A new class of

Black beauty


reform and

redefine the


Words by Kailyn Brown, Pier Duncan

Illustrations by Richard A. Chance

The Black beauty industry has a rich history—from the pioneering hair care products of Madam C.J. Walker in the early 1900s to the visionary example of Fashion Fair Cosmetics in the late 20th century. Black beauty entrepreneurs have built empires by serving the skin and hair needs of melanated people overlooked by mainstream brands.

Today, a new wave of Black beauty entrepreneurs are proving that the industry’s future will be even more promising than its past. It’s estimated that Black hair care was a $2.51 billion industry in 2018, and Black beauty trends are also driving the growth and revolution of the mainstream beauty industry. From DIY, at-home personal care trends to ultra-niche products, “Black beauty brands are emerging to solve problems and fill gaps in the industry that are specific to the needs of Black women and women of color,” says Jessica Couch, co-founder of Fayetteville Road, LLC, a consulting firm that leverages technology and data to connect brands and retailers with consumers, particularly women of color and niche markets.

And lest you think that Black beauty is a women’s-only market, Estée Lauder executive Amanda Jones Faoye says, “The biggest emerging consumer opportunity is Black men in the skincare and makeup categories.”

Read on for more inspiration, insights, and opportunities from leading beauty-brand founders and executives.

1-On-1 with a Beauty Boss

Words by Pier Duncan

Amanda Jones Faoye is Executive Director, Product Marketing for Estée Lauder North America, a long-established international makeup, skincare, hair care, and fragrance manufacturer, which encompasses a diverse array of brands. Prior to joining Estée Lauder, she served as Senior Global Brand Manager at COVERGIRL, and has previously led merchandising and buying efforts at Walmart and Macy’s. 

Pier Duncan spoke to Jones Faoye about the current state of the beauty industry, her favorite Black-owned brands, and where she sees the industry headed.

Pier Duncan: How would you describe the current state of the Beauty industry? 

Amanda Jones Faoye: While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed some categories down, the focus on self-care and natural, no-fuss looks infused growth in categories like at-home hair care, skincare, and at-home nail care. As consumers are starting to realize a new normal, we are now experiencing a recovery of makeup categories like foundation and lipstick that were previously suppressed under constant mask-wearing and quarantines. Industry experts are referring to it as the Roaring 20s (yes, again!). Consumers are getting back to the little and big moments that matter and are looking to renew their beauty routines.

Duncan: Who are some Black beauty founders or individuals that we should know about? 

Jones Faoye: Some of my favorites include:

·Cora and Stefan Miller, founders of Young King Hair Care. Inspired by their son, they created a hair care line to help Black and brown boys find confidence in their natural curls. The products are formulated with highly effective, natural, and plant-based ingredients, and marketed directly for boys in a beauty industry that's traditionally targeted for women. A great example of a purpose-driven brand that is rapidly growing due to its authenticity and ability to fill the needs of an underserved market. You can find it at Target and Walmart!

·Esi Eggleston Bracey, EVP and COO Unilever Beauty and Personal Care North America. As the leader of some of the world's most recognized personal-care brands, Esi is the brain behind Dove's the CROWN Act. If you haven't heard of it, the CROWN Act stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. That's right, we needed actual legislation because in the US, the law in many states does not currently afford protection for race-based hair discrimination. Esi's creation, and ongoing advancement of the CROWN Act, is bringing meaningful change to this country—and meaningful value to the Dove brand. I'll say it again, consumers love a brand with a higher purpose!

·Dorian Morris, Founder and (Sh)EO of Undefined Beauty. Dorian is on a mission to democratize and destigmatize plant-based solutions (read: CBD) in beauty. But even more exciting, she partners exclusively with female-founded, minority-owned, or LGBTQ businesses for every part of her business, from manufacturing to marketing. You're getting the point? Brands with purpose are the WAVE! You can find Undefined Beauty at select Whole Foods.

“Consumers are getting back to the little and big moments that matter and are looking to renew their beauty routines.”

Duncan: What is the future of the Black beauty industry?

