There’s no shortage of lists highlighting Black- and people of color-owned businesses. But sometimes those lists can be overwhelming, and they don’t always delve into why a specific product is so amazing or who it’s best for.
So what do you do when you want to support Black businesses but you don’t want to randomly select a product? Turn to influencers, of course. There’s no one more equipped to share a great recommendation. In addition to snapping great photos, they’ve also tried a ton of goods and are pros at disseminating info to their audience.
We asked influencers of all ages and skin types to share their favorite skin care products from Black-owned companies. These aren’t goods they just started using yesterday, but products they’ve been devoted to for years. The picks range from a sunscreen that doesn’t leave melanated skin looking ashy to the best serums to treat annoying dark spots.
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Bolden Skin Clarifying Cleanser
“I’ve used Bolden Clarifying Cleanser off and on since 2017 — the zinc helps regulate oil to reduce blemishes,” said Ijeoma Kola, a public health researcher and lifestyle blogger. “It’s also paraben-free, which is the gold standard for beauty these days, and the company is owned by two Nigerian women.” The entire collection of Bolden products is also sulfate-free and features a range of cleansers, toners and kits to tackle specific skin issues such as acne or dark spots.
Influencer Vic Styles is a huge advocate for wearing SPF daily (as we all should be!), and one product she’s been using for four years and counting is Black Girl Sunscreen. “It was made specifically with brown skin in mind, so there’s no weird white or gray residue,” the Brooklyn-based content creator said. The sunscreen doesn’t contain oxybenzone and octinoxate (which harm coral reefs), and it’s packed with jojoba, sunflower oil and vitamin C-containing carrot juice. In addition to protecting against harmful rays, the sunscreen dries clear and doesn’t leave behind the dreaded white or ashy look, which is all too common. The brand was created in 2016 and now includes a sunscreen for children.
Although 61-year-old Janie Medley of Medley Style credits her youthful skin to great genes, she does have occasional under-eye puffiness. To combat that, she uses Marla Rene Skincare. “The IlluminEyez Eyecare hydrates the skin under my eyes and restores the firmness,” Medley said. The eye products — eye gel, night cream and a serum — can be purchased as a set or separately. They each tackle a different concern, including puffiness, dark circles and wrinkles.
Stylish Curves blogger Alissa Wilson adores Hyper Skin’s vitamin C serum. She calls it a “godsend” for her skin, which experiences occasional breakouts that can lead to hyperpigmentation. “It has helped lighten some of my acne scars and dark spots,” she said. “My skin looks so much clearer.” The lightweight gel has vitamins C and E, as well as fruit enzymes and kojic acid to improve the appearance of dark spots. Hyper Skin currently sells only this product, which the creator developed after struggling with breakouts while pregnant.
Kola has been using this product for more than five years — which she even carries in her handbag — to combat dry skin. The cream contains shea butter, olive oil, aloe vera and other organic goodness. The unscented formula can be used on the skin from head to toe and even on hair. “I’ve now started using it on my 6-month-old son, because I know that it’s handmade and produced in small batches so it doesn’t contain any questionable ingredients,” Kola said.
Alaffia is a brand known for its fair-trade ingredients that support communities in West Africa. Its black soaps are amazing, but there’s another product Patrice Yursik, creator of Afrobella, swears by: “They make a great range of body washes — folks sleep on their skin care, but it’s great!” Yursik’s favorite is the Neem Turmeric cleanser, which she says leaves her skin refreshed on hot summer days. The product contains shea and moringa and is especially great for blemish-prone skin or anyone who needs a deep clean without harsh ingredients.
We tend to put a lot of thought into the products we apply, but there’s one item Styles loves that actually preps the skin. “It’s an exfoliator tool you use in the shower. It helps remove dead skin cells and keeps your skin glowing,” she said. Luv Scrub is made of a mesh nylon material that doesn’t harbor bacteria like a sponge or loofah, and it dries quickly. Also, it’s long enough so you can reach your back with ease. The scrub, which can be used for up to 18 months, comes in a range of colors including African violet, summer shower and naked sunset.
The Healing Place Apothecary Daily Greens Moisturizing Face Cream
The Healing Place
“My skin loves it,” Yursik said of The Healing Place Apothecary’s Daily Greens Moisturizing Face Cream. “[The] whipped moisturizer has such a great texture and it’s made with avocado butter and matcha tea.” The super-hydrating formula also contains green tea extract and vitamin E. A little bit of his rich cream, which is 98% natural and comes in eco-friendly packaging, truly goes a long way. The company from Oakland, California, makes plant-based skin care goods with a focus on holistic principles.