The Soulhaus
Category: Lifestyle

The Beauty Revolution: Black-Owned Beauty Brands Redefining The Standard

Black-owned beauty brands have emerged as pioneers in the beauty industry, setting new standards and dominating the social media landscape. Their meteoric rise and continued success have reshaped the beauty space, proving that there is immense potential to thrive in an ever-evolving and competitive market, all while inspiring a new generation of beauty companies to follow in their footsteps. These brands have not only diversified the market, but have set a powerful example for others to follow, ensuring that beauty is truly for everyone. 

We have come a long way from a time when established luxury beauty players, steeped in heritage, wielded significant influence through strategic maneuvers within the industry. Today, we are immersed in an age marked by assertive and vocal consumers who have risen to shatter glass ceilings. In this evolving beauty landscape, it is strongly evident that Black-owned beauty brands have taken on a central and pivotal role. Their rise and impact emphasize a fundamental transformation in the beauty industry, molding modern beauty norms.

In today’s evolving beauty landscape, the rise and impact of Black-owned beauty brands emphasize a fundamental transformation, shifting the influence of established luxury beauty players and reflecting an age marked by assertive and vocal consumers.


In September 2017, the internet buzzed with excitement ignited by the groundbreaking introduction of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand, which triggered a profound change within the beauty industry. Rihanna, alongside other notable figures, played a leading role in ushering in a new era of visionary brands. Setting itself apart by offering an impressive selection of 40 foundation shades, the brand celebrated the virtues of versatility and comprehensive shade ranges, breaking free from the constraints of conventional beauty product offerings.  

Today, for anyone that decides to dive into the extensive archives of media, a noteworthy pattern emerges: Black beauty consumers would regularly express the difficulties they face in finding makeup shades that suit their specific skin tones. This concern is a recurring theme in various discussions. For instance, in the mid 2000s when prominent Black figures like Beyoncé Knowles were featured in compelling advertisements for big beauty brands like L’Oréal wearing makeup shades that significantly contrasted with their natural skin tones, it sparked questions about the authenticity of representation within the beauty industry. In addition to this, everything from the lack of sunscreens specifically designed for the distinct skin care needs of Black women to the ongoing underrepresentation of Black models have brought us to this present heightened  moment of redefining the very essence of beauty.

The Gamechangers:

Pat McGrath Labs

Admired by beauty enthusiasts worldwide, the revered figure known as “Mother” — none other than Pat McGrath — stands as a self-made billionaire and a seasoned luminary in the realm of beauty. McGrath consistently leads the way during each Fashion Week season, overseeing more than 60 shows and significantly influencing the makeup trends seen on runways (notably contributing to the rise of the captivating “Euphoria” makeup aesthetic ). McGrath’s brand has and will continue to push the boundaries by disrupting traditional marketing methods with strategic partnerships.

This past October, the brand collaborated with Google creating an augmented reality pop-up experience where customers could virtually try on the brand’s lip and eyeshadow products, book a makeup session with Pat McGrath, and shop the collection. At the core of Pat McGrath Labs lies a legacy spanning over three decades. Pat McGrath’s story is an inspiring narrative, rooted in her earliest days of experimenting with makeup. She honed her craft by experimenting with new formulations, blending pigments, and adjusting shades to harmonize with her unique skin tone. From its inception, the brand has operated as a harbinger of change, recognizing the imperative need for diversity. During the 1970s and 1980s, makeup options remained staunchly entrenched in European beauty ideals, a paradigm that Pat McGrath fearlessly confronted. Her inspirations have included renowned supermodels such as Beverly Johnson, Naomi Campbell, and Duckie Thot, in addition to numerous triumphant partnerships with prestigious fashion houses like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. McGrath’s influence extends far beyond cosmetics, as her history of work defied the status quo of those times and has continued to evolve in the ever-changing world of beauty.

