We wouldn’t typically write a headline that calls out a beauty brand just because of the color of its founder’s skin. But this week, as Americans protest racial injustice and beauty brands show support for racial equality on social media, it seems as if every beauty editor is doing their part by posting online stories that feature lists of black-owned beauty brands.
Why focus on black-owned companies? Buying Black, Rebooted by Anthonia Akitunde, an article published in the Style section of the NY Times last December, refers to the book, “Our Black Year; One Family's Quest to Buy Black in America's Racially Divided Economy" by Maggie Anderson. " The article states, "A growing number of Americans are asking ‘Is this a black-owned business?’ Explaining the #BuyBlack movement, it says, “…in the face of today’s fraught politics and overt racism, it marks a return to a form of economic protest…”
Joining the cause, here are our picks for black-owned beauty brands that caught our eye -- Uoma, Beneath Your Mask, and Janet & Jo. Pictured above are the founders of each brand, and each has a unique story to tell about their inspiration and mission.
Update: Uoma's founder Sharon Cutter founded the Pull Up for Change movement
Uoma, founded by Sharon Chuter
Uoma (pronounced uh-mah) is a makeup line founded by Sharon Chuter, chief executive officer and creative director. Chuter, a seasoned beauty executive, was born in Nigeria. WWD once named Chuter as one of the 50 most forward-thinking executives shaping the future of the beauty industry. The company has offices in Los Angeles and London.
On its Instagram profile, the brand is described with just one sentence: “For all who’ve been left out.” Uoma's color cosmetic line includes options for all skin tones, ranging from very fair to dark brown. Say What?! Foundation is shown above, and comes in 51 shades.
“Uoma means beautiful and we believe that beauty starts the moment you decide to be yourself. We exist to re-write the rules of inclusivity and diversity to create a world of beauty that truly is for all of us,” states the message of inclusivity on its website.
The mission statement continues, “At Uoma we are an empowered tribe. Our race is human, our people are free, our language is color. All are welcome to our beautiful tribe.”
Uoma’s colorful, innovative packaging looks modern. Clear bottles allow consumers to clearly see the makeup shades, and are accented with caps in opaque or translucent pastel hues. Chuter “draws inspiration from her Afro heritage and infuses it with fierce modernity to create a truly fresh aesthetic,” according to the company.
Beneath Your Mask Luxury Skincare, founded by Dana Jackson
Beneath Your Mask, in the second phot in the slider above, is a luxury skincare line founded by Dana Jackson. The brand launched in 2012 with its first product, Whipped Skin Soufflé — and now includes Remedy Conditioning Lip Balm, Indulge Total Body Elixer, Polish Detoxifying Body Scrub — and more.
Jackson, originally from Atlanta, moved to Los Angeles to battle Lupus — and she explains how her company got its name after her life-changing experience. She writes, “I realized how important it was that I stopped trying to be the ‘me’ that I was before I got sick, the person that I had wanted the world to perceive me as….I realized that God could heal me once I removed my mask and revealed my true self — not because He wasn’t willing to before, but because I hadn’t been willing to be vulnerable and humble enough to receive that healing. Hence my company name, Beneath Your Mask.”
The brand’s bottles, jars, and tubes shine in sleek black. The packaging is decorated with the brand’s logo in bright white — a lowercase letter “b” with a period, with “beneath your mask” under it.
The bottles and jars are dark violet Miron glass, chosen because it “energetically activates our botanical formulas.” The brand explains on its website, “The technology is simple; the sun emits visible and invisible light parts that enable all plants to grow. It also emits light that accelerates molecular decay. Miron violet glass works like a natural filter that only lets in the sunlight that protects and improves quality, thus lengthening the lifespan and actually increasing the potency of our products. This means that our products will not only be optimally preserved, but will also be energetically enriched.”
Janet & Jo 10-Free Nail Lacquer, founded by Kendra Woolridge
Janet & Jo, in the third photo in the slider above, is a luxe nail lacquer line that is “10-free,” and formulated without ten controversial ingredients that may be linked to health issues. The line is also vegan and cruelty-free.
Founder Kendra Woolridge says the company name comes from her two grandmothers. Woolridge writes that her grandmothers, “with my mother, influenced me tremendously. I have always had a passion for polish, and would often mix polishes together until I achieved the colors I envisioned in my head.”
Woolridge says she was inspired to start the company after watching her mom battle breast cancer three times, and lost her Grandma Jo to the same disease. She states, “I decided to pursue my passion for polish, while remaining conscious of the ingredients.” She says she learned more about the many toxic ingredients in nail polish, so she was determined to launch a ‘clean’ brand.
Janet & Jo’s lacquer line is in square glass bottles that have a thick double-wall base. Gold caps complete the luxe look, which coordinate with a gold decoration printed on the bottle featuring the brand’s logo.
Shown in the photo above, via Instagram, are a few colors including Blonde Ambition, dedicated to all the women that inspired the brand’s founder, that “take lemons and make a hell of a lemonade”; ‘Yass Girl Yasss!’ a “power pink” signifying women’s empowerment; and Sweetheart, a light pink lacquer with a milky base.
What’s In Our Next ‘Spotlight On’ Column?
Which beauty brands should we cover next in our new online column, Spotlight On? Email Marie Redding.