black makeup

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.

Lip glaze

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!

diva gloss

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.

correcting powder

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.


Danielle J says:
May 12, 2008, 11:36 am
Wow! What fabulous products. I'm always looking to try new things. I'm a minimalist when it comes to make up and believe that less is more. Finding products that work can be a pain in the butt. Thanks and I'd love to support small business and a black owned/operated business to boot.
Erin says:
May 12, 2008, 12:02 pm
Thanks for all the great beauty info Afrobella
Mara says:
May 12, 2008, 12:23 pm
This is an exciting article about b.l.a.c. mineral cosmetics. I will be giving them a try. I will start with the blush and a sample of the foundation. My only concern is that like so many online companies it is difficult determine what the color will look like in person. I would love for them to provide more samples.
ericka says:
May 12, 2008, 12:53 pm
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Crush Groove Cosmetics, her mineral makeup is light and soft:
Karen says:
May 12, 2008, 1:31 pm
Congrats on the Fabbie.
b. says:
May 12, 2008, 2:36 pm may just convince me to try mineral makeup! As for hair and avocado oil, I LOVE the stuff. I buy avocado oil to use on my hair and add other things as the mood strikes (castor, rose, whatever). At $9 for a bottle of oil and b/c a dab'll do ya, buying the oil itself is a bargain.
Wes says:
May 12, 2008, 2:44 pm
BELLA this is OH-SO-SO great!! I plan on ordering the sample packs of powder tonight when I get home... I've been searching for a good mineral powder that matches my complexion for a long time now. Thanks so much!!!!
AJ says:
May 12, 2008, 3:58 pm
1. yay for your fabbie! 2. we asked for a makeup review, and we got one! love it! im getting some lipgloss today!
tycajam says:
May 12, 2008, 5:35 pm
I've been toying a lot recently with intense purples and blues on my eyes, not necessarily as shadow, but certainly as liner (sometimes smudged, sometimes not)with two coats lash stylist mascara or the duo max factor mascara (have you tried this one Bella?) and the reaction from friends, fam and total strangers has been off the charts! You are so right when you say the right color brings out the brown-eyed girls. I want to try to full shadows you listed and must say I'm loving the prices. **To ericka - thanks for the connect and another gorgeous option in Crush -- I have to take baby steps with my skin and this makeup journey, but I'm feeling crush for the education on what goes into their products. Also love your site!
regina says:
May 12, 2008, 8:14 pm
Thanks for the head's up! I am very interested in some of the proiducts mentioned and will look into them! Thanks! And Happy belated Mother's Day!
UrbanWorldOnline says:
May 12, 2008, 8:37 pm
Good makeup. We interviewed the owner of b.l.a.c. minerals in March.
AHS says:
May 12, 2008, 9:47 pm
Love this post!
jen says:
May 13, 2008, 12:40 am
Thank you.
nina says:
May 13, 2008, 1:34 am
"ethnic market", hunh? isnt everyone ethnic????? love your blog but why perpetuate that kind of thinking?
BlackInArt says:
May 13, 2008, 1:22 am
b.l.a.c. is AMAZING. I'm not a makeup girl AT ALL but I find their stuff easy to use and fresh and light.
nikki says:
May 13, 2008, 6:40 am
I am going to order samples of the Blac minerals foundation. I may try the toasty blush also. I wish they offered samples of the other makeup.
bella says:
May 13, 2008, 8:40 am
Nina, what turn of phrase would you suggest as an alternative? I wasn't trying to perpetuate any kind of thinking, I simply used the phrase that the cosmetics industry also uses. Any helpful suggestions would be welcome.
Mrs.Mckinzie says:
May 13, 2008, 2:57 pm
Hey bella,i'm recovering from tonsil surgery,but my hands are fine.This is a great post,and you really keep us informed about some great suff,Thank You.
twynn says:
May 15, 2008, 12:06 am
Loved this review. I've purchased a mineral foundation from Mary-Kay, and it was okay...I'm not one to wear makeup, just a little lipgloss. However, I may have to check this one out. Thanks for keeping up informed, because I love to support a black owned company.
nina says:
May 15, 2008, 12:00 pm
i just think that the key to changing thinking ( ie the idea that everyone else is "ethnic" or cultural and white is therefore normal and the standard) is to challenge it and committ to using new may not seem like a big deal but I think it can make a difference in how we categorize each other and ultimately about we how we view ourselves in this country---with less divisions and less "othering" other people who happen to not be white ( what is touted as the standard) lol..sorry for the monologue...i enjoy your blog...just irked by that word and perpetuation of ideas like it
nina says:
May 15, 2008, 12:01 pm
alternate: how bout just makeup? or just products? since we are all ethnic and have culture lol
Newly Nappy says:
May 15, 2008, 2:36 pm