Jones Faoye: There is still a lot of growth on the horizon for the Black beauty industry. In 2020, we saw an increased focus on promoting Black beauty brands among power retailers like Target, Walmart, Sephora, and Ulta, and I don't anticipate any slowing down. Why? Because Black beauty brands have shown to have a deep and meaningful purpose, and are building quality products that are intentionally solving for previously unmet needs. BIPOC consumers have gone from shopping in despair, not finding anything that worked for them, to roaming the shopping aisles or websites shopping with pride. Going forward, we should anticipate more capital available to Black beauty entrepreneurs, more traditional consumer packaged goods companies creating and investing in sub-brands that target BIPOC consumers (e.g., Mele Skincare from Unilever or NOU hair care from Procter & Gamble), and more refined and relevant messaging from traditional beauty brands.

Duncan: What predictions do you have for how Black beauty will look, change, and feel in 2022?

Jones Faoye: We will continue to see more inclusion and diversity across attributes outside of just skin tone. Brands are recognizing that they have to go beyond skin tone to really connect with consumers on a meaningful and emotional level. Consumers need to see their own style, their own hair, their own body type, their own culture, their own gender identity, their own values and beliefs (and beyond) represented to feel connected and influenced to support a brand. This mandate from consumers is forcing brands to go to market differently and be more radical in their approach vs. the traditional beauty marketing norms we are all used to seeing. And further, this mandate continues to put pressure on brands to employ diverse hiring practices, resulting in the prospect for more authentic brands across the board.

Duncan: What trends are you excited about?

Jones Faoye: I'm most excited about the trends of conscious and clean beauty evolving into holistic beauty and wellness, as well as the continued focus on embracing imperfections and using beauty to enhance natural beauty rather than covering it up. Together, these two trends feel like we are heading towards a more purpose-driven industry and moving out of the superficial beauty norms that have had the industry in a chokehold for decades.

Amanda Jones Faoye, Executive Director, Product Marketing for Estée Lauder North America

Inspired by her patients, oculofacial plastic surgeon Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton created a science-based skincare line for holistic beauty

Words by Kailyn Brown

For Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, starting one business—let alone two—within the beauty space was never a part of her plan. 

Shortly after becoming a board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon and working for other practices for a couple of years, Dr. Jeanniton quickly realized that working under other people’s guidelines wasn’t the pathway for her. With limited resources and capital, she decided to launch her first business, Brooklyn Face & Eye, in 2016, where she specializes in face and eye aesthetics. 

While in the treatment room, where she offers services that range from botox to chemical peels, Dr. Jeanniton encountered several patients who often gave her blank stares of confusion when she recommended products to use for their skin concerns. 

“When I delved into why [people were confused], it was because [the products] weren’t fun,” she says. “They didn't feel good. And so much of what we crave out of skincare is like pleasure and a sensorial experience. So it got me thinking, there is this crazy divide. Like, why is it that the stuff that's good for you lives on one shelf and the stuff that feels good for you lives on another?”

Photo provided by epi.logic
Photo provided by epi.logic
"Why is it that the stuff that's good for you lives on one shelf and the stuff that feels good for you lives on another?"
Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton, Founder of epi.logic

She began to ruminate on a way that she could make her own line of skincare products that would not only be backed by science, but would also appeal to each of a person’s senses—from its natural scent to the way it feels on the skin and the look of the packaging. 

Her answer was epi.logic, a benefits-based skincare line, which she launched in October 2019. Dr. Jeanniton’s extensive product line, which is meant to fulfill a full skincare routine, includes a rosehip gel cleanser, collagen-renew growth serum, a night repair eye cream, and more. Each of her products are vibrantly colored and naturally scented with no artificial fragrances. They live in attractive glass packaging that leans toward self-care rather than clinical care. Dr. Jeanniton says that what excites her the most about the beauty industry right now is how much more inclusive skincare brands are trying to be. 

“My only hope is that it is not a trend and that it's really going to be a lasting change in terms of really making sure that all skin tones are represented in both clinical research and testing and product formulation,” she says. 

“It’s clear that skin of color has been neglected for far too long, and the industry is starting to see that, and I'm just hoping that it's actually an earnest change rather than a flash in the pan for the moment.”


Rebundle is creating a clean beauty and protective hairstyle revolution by replacing plastic synthetic hair extensions with plant-based alternatives 

Words by Kailyn Brown

Ciara Imani May created Rebundle—a startup social enterprise that creates plant-based hair products and recycles used synthetic hair—for Black women like her. 

