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Let the record show that I will always stan for us, and by “us,” I mean Black women. We’re beautiful. We’re innovative. We set trends. We consistently beat the odds. What isn’t there to love? When the “Black girl magic” movement was started by CaShawn Thompson in 2013, it felt like our truth (something we’ve always known) was being ushered into the social media era on an entirely new level. And as expected, it ignited a noticeable uptick in the number of Black-owned businesses period, but especially the best Black-owned makeup brands.
Today there’s no shortage of makeup empires either owned by a Black woman or with a Black woman at least calling the shots, consulting or collaborating on a limited-edition release. Some are just getting their start. Others are selling out in Ulta or Sephora. Ultimately, all of them are needed because in the year of our Lord and Savior Beyoncé, 2019, we’re still calling out brands who deliver 40+ shade ranges that include an embarrassing number of options for anyone with a lot of melanin. Anytime that I, a Black woman with lighter skin, can’t even find her shade match, I know it’s all downhill from there because the math just doesn’t add up.
With that being said, I can’t think of a better time than now to show extra love to some of the best makeup brands either founded or owned by a Black woman. Right now, a few have permanent spots in my routine and others are on my wishlist for fall. Here’s what happened when I literally covered my face in Black girl magic.
Step 1: Brows (Fenty Beauty)
Rihanna is part owner of her namesake beauty line, which launched two years ago and reminded other brands that inclusion isn’t a trend; it’s something that should be embedded into the identity of any beauty business. Her product drops continue to be breaking news and I’ve personally tried almost all of them. However, the new MVP Pencil & Styler ($20) is giving me life.
Because my brows are naturally sparse and microbladed, a spoolie brush is absolutely necessary. Before applying product, I like to brush up the hairs to make my brows look fuller. What sets the Fenty pencil a part from others is the teeny brush in place of a traditional spoolie.
I was skeptical, but the densely-packed bristles actually create a more uniform “up” pattern as I’m brushing; it even grabs the awkward little hairs I usually have to tweeze on the ends. The Dark Brown also matches perfectly, though I’m hoping Rihanna eventually gifts us with a matching brow gel.
$20 at Sephora
Step 2: Coverage (Uoma Beauty)
Uoma (pronounced uh-mah) Beauty is founded by Sharon Chuter, a Nigerian-born former beauty executive who clearly knows what she’s doing. Ever since I discovered its lipsticks named after Black beauty icons, I knew I had to get my hands on the “world’s first Afropolitan brand.”
I decided to start with the Say What?! Foundation ($39), because one, the name is too good, and two, because coverage options for Black women are generally still a challenge to find. As someone with a barely-there vibe, I was hesitant to try a matte finish, so I did add just a few drops of my facial oil before applying.
I recommend applying this with a sponge or flat foundation brush because matte formulas are quite annoying to remove from the hands. I was pleasantly surprised to see that this actually does dry down without looking crazy cakey. In fact, I had to blot my face a little, which lets me know that I probably didn’t even need my oil.
When you really blend it in, it looks like you aren’t wearing anything, so don’t be afraid to build if you live for a full beat. Come fall, this is definitely something I would use whenever I’m dealing with excess oil. (By the way, my shade is Bronze Venus T3W.)
$39 at Ulta
Step 3: A Little Highlight (Danessa Myricks Beauty)
Because I only occasionally wear concealer, I go straight to a highlighter. I’ve already talked about how much I love Danessa Myricks’ Dew Wet Balm ($22). It comes in four different shades and delivers just a hint of color when you want a subtle glow that looks dewy instead of greasy.
This is something you can definitely apply with your fingers to warm up the product for better blending. I usually just apply to the tops of my cheeks, but it also looks great under the brow bone and down the bridge of the nose. My melanin pops every. single. time.
$22 at Danessa Myricks Beauty
Step 4: Eyes (Pat McGrath Labs)
Okay, so I have a confession: eyeshadow palettes terrify me. The color and combo options outweigh my expertise and if I mess up, taking everything off and starting over feels like a full-time job. This is why until this year, I would only use Pat McGrath palettes on special occasions. They are by far some of the most gorgeous options out, but given how richly pigmented they are–and the fact that they’re created by thee mother of runway makeup–I would just chicken out.
When I saw the latest drop, this MOTHERSHIP VI: MIDNIGHT SUN Eye Palette ($125 on 9/3), I knew it was time to cut the B.S. and conquer my fear, because look at these colors!
I decided to tip-toe my way into it. With a small eyeshadow brush in hand, I first (clumsily) applied “Taboo” (a brown ochre matte) to my lid. I figured since it was pretty close to my skin tone, I could easily wash off if I messed up. But I somehow…didn’t?! Since that was way easier than I thought, I decided to go a little further and layer it with Bronze Eclipse (a bronzed taupe sheen). It’s. Still. Working. I got this!
Pat McGrath must’ve cast a spell on this palette because then I went crazy and applied Blitz Violet Orchid (a sparkling periwinkle violet) to the inner corner of each eye too. Add a little liner and mascara and all of a sudden, I’m wearing eyeshadow in the middle of a workweek for absolutely no reason. Only Mother McGrath could have this effect on me.
$125 at Pat McGrath Labs (9/6, in select Sephora stores 9/13)
Step 5: Lips (Uoma Beauty)
I am more of a gloss girl, but again, the names of Uoma Beauty’s BADASS ICON Matte Lipsticks ($24) pulled me in. There are 16 colors to choose from and all of them are named after famous black women, who were indeed, badass. They include Aretha (Franklin), a deep neutral, Chaka (Khan), a pink mauve, and Sade (Adu), a poppy red.
Because I was in a fall state of mind, I decided to swipe on Tracy, a burnt caramel that is crazy-pigmented; as in you only need one swipe and you’re good to go. Because Pat McGrath put me in such a spontaneous mood, I went ahead and layered Uoma’s Boss Gloss Liquid Marble in Passion. It lightened up the color and matched my eye color, which I wasn’t expecting, but very into.
Moral of the story: Black girl magic is still (and will always be) real. Ahead, more Black-owned makeup products that should be on your radar.
Beauty Bakerie Aqua Glass Foundation
$34 at Ulta
Mented Cosmetics Brand Nude Lipstick
$16.50 at Mented Cosmetics
MDM Flow Baby Girl Lipstick
$18.27 at MDM Flow
AJ Crimson Beauty Dual Skin #5 Foundation
$45 at AJ Crimson Beauty
The Lip Bar Fresh Glow
$20 at The Lip Bar
GloGirl Cosmetics ‘Hella Ratchet’ Lipstick
$16 at GloGirl Cosmetics
Juvia’s Place The Nubian Loose Highlighter
$10.50 at Ulta
Coloured Raine x Power Homicide Matte Liquid Lipstick
$17 at Coloured Raine
Koyvoca Cosmetics Contour Stick
$14 at Koyvoca Cosmetics
KayLux Cosmetics Halftime Show Highlighter
$17 at KayLux Cosmetics
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Iman Cosmetics Second to None Stick Foundation
$16 at Iman Cosmetics
Nine Three Beauty ‘Brandie’ Liquid Satin Lip Color
$9 at Nine Three Beauty
The Crayon Case Chalk Dust Setting Power
$20 at The Crayon Case
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