Last Updated on November 20, 2022
From glass bottles to organic ingredients, here are 6 black-owned sustainable skincare brands to watch. Plus, discover the star product to try from each brand.
The industry as it is today
You’ve ditched D.I.Y lemon masks, and you’re wearing sunscreen not just in the summer? Good on you! But, have you thought about how your regimen could be harming the planet?
Sadly, while skincare is fun and exciting, the industry’s reputation far from it. Besides setting unrealistic beauty standards, the $511 billion industry has a negative impact on the environment that stretches from ingredient-sourcing to the end consumer.
One of the biggest issues the beauty industry faces is that it’s largely unregulated. As a result, many skincare products contain toxic chemicals which are shown to endanger people’s health and harm marine life. Other problems include massive plastic pollution, child labor and destruction of tropical forests around the world.
With the market expected to grow to $560.5 billion by 2030, the problem is likely to get worse. However, the good news is that the rise of conscious consumerism is pushing more and more skincare brands to embrace sustainability.
What is sustainability and why does it matter?
Sustainability is about meeting our current needs without sacrificing the planet, in order to enable future generations to meet their own needs. That’s the official definition from the United Nations Brundtland Commission. They made the statement in 1987 and it’s ever so relevant today.
In the skincare industry, sustainability means ethical sourcing, safe ingredients, as well as environmentally-friendly production and packaging. All of these contribute to a healthier planet. Here are 6 black-owned sustainable skincare brands that meets these criteria.
6 black-owned sustainable skincare brands to watch
There are many black-owned sustainable skincare brands that are a part of the positive change that’s happening in the industry. So, we’ve rounded up a few that we think should be on your radar.
1. Dirt Don’t Hurt
Dirt Don’t Hurt’s mission is to elevate your personal care routine through eco-friendly products that are good for you and the planet. The brand was co-founded by sisters Kaya, Sativa, and Maritza, who were inspired to create skincare that’s safe for their children.
They started by making their products with clean, pure, and plant-based ingredients. These include activated charcoal, earth clays, essential oils, and herbs. They still very much keep to this mission across their product range.
What makes them sustainable: All products are ethically-sourced and production is environmentally-friendly. Most of their products contain organic ingredients. They are also packed in either recyclable or biodegradable materials.
Star product: Charcoal + Clay Mineral Face Mask, a multi-tasker for the ultimate facial detox.
Charcoal + Clay Mineral Face Mask 1.4oz | 39g
This clay mask deeply cleanses your pores to draw out excess oil and impurities. It also visible reduces the appearance of pores, promotes healthy skin cells, and calms stressed or inflamed skin.
PERFECT FOR: Congested, oily or acne-prone skin
SKIN BENEFITS: Anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging
KEY INGREDIENTS: Activated charcoal, bentonite clay, french clay, oatmeal, tea tree oil, frankincense oil
WHY WE LOVE IT: It’s a multi-benefit mask
USE: 2-3 times a week
Liha is a natural and organic skincare brand created by two lifelong friends. The Britain-based brand is a fusion of rich West African botanical roots and English aromatherapy.
A key part of Liha’s philosophy is slow living and eco-friendly self-care. That’s why their products are natural, 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and free from parabens, sls and chemicals.
What makes them sustainable: Liha’s products are handmade in small batches in Cheltenham and Hackney. They grow their ingredients organically.
Star product: We recommend the Ose Gidi Soap which smells amazing and cleanses without stripping the skin.
Ose Gidi Soap 4.2oz | 120g
This organic and handmade soap deeply exfoliates without drying you out. Packed with vitamins and other antioxidants, it’s ultra moisturizing and it provides the body with a healthy radiance. Plus, it treats bakne!
PERFECT FOR: All skin types, especially dry or acne-prone
SKIN BENEFITS: Anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-septic, moisturizing
KEY INGREDIENTS: Moringa leaf powder, shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, blackstrap molasses
WHY WE LOVE IT: Doubles as a twice-weekly face exfoliator
USE: Daily as a body soap
3. OUI the People
OUI the People takes a bold step by trying to change the language of beauty. Unlike most brands, their products have no ‘perfecting’, ‘flawless’, or ‘anti-aging’ claims. Rather, they let their products speak for themselves.
What started as a single razor company expanded to include other areas of body care, from serums to bikini sheet masks. This is one brand that proudly practices sustainability and holds themselves accountable.
What makes them sustainable: Each product is sold in Italian glass bottles with recyclable caps. They also provide refillable products to curb waste – a trend that’s poised to grow in the coming years.
Star product: One of our favorites is the CHEAT SHEET Resurfacing Body Serum. It contains glycolic acid, lactic acid, and Atlantic sea kelp to give you the most radiant skin.
