During the holiday season you can totally rack up discount deals at major retailers, but you know indie brands have my heart. Especially the ones that celebrate our beauty at their core essence; creating products for us, by people who could be us. So this black-owned indie beauty holiday gift guide will celebrate and highlight some of those makeup, haircare, nail, skincare and bodycare brands you need to know about, all of which are carving out their own space and earning recognition for their exquisite quality.

2017 truly has been a remarkable year for businesses by and for women of color. We’ve seen brand new beauty brands explode into the mainstream while longstanding industry icons have to struggle to catch up. We’ve seen some independent industry leaders make missteps and smaller brands rise to prominence because of gaps in the marketplace. This holiday season, big box stores and online retailers are racking up the bucks. We gotta support our indie entrepreneurs beyond just Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday. Let’s keep the fire going year round!  Click here to visit my Black Owned Business Directory! And don’t forget to support sites like Shoppe Black and We Buy Black! And check out the In Her Shoes gift guide, sis rocked it as always! Also, honestly my 2016 indie gift guide remains epic and those brands are still doing their thing — check it out!

Holiday Gift Guide

This is my list of beautycentric picks based on products that I’ve tried personally, or researched thoroughly. I hope you find some items that you like! And stay tuned for my other gift guides this week (better late than never)!



Mented – Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing these ladies and trying out their products, and I can truly say they’re awesome. The concept of Mented is exactly what I alluded to earlier – an up and coming brand that intended to fill a void in the marketplace. The creators, KJ and Amanda, shared a glass of pinot noir and discussed a mutual desire for the perfect nude lip for women of color and the rest is history. Mented makes wonderfully pigmented, moisturizing and lovely lip colors in all the shades of nude we come in, from Dope Taupe and Peach Please to Dark Knight and Foxy Brown.

Juvia’s Place – This brand has become a beloved, highly collected makeup line known for celebrating the beauty of women of color from the packaging on in. From the moment I saw these palettes online, the buzz and excitement I saw from those who shared and swatched was palpable and contagious. When Juvia’s Place kindly sent me a few palettes of my own, I fell in LOVE. The pigmentation and the packaging are next level. If you’re looking to gift someone or treat yourself, I’d recommend starting with the Saharan or the Nubian. But at their prices you may just want to splurge on all 6 palettes!

Hue Noir – Recently I was reintroduced and fell in love all over again with Hue Noir, the cosmetics line founded by Paula Hayes (a product chemist who is also a woman of color).  The packaging is all the way gorgeous, luxe and distinctive. The shades of foundation and lipstick shades are on point. I really love this brand’s direction. Check them out!

Magnolia Makeup – One of the best indie, black owned beauty brands now has new foundations and matte lip colors in fabulous, bold colors worth collecting (I’ve got my eyes on Purberry and Shaun). Great as individual stocking stuffers or a whole set!

The Lip Bar – The colors are vibrant and beloved by many, including folks whose opinions I respect. I always hear amazing things about The Lip Bar. Merlot is my kind of color!

Marjani Beauty – I discovered this brand via celebrity makeup artist Camara Aunique – she knows her stuff! Follow her on Instagram and click here to check out her custom box for this beauty brand. Via the fabulous In Her Shoes, the brand was launched by Kimberly Smith and “was born from Kimberly’s desire to create a space and platform where the collective diversity of women of color is celebrated.”

Compass by Evita — The creator of the popular Nomadness travel movement, Evita Robinson used her global adventures as inspiration for her lip color line. She’s got a bold, vibrant range named after cities like Joburg and Lagos, and also caused based products like her Flint clear peppermint balm, proceeds of which benefit the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Beauty Bakerie – if you’re looking for 100% cruelty free makeup for women of color, check out Beauty Bakerie. Especially known for their gorgeous Lip Whip glosses (that at present come in 27 shades), every product is themed after baking or confectionary and I hear her products also smell amazing and deliver!

Lauren Napier – After wearing all of this makeup, we gotta take it off and let our skin breathe. Enter Lauren Napier’s excellent face wipes – moisturizing, soft, nourishing to the skin. Check them out here!



Shoo – If you’re looking for a black owned, indie nail care brand then Shoo is an excellent candidate! Click here to check out this sister’s story, her nail brand began because of her quest for eco-friendly, vegan and cruelty-free beauty products. Now she’s got nail products and nail care, and I see she just launched lipsticks! I’ve tried her nail polishes and they’re awesome.

