Just in time for Earth Day 2023 (April 22), we’re sharing seven environmentally-friendly beauty brands all owned by women of color. These brands are known for products that are far from boring—plus they’ll help you look and smell great while still making positive changes for our planet.
This is an issue that’s important year-round, not just in April. Whether it means taking our own shopping bags to the grocery store, carrying a reusable water bottle, or setting up recycling bins in our homes, we all try to do our part to preserve the Earth’s natural resources. And rightfully so. From global warming and food scarcity to rising carbon emissions, our collective abuse of the planet’s natural resources is dangerous. Furthermore, the people in America most impacted by climate change are Black, Hispanic, and Latinx communities—who are statistically less likely to be responsible for climate harm. Environmental racism may be real but so are the Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous women who are intentionally doing something about it through their creative talents.
From haircare, skincare, makeup, and even nailcare, the Earth will be happier that you have these sleek, sexy, and sustainable brands on your radar. You’re welcome!
Ami Colé, Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye
N’Diaye-Mbaye grew up admiring the elegant Black women she would see in her mother’s Harlem hair braiding salon. Unfortunately, these women weren’t reflected in the magazines and catalogs she saw as an impressionable teenage girl. Now, the former marketing professional ensures young girls and women with dark skin feel seen and celebrated through her beauty company, Ami Colé. Named after her mom and inspired by her Senegalese roots, Ami Cole carries clean products for the eyes, lips and skin. Their Lip Treatment Oil is beloved for flattering a wide range of complexions. Ami Colé was named the newcomer-of-the-year by Women’s Wear Daily, and a beauty innovator by Refinery29. The brand aims to be “better to Mother Earth” by not using endocrine disruptors in formulations, using less plastic, and incorporating more materials that are reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable.
Brown Girl Jane, Tai Beauchamp, Malaika Jones, and Nia Jones
Brown Girl Jane is a collective of ethically-sourced, cruelty-free, and vegan fine fragrances created by a trio of African American women. The brand’s sexy scents have names like Dare, Dusk and Dawn. Winner of the Best in Beauty Awards by InStyle, Allure and Popsugar, Brown Girl Jane’s mission is to make fragrance functional and supercharged for self-care. The company’s three founders, Tai Beauchamp, Malaika Jones and Nia Jones, are all Spelman College graduates with unique but equally impressive backgrounds. Inspired by the richness of diversity, their solution-forward products are powered by clean, clinically-studied ingredients and are luxuriously formulated to celebrate and support modern women.
Ceremonia, Babba Rivera
A clean haircare brand rooted in her Latinx culture, Ceremonia, was created by founder Babba Rivera to celebrate the richness of Latin culture. Babba was raised in Sweden but both of her parents are from Chile. She grew up in a Spanish-speaking household hearing salsa playing on repeat while her hairdresser father would regularly braid her hair in their living room. Meaning “ceremony” in English, Ceremonia is filled with nutrient-rich raw ingredients straight from nature, like aloe vera, avocado oil, chia seed oil, and tamarind extract. The Guava Leave-In Conditioner is a crowd favorite and boasts the premium hydration qualities that wavy, curly, and kinky hair craves. At the intersection of farms and labs, Babba and her team have created original clean formulas free of silicones, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, artificial colorants, and a long list of other not-so-great ingredients often found in conventional beauty products.
Cheekbone Beauty, Jenn Harper
Created by Anishinaabe Canadian Jenn Harper, Cheekbone Beauty celebrates Indigenous people’s deep connection to nature and the land they live on; it focuses on using sustainably-sourced ingredients and minimal waste packaging. Throughout her life, Harper struggled to accept her Indigenous roots. Now, Cheekbone Beauty is the very first Indigenous-owned and founded cosmetics company. The brand’s fan-favorite Sustain Lipsticks come in a tube made with 85% less plastic, plus biodegradable paper printed with vegetable dyes. Rounding out the collection are innovative products for the eyes, face, and even sleek tools for application and storage.
Nopalera, Sandra Velasquez
Raised by Mexican immigrant parents on the United States/Mexican border, Nopalera founder Sandra Velasquez created the body care company, Nopalera, as a celebration of her Latina culture. The bold entrepreneur, who appeared on the television series Shark Tank, proudly pays tribute to her Mexican roots in every cactus soap, botanical bar, and exfoliant in her clean, luxury brand. Nopalera takes inspiration from the nopal cactus, an ancient symbol in Mexican culture and one of the most sustainable and nourishing plants in the world. It can be used to hydrate our skin and hair; making it the perfect anchor for Velasquez’s vision. Best-sellers of the collection include the Cactus Flower Exfoliant in Hibiscus and the Flor de Mayo Moisturizing Botanical Bar which are both palm oil free, vegan and cruelty-free.
Pear Nova, Rachel James
An ambitious African American woman with her finger (literally) on the pulse of beauty trends, Rachel James developed a love for nail polish while giving her mother manicures and pedicures as a child growing up in Chicago. She noticed a void in the representation of medium to dark skin tones in the nail world and thus became committed to changing that with her nailcare collection, Pear Nova. The lacquers each sport a cheeky take on a memorable name, like Michelle Our Mama and Cleo F*ckin Patra, and are vegan, cruelty, and 10 free, which means they don’t contain toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, DBP, xylene, parabens, fragrances, phthalates or animal ingredients. We see why the brand snagged a spot on Oprah’s coveted “Favorite Things List in 2020.”
WYLD, Joy Yap
Growing up in Malaysia, Joy Yap had a rare skin condition called ichthyosis, which resulted in extremely dry and flaky skin. This condition, which negatively affected Yap’s confidence, ultimately led the former corporate technology professional to create WYLD Skincare, which stands for “what you love doing.” The brand is made up of innovative products that are wildly (no pun intended) effective yet gentle to our planet. Their team of highly experienced chemists specialize in clean skin care formulations with a focus on organic and plant-based ingredients. Customers swear by their mineral and vitamin-rich Charcoal Konjac Sponge and the Magnesium Bali Bath Soak, which is infused with coconut milk and lemongrass. With an unwavering mission of sustainability and wellness, WYLD is dedicated to going beyond the brand, and to building a movement that empowers, inspires, and elevates.