CHEAT SHEET Resurfacing Body Serum 3.38oz | 100g
This fragrance-free serum helps you target problem areas of the body that need exfoliation. It contains a mixture of AHAs, BHAs and PHAs to gently clear dead skin cells and clean the pores. It also maintains your moisture levels thanks to its humectants. The result is a smoother, brighter and well-hydrated skin.
PERFECT FOR: Congested, oily or acne-prone skin
SKIN BENEFITS: Exfoliating, brightening, smoothing, hydrating
KEY INGREDIENTS: Glycolic acid, lactic acid, atlantic sea kelp, lemon peel oil, witch hazel, salicylic acid
WHY WE LOVE IT: An all-over body serum that works while you sleep
Jacq’s founder, Barbara Jacques, believes women of color deserve better products that are clean, inclusive and effective.
Her journey started after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. This sparked an awareness of the toxic ingredients in her everyday skincare products. Then, she tapped into her Caribbean roots to create a skincare line with skin-loving organic ingredients like rosehip oil, papaya extract, ginger and more.
Jacq’s products are 100% vegan, clean and cruelty-free and come at affordable prices to boot.
What makes them sustainable: Jacq’s skincare is crafted with organic ingredients sourced locally from around Florida. They also have The Dirty 30 Guarantee, which is a list of 30 harmful chemicals that you’ll never find in their products.
Star product: Check out Jacq’s Nourishing Face Moisturizer, which delivers a dose of peptides, fatty acids and potent herbal extracts for all skin types.
Nourishing Face Moisturizer 2oz | 60g
This non-greasy, lightweight moisturizer works to hydrate your skin and soothe any irritation. Jam-packed with antioxidants and plant oils, it promotes skin healing and cell regeneration.
PERFECT FOR: Congested, oily or acne-prone skin
SKIN BENEFITS: Moisturizing, hydrating, calming, healing
KEY INGREDIENTS: Sunflower seed oil, coconut oil, yucca extract, yarrow extract, rosehip oil
WHY WE LOVE IT: Lemongrass-scented which smells amazing
Shea butter, African black soap and lavender oil are just some of the delightful natural ingredients found in Shimirose’s homemade products. We love their wide variety of body butters, body soaps and lip balm. They are guaranteed to leave you with smooth and deeply-moisturized skin.
What makes them sustainable: All the brand’s products are handmade by a community of women in Northern Ghana. Furthermore, the artisans receive fair wages to support their families. Shimirose also ensures that there’s low carbon footprint when shipping in large bulk quantities. They also use sustainable materials like glass and aluminum for their packaging.
Star product: Try their Lemon Shea Butter Body Butter with 100% shea butter and a refreshing lemon scent.
Nku Lemon Shea Butter Body Cream 8.8oz | 250g
This natural moisturizer is a fusion of Ghanian shea and lemon essential oil. The citrus-scented cream gives you a super soft, glowing skin. Also, you only need a little scoop to coat your body, giving you a bang for your buck.
PERFECT FOR: All skin types, especially dry
SKIN BENEFITS: Moisturizing, anti-microbial
KEY INGREDIENTS: Natural shea butter, lemon essential oil
WHY WE LOVE IT: A little goes a long way
USE: As needed
Humanrace by Pharrell Williams puts ‘health and wellbeing’ at the center of its operations. As such, the brand is very intentional with their formulations and production process. Being a relatively new brand, they currently offer a tight selection of products you’d need for a simple cleanse-exfoliate-moisturize skincare routine.
Their green packaging not only highlights that they’re environmental friendly, but it also makes them genderless. This relays their message to all humans from all walks of life to take care of themselves through skincare. Finally, all their products are vegan, cruelty-free and fragrance-free.
What makes them sustainable: Each bottle is made of at least 51% post-consumer recycled plastic. All outer cartons are FSC-certified and printed with non-toxic vegetable dyes. Better yet, their bottles are refillable, reducing the need for single use materials.
Star product: The Rice Powder Cleanser is a powder-to-foam formula that deeply cleanses without stripping. It promotes low-water usage, meaning that the bottle’s lighter to ship which requires less energy.
Rice Powder Cleanser 1.4oz | 40g
A powder-to-foam exfoliating cleanser that lathers when you add water. Not only does it cleanse, it also detoxifies your pores, reduces inflammation and infuses your skin with moisture.
PERFECT FOR: All skin types, especially sensitive
SKIN BENEFITS: Cleansing, detoxifying, moisturizing, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory
KEY INGREDIENTS: Rice powder, fruit AHAs, kaolin clay, snow mushroom extract, geranium extract
WHY WE LOVE IT: A truly innovative low-water formula
USE: Day and night