Mischo Beauty – Fun fact, Mischo Beauty was one of the OG beauty bloggers! She launched her innovative clean beauty nail brand in 2013, and the rest is history. Mischo Beauty nail polishes are luxe, exquisitely packaged and 10-free, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, gluten-free and void of artificial fragrances.

Bernadette Thompson Nails – Celebrity manicurist Bernadette Thompson’s signature line features the polishes she uses on her clients, in a rainbow of incredible colors and finishes. And over at the Museum of Modern Art store, her money nail decals are on backorder – click here to sign up!


Adwoa Beauty – Via their page, “Adwoa is a feminine given name mostly practiced by the ashanti people and the akan day naming system, meaning born on a Monday,” and it’s the native name of founder Julian Addo – the natural hair force of nature behind the Bella Kinks brand. Julian has done it all in the natural hair scene and knows the business inside out, so her own product line was basically born ready! From the packaging and branding to the wonderful efficacy of her baomint – Adwoa Beauty products are definitely going to make waves in 2018!

FORM Beauty – in case you haven’t already read my interview/review, click here. To recap, FORM is excellent and worked so well for my hair! The creation of the masterminds behind Bevel, FORM is luxury hair care intended for a range of textures. Gift cards and minis are available via their website.

Koils By Nature – I’m a big, longtime fan of Pamela Booker’s brand – if you’ve never tried Koils By Nature, do yourself a favor and get into her Shealoe! This year Koils is offering awesome holiday boxes, including an impressive assortment of well chosen black owned indie brands.

Moisture Love – if you’re a naturalista who suffers with dry, frizzy hair then you might fall head over heels for Moisture Love. Created by Jeannell Darden and based in Atlanta, the line is entirely dedicated to infusing dry natural hair with multilayered moisture meant to last, using their “proprietary blend Hydralure Technology ™, that infuses hydration into the hair on a cellular level for deeper longer lasting moisture penetration.” The trial set would make a great gift!

Naturalicious – If you haven’t read my earlier post about Naturalicious and the awesome Gwen Jimmere, click here! Gwen is a force and her products are beloved. Personally I have tried her 5-in-1 clay treatment and my hair LOVED it. Now she’s got a bunch of other products, including great hair gift bundles and body products!

Vernon Francois – the brainchild of celebrity stylist Vernon Francois takes a unique approach to hair care for a variety of textures. Vernon’s products are available at Sephora and the packaging is lovely – I really liked the items I tried from his Pure Fro collection!

Skincare & Bodycare

Beauty by Africa Miranda One of my favorite beauty influencers has a fabulous product that has become a skincare essential for all 4 seasons. Beauty by Africa Miranda facial oil was inspired by her travels to Brazil, and it can be used as a makeup remover, night cleanser, day cleanser or just nourishing face treatment that blends Maracuja Oil, Cupuacu Butter with other skin-nourishing ingredients.

Bella NoirEverything I’ve been lucky enough to try from this bath and bodycare line has been incredible and made with intentions that are inspiring. Products by Bella Noir are made to enhance your melanin and moisturize your skin, and each package has a Biblical verse to uplift your spirit. I’d recommend their full 2017 set as a holiday gift!

BGLH MarketplaceI love seeing my fellow bloggers grow and develop new businesses! Leila of Black Girl Long Hair has been a fellow pioneer in the natural hair blogging space and she has a full product line of handwhipped body and hair butters. Now she’s opened a brick and mortar store in Brooklyn where she whips up butters in a variety of fragrances. Her sample pack of three works for skin, face and hair!

The Bolden Company – Skincare made by women of color, for women of color. I’ve been using the Bolden USA line for about a month and I really like their cleanser and mask, especially! If you are looking for a facial care line, definitely check them out. If you have dry winter skin needs, don’t sleep on their shea oils – Sweet Vanilla is my favorite, so thick and emollient for the elements!


EDEN Bodyworks body products – EDEN has been one of my favorite hair care brands for a while – did you know they jumped into the body care space as well? Their coconut body wash is awesome, and I love the coconut hand cream. Great to include in a gift basket!


Sweet Treats by Oraje – Handmade hair products, body products, soaps, sage and crystals by one of the most knowledgeable natural hair experts. I especially love his hair products and handmade soaps, they’re so beautiful!


Pets says:
December 13, 2017, 7:07 pm
Amazing to curate such a list.
Susan says:
January 14, 2018, 12:19 pm
Indie brands are so much better at designing products that really work and this might be the case because they are made by people who use them themselves. This is a really great list and I will definitely have to try some of these exciting products!