OUI the People

OUI the People stands as a beacon of change within the culture and empowerment. Founded by Karen Young in 2015, this innovative Black-owned beauty brand has redefined the language of beauty, sparking a transformation in the way many have perceived themselves.  A journey that began by revisiting the advertisements of yesteryears, OUI the People has paved the way for a future where beauty is not confined to a single, narrow narrative. When taking a closer look at the origins of this brand, Young delved into the history of beauty advertising, examining the era spanning from the 1950s onwards. What she found within the pages of those vintage advertisements was a persistent message that had endured over the years: you are unlovable unless you adhere to these rigid, frequently unattainable, beauty standards. This message, firmly embedded in the core of the entire industry, would encourage self-reflection. Surprisingly, all of the items during the time were exclusively associated with women’s beauty products. This discovery highlighted how deeply ingrained the messages of beauty standards and the lack of options were within both the beauty industry and the Black community, underscoring the widespread nature of this issue.

At the core of OUI the People’s mission is the conviction that beauty should not harm our mental well-being. Instead of pursuing an unattainable ideal of flawlessness, the brand chose to focus its efforts on crafting effective products, carefully designed to boost your confidence in your own skin. This represents a shift from the idea of “fixing” oneself to “celebrating” one’s natural beauty. By offering top-selling skincare products such as the “Sensitive Skin Razor,” “Prebiotic Lotion,” and “Lactic Acid Body Wash,” the brand ensures that melanin-rich skin remains hydrated and vibrant like never before. Oui the People’s continued success can be attributed in part to its skilled and strategic use of social media. The brand leverages platforms like Instagram and TikTok to create a vibrant online community centered around self-love, empowerment, and inclusivity.


It’s abundantly clear that the age-old concept of beauty has transformed into a science. This evolution in the beauty industry, marked by innovative approaches and scientific rigor, has given rise to Topicals, a skincare brand that embodies this paradigm shift. With a distinguished advisory board guiding its path, Topicals is not merely addressing skincare concerns; its commitment to quality skincare products is unwavering. The brand exclusively employs ingredients and botanicals with a foundation in scientific validation, proven through third-party, peer-reviewed clinical research. Its formulations are developed in collaboration with its esteemed scientific advisory board, ensuring the utmost precision when it comes to dealing with commonly addressed skin issues amongst Black women and men like hyperpigmentation and eczema. Topicals consistently refines its formulations, incorporating customer feedback and staying up to date with the latest clinical discoveries. The brand’s primary aim is to ensure that its products are effective, efficient, and gentle on all skin types. Adhering to high quality standards, Topicals products do not contain dyes, and the brand is firmly against any form of animal testing.

When it comes to the visionary insight behind the brand, Olamide Olowe identified a critical void in the skincare market, prompting her to embark on a journey that would ultimately redefine the boundaries of self-care. In an impressive feat, Olowe secured $10 million in funding through a successful venture financing round. This achievement not only speaks to the brand’s merit, but also places Olowe in a category of her own, as the youngest Black woman to have ever raised more than $2 million in venture funding. The significance of this milestone extends far beyond the financial realm; it is a testament to breaking barriers within the world of entrepreneurship.

When it comes to marketing in an age where digital media often distorts reality, Topicals has initiated innovative campaigns aimed at challenging the prevailing notion of unattainable beauty standards. Through a partnership with the creative studio ‘The Digital Fairy,’ the brand has launched campaigns that strongly resonate with the contemporary consumer. It cleverly utilizes social media platforms and billboards to provide a genuine perspective on skincare. The timing of these campaigns is particularly apt, given the widespread use of filters and the perpetuation of unrealistic beauty ideals on social media platforms. These factors have led to heightened feelings of insecurity among frequent social media users. Topicals’ brand strategy signifies a refreshing shift away from this trend, asserting that genuine beauty goes beyond the superficiality of filters and digitally-manipulated perfection.

A Note for the Newcomers: 

To the emerging Black beauty brands seeking to make their mark, the path to revolution begins with authenticity. Embrace your roots, values, and the diversity of your audience, for authenticity is a potent force that resonates deeply. Representation is paramount; create a platform that champions the multiplicity of beauty across different shades, shapes, and identities. Continue to redefine beauty norms. Pave the way for a future that truly reflects individuality and the true essence of beauty in all its glory.