I have so much admiration for sistas who are out there doing it for themselves, entrepreneurs making a name in the cosmetics biz by specializing in makeup made for bellas like you and me.
The ethnic market has become big business, and many of the leading cosmetics lines are offering makeup for a deeper and wider range of skin tones. Everyone already knows how wonderful MAC, Prescriptives, and Bobbi Brown products are, which is exactly why I love to shine a light on the new, niche businesses on the rise. You all remember Valana, Shea Radiance and Ohm Body? Great! Here are some more products by bellas for bellas that have come across my radar.
For any woman of color who’s been seeking simple, pure beauty solutions for her skin tone, b.l.a.c minerals is the bomb. This is truly natural makeup that doesn’t rely on the use of fillers and fragrances. Owner and Creator Merced Manning truly is dedicated to making a range of products that bring out black beauty — their items come in shades that exist compliment deep, warm skin tones to a tee. Take for example, the toasty blush. I was skeptical when I first saw it in the package — too burnt orange, I thought. But when sparingly applied to the apples of my cheeks, it gave me a subtle, gorgeous glow that didn’t scream “I’m wearing blush!”, which is exactly what I’m always looking for. Subtlety is key when it comes to cheek color.
The lip glazes are made with shea butter, and are as smooth and soft as you’d imagine them to be. Plus the colors are true to description — the Spice shimmer gloss really shimmers. If you’re a mahogany-skinned bella who prefers a shimmery, nude gloss, I’d advise you try the Cocoa shade. It just gave my lips that slick of sophistication that finishes off a well-done un-made up look. It would look effortlessly beautiful with bronze eye makeup. Speaking of which…
b.l.a.c’s Carnival eyeshadow is the perfect shade of gold for my complexion, and it’s flecked through and through with sparkles. Just a little stripe with a wet brush along my upper eyelid is stunning for day, and the full lid in gold at night is a bold, bright look. Royal is the kind of blue that really brings out the brown in my eyes — try it, I bet you’ll love the power of blue eyemakeup to amplify your baby browns.
b.l.a.c specializes in mineral foundation, and they offer a dazzling array of shades. From butternut tan to mocha deep, there’s a whole lot to choose from. The coverage is light and really flattering, but would be most ideal for a bella with unblemished skin.
b.l.a.c minerals is sold online (the company is based in Atlanta), and the prices aren’t scary — $22.50 for mineral foundation, $11 for blush, and $6.50 for a pot of lip gloss. Good deal, great little company. Click here to read Urban World Online’s interview with Merced Manning, creator of b.l.a.c.
I had the honor of meeting Kiley Russell, the gorgeous, creative bella behind Big Girl Cosmetics in person, at the Makeup Show Miami. She is stunning in person, and wears her locks like a true queen. And her makeup was to DIE for!
I admired Big Girl’s big display of items — that Mosaic Bronzer looks kind of amazing, right? And their eyeliners and eye shadows come in a great range — $10 a pop for the shadows. Their Diva Gloss is smooth and slick like a regular lip balm, but gives great shine and glimmer. I was very skeptical about the sheer peach, but it just gives such a beautiful natural glow to my mouth, I’ve been completely won over. Even prettier over a lip stain. Love it.
For my Canadian bellas, there’s Nacara Cosmetics, available in France, Canada, and the GBS beauty store chain here in south Florida. I like what I see of Nacara, but the only item of theirs that I’ve actually tried is the lip gloss palette, which comes in four different combinations. Each palette includes five sheer, shiny lip glosses that paint on thick and last for hours. These colors are slight, so sheer they really look great over just a lip filled in with lip pencil, or stain.
I’m very intrigued by Nacara’s correcting powder — a compact that comes in either yellow (Samara) or orange (Ipanema), and claims to be a “a true innovation in multiethnic makeup.”
Oh, and off the topic of makeup and back to an old, aforementioned fave — Ohm. I love that Avocado Hair Energy Oil! It smells so sweet and refreshing, and just a few teeny spritzes adds noticeable shine to my curls on their thirstiest days. The Eureka’s Growth Elixir smells kind of like nag champa incense, but makes my hair wavy and soft when I slick it on right after showering. The Hibiscus Tea Moisturizer smells great and leaves my hair feeling very soft and nourished, but might not work so well on kinkier or thicker hair. It’s a lightweight product, so it makes a good run-through-with-fingers kind of product for wash and go styles, but doesn’t provide a ton of heavy, noticeable moisture. But in general two big thumbs up for Ohm Body, I have genuinely liked most of their products that I’ve tried so far, and I’d recommend that Avocado Hair Energy Oil for anyone who’s been disappointed by a pricey Sephora hair serum like that Oscar Blandi jasmine stuff that costs $35 a bottle. Ohm’s oil costs $12, doesn’t contain any ‘cones, and smells just as sweet.