In spite of being the biggest contributors to the beauty industry, women, particularly black women, are rarely behind the scenes. For example, 2018 was the year that Revlon appointed its first-ever female CEO and president, Debra Perelman, in the brand’s 86-year history.
Despite this win, the cosmetic industry is still predominantly white. This then causes the beauty industry to perpetuate Eurocentric standards of beauty, which then triggers colourism and hair policing.
As a result of the changing climate, many beauty brands have revealed just how many black employees they have. L’Oréal revealed that it has 7% (840) black employees working across its brands at the corporate level. Esteé Lauder’s black representation overall is at 12%, 4% at executive director and above, and 14% executive officers. NYX has 6 black employees in leadership roles. Lastly, Sephora has 14% black representation across the USA and 6% in leadership including store and warehouse.
The good news is entrepreneurs in South Africa have acknowledged the gap in the market. As a result, they’ve built brands that can cater to women of color.
So with that said, here are our favourite black-owned cosmetic brands operating in South Africa.
Black-Owned South African Beauty Brands
Dermopal is a skincare brand created by Dr. Leslie Nteta, with an aim to provide skincare solutions to various skin ailments common in Africa.
Not only is the brand 100% black-owned, but it also has a majority female workforce.
What should I try?
The brand’s most popular product is the Dermopal Sunscreen SPF30, that’s not only broad-spectrum but it also helps to prevent premature aging.
2. Black Like Me
Black Like Me, was launched in 1985 by Connie Mashaba, along with her husband Herman Mashaba. To have built a successful black-owned and black-driven business during the restrictive days of apartheid is no small feat.
Over the past 30 years, the brand has been applauded for its constant innovation and consistent service delivery, especially when it comes to caring for different black hair textures and types.
3. Suki Suki Naturals
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Linda Gieskes-Mwamba launched Suki Suki Naturals in 2014. She had become exasperated using products that did nothing for her hair and only left her frustrated.
Suki Suki Naturals has specially developed products for those living under the harsh African sun. The best part is that these products are free from toxic beauty ingredients. This list includes mineral oil, preservatives, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, formaldehyde, petroleum, and paraffin.
What should I try?
The Prickly Pear Rejuvenating Facial Oil would be a great addition to your beauty cupboard as it is rich in both vitamins E and K, as well as Inca niche oil. Vitamin E helps to stimulate the production of collagen, which helps to alleviate the appearance of wrinkles. Vitamin K, on the other hand, helps to reduce the appearance of blemishes and scars. Lastly, Inca niche oil helps the skin retain moisture.
4. Swiitch Beauty
In 2014, a then 14-year-old Rabia Ghoor fell in love with international makeup channels and she soon realized that South Africa was lacking in this regard. It wasn’t long before she set out to create her own beauty brand – a brand that could cater to the average South African woman and lo and behold, Swiitch Beauty was born.
It should also be mentioned that Swiitch Beauty is no stranger to social justice. In the wake of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the company has pledged R50 000 in the form of cash grants to black-owned businesses and R100 000 in product to up-and-coming MUAs (make-up artists). Despite the pledge not being well received by everyone, the brand’s decision was respected and applauded.
What should I try?
Taking a page out of the K-beauty book, the Swiitch Beauty #SuperHeroSpray is a Korean skin mist that can give your skin a much-needed boost.
The spray’s key ingredient is niacinamide. Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is the ultimate skincare ingredient as it boasts a number of benefits. This includes repairing the barrier of your skin, protecting against sun damage, alleviating the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well as tightening pores and regulating oil production.
5. Chick Cosmetics
Created in Johannesburg in 2017, by Nomfundo, Chick Cosmetics is a brand that prides itself on being cruelty-free in every sense of the word as the brand is vegan friendly and it makes sure to adopt ethical marketing and sustainable practices.
“Driven by the love of creating, diversity and confidence, we have been described as the most innovative and fastest-growing beauty company on the continent,” the brand reveals on their website.
What should I try?
Every beauty cupboard needs a vitamin C serum, and Chick Comsetics has the perfect one.
The Chick Cosmetics Glow Boost Serum contains 10% vitamin C, and with this powerhouse ingredient, the serum helps to address signs of aging, as well as pigmentation and uneven skin tone. Additionally, the serum also lists hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 as ingredients. Both hyaluronic acid and vitamin B5 help to keep your skin healthy and supple by absorbing moisture from the air to keep the skin hydrated.
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