The definition of ethnic: Of or relating to a sizable group of people sharing a common and distinctive racial, national, religious, linguistic, or cultural heritage. I do not feel the word ethnic in and of itself is a negative word, by its usage it can render a negative opinion but as a stand alone it simply identifies a group carrying similarities. Sometimes people get confused and feel that anytime the word ethnic is used it only applies to blacks, thus making them inferior. You could very well be an ethnic swede, hungarian, romanian, south african, etc etc so on and so on. We are all of some ethnic derivative (and yes we all have culture as you'd word it nina lol)but each ethnic group can be different from the next. Here in bella's usage of "ethnic market" (and business america in general) she speaks of the ethnic group encompassing women of color, be they black hispanic island mixed indian asian middle eastern whtvr. They are tied by a common and distinctve difference in their skin (and it's needs) from the opposite ethnic group of "white" skin. I think in this sense ethnic is used as a grouping, because women of color span MANY races it is not simply a matter of one specific race of people. It is not just makeup, there is a VAST distinction. I cannot wear makeup made for nicole kidman, my curly haired bella of blue black beautiful complexion can't wear anythg created with natalie portman in mind. On the flip my blue eyed diva bella can do nothing made with iman's image in mind. "Products" must vary btwn the markets, otherwise it is not gonna be pretty when i come out lookg chalkfaced. I for one am proud and happy to finally have a market created with my ETHNIC skin in my mind. As well as all my other beautiful bellas of color from all the corners of the globe. Done with my Good work on all ur wonderful work bella, i look 4wd 2 ur site ery morning i get to work. THANK YOU!
nina says:
May 17, 2008, 11:01 am
this is definitely not the space for this type of discussion so sorry Bella...I do like your blog because I know next to nothing about makeup and I come to read the other stuff too:-) ...but I have to respond to this "Sometimes people get confused and feel that anytime the word ethnic is used it only applies to blacks, thus making them inferior." THis is absolute inference and NOT an absolute. And no one is least Im not..nor anyone with a brain and knowledge of connotation and denotataion... I am not offended by the word ethnic used to describe me or latinas or whoever else....what I have a problem with is that the word is never used to define people who are not "white" ( that is a political term...a construct like all of them are)...that is my problem...the othering---the setting of normal...the creation of a binary (white and ethnic)...its a fallacy. "They are tied by a common and distinctve difference in their skin (and it’s needs) from the opposite ethnic group of “white” skin." this is just my point..and this is where the real confusion lies in my opinion...everyone else is not just the "opposite" of white lol...that is ridiculous and borders on the deification of a politically constructed group of people ( which I know a lot of my people are prone to doing with their refusal to question and challenge whiteness and the othering of people who are not white)...the differences in skin tone and different needs for different women has NOTHING to do with what I was talking about. Newly Nappy. I think you missed the point but its okay lol cuz i shouldnt have opened the discussion here ( hint hint)
gorgeousblackwomen says:
May 19, 2008, 12:37 am
Okay. I'm going to need to do about an hour of research on this because my current natural skin care regimen is causing problems I've never had. I just squeezed out about 3 inches of solid oil (?) from a pimple on my forehead. Back to Trader Joe's all this crap goes!
test says:
May 19, 2008, 10:51 am
Nina got your point... I was try to challenge this way of thinking too. Never answer when someone talk to me about being "black". African people and their descend around the world are so ashamed of themselves that they will use any excuse words that do not mention their heritage: black, nigger, urban, and now ethnic. Bella you wanted a word why not just African, Afro, Latina, etc... have u noticed when talking about Asian people you refer to them and their product as Asian? Anyway, learn a lot about "beauty" on this blog but every time you talk about something else than that, I am sorry about this comparison, but you remind me those "beauty contest" answers.... No offenses intended.
Dahlia Fox says:
May 20, 2008, 8:14 pm
I ordered some of the samples last monday...and they still haven't arrived! Which is strange because i ordered from a few other sites on the same day, and I've gotten them all. Has anyone else ordered samples? If so have you recieved them?
2bnatural says:
May 23, 2008, 11:03 am
Can we cut the political correctness mess. We are talking about freaking makeup. "Ethnic" in this case is just discussing bellas with more melanin in their skin whatever race color or culture. "White" is the majority (speaking in power not number)so in a lot of instances that does make it the standard in some industries, beauty being one of them. When you say just makeup best believe 9 times out of 10 it will be aimed for the white population. I know what afrobella meant and the context she meant it in.