The longevity is amazing and the formulas are tailored in such a way that you can serve a variety of looks. If you’re aiming for a dewy glow, the “All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation” is definitely the way to go. Looking for something more lowkey? Their “Velvet Matte Skin Tint” foundations provide full coverage without drying out the skin. Recently, I decided to pick up one of their liquid blushes and let me just say, I was baffled by the natural, rosy look it gave me. Highly recommend.

    4.     Juvia’s Place

Now, we’re all quite familiar with Urban Decay’s Naked eyeshadow palettes (and yes, Naked Heat is amazing), but one of my friends introduced me to Juvia’s Place - and wow. I cannot believe I’ve been sleeping on them for SO long. Their hyper-pigmented palettes look absolutely gorgeous on women of color because they bring out our rich skin tones and enhance our features. Although I haven’t tried this brand for myself yet, I’m so intrigued by this particular bundle of eyeshadows that I MIGHT just have to give them a shot...


Some other notable makeup lines for women of color include Bahi Cosmetics, Black Opal, Lancome, as well as Hourglass, but the four mentioned above are just my favorites. These brands that offer versatile, easy-to-use products and truly care about changing and challenging the standard of beauty as we know it. I hope this list puts your spirit as ease and serves as a reminder to you that demanding representation and striving for beauty are not mutually exclusive. Steps ARE being taken to make the industry more inclusive, and though they are small, this is just the beginning.


Ruth Samuel