After deciding to grow out her natural hair in 2019, the 27-year-old entrepreneur started rocking braids regularly. However, she found that they made her scalp red, itchy, and inflamed—an issue that 1 in 3 women experience from wearing plastic synthetic hair often used in protective hairstyles such as braids and twists. 

This led her down a rabbit hole of research to better understand what types of artificial products were being used in traditional Kanekalon hair, a popular type of synthetic hair that resembles the natural pattern of Afro-textured hair and is the most commonly used for protective hairstyles. The name “Kanekalon”—a word that is universally understood at any beauty supply—was trademarked by Kaneka, an Osaka-based chemical-manufacturing company founded in 1949.  

May began sending synthetic hair products to labs to be tested and learned of the toxic chemicals used, which caused the adverse effects that she’d been experiencing. She also started researching ways to prevent waste after discovering that plastic synthetic hair has accumulated millions of pounds of waste worldwide. 

In January 2021, May released her first product, “braid better by Rebundle” hair, which uses fibers that are extracted from byproducts of banana stems that usually go to waste. The texture of the hair is similar to Kanekalon hair, but is much better for the environment. Since launching, Rebundle offers six colors of braiding hair, all of which sell out incredibly fast every time they are restocked. The company recently announced that it has raised $1.4 million in venture capital.

As a new thought leader in the beauty space, May says that finding ways to be sustainable within your business should be a central point.

“I think that there are a lot of spaces and products that need sustainability trends added to them,” she says. “So you know, just pick one and go from there. There's so much room for all of us to improve.”

Ciara Imani May, CEO and Founder of Rebundle

The views and opinions expressed in the articles and quotes on this page are those of the speakers or authors.


We asked rising beauty brand founders to share their insights and predictions on the emerging trends, innovations, and business opportunities that will shape Black beauty and skincare in 2022.

Digital Meets Physical

“There's been a tug-of-war in years past as to whether e-commerce or retail was the winning formula, and a lot of brands are showing that you can have it all. Holly Hall started a partnership with JCPenney in October with the launch of their JCPenney Beauty concept. It's been fun to see our brand live both online and in-store.” 

Justin Moore, Founder, Holly Hall Supply Co. 

You Should Know: The JCPenney Beauty concept is a retail strategy developed in partnership with Thirteen Lune, an inclusive e-commerce platform, to bring mostly BIPOC-owned brands in-store to 10 JCPenney locations around the country.

Bye-Bye Beat Face, Hello Skinimalism

“I am truly excited for skinimalism [the less-is-more beauty and skincare approach that offers an alternative to the heavily made-up “full-beat face” trend of the past decade]. While we all went through an era of everyone achieving the overly beat face and overtaking their faces with banana powder, I love that Ayele & Co. embraced the ‘no-makeup makeup’ look and ‘glass skin’ look. This is pushing people to care more about their skin even when makeup isn’t involved.”

Danielle Ambrose, Founder, Ayele & Co. 

Beauty for the Brothas

“The biggest emerging consumer opportunity is Black men in the skincare and makeup categories. The negative stereotypes around Black men using beauty products are becoming less prominent, and Black men are less ashamed of investing in quality beauty products to up their self-care game. While gender norms in beauty began to shift around 2017, the current imagery we see of Black men in makeup and skincare marketing is monolithic. There is an underserved segment of makeup/skincare-curious men who view themselves as more masculine, and they represent a huge opportunity.”

Amanda Jones Faoye, Executive Director, Product Marketing, Estée Lauder North America

Clean Beauty

“Self-care is trending but I hope it’s more than a trend, and that women continue to prioritize their well-being within beauty. I’m also excited about the trend towards skincare and truly understanding ingredient functions and benefits. Customers are smarter than ever, and I’m excited about the true benefits of products outshining marketing.”

Malaika Jones, CEO & Founder, BROWN GIRL Jane 

“When it comes to skincare, more people are becoming aware of what they use on their skin. EWG’s Skin Deep is becoming popular as a resource for ingredient transparency, helping consumers look into their skincare products' ingredients.” 

Danielle Ambrose, Founder, Ayele & Co.

Diverse Products > Diverse Marketing

“We see the emphasis shifting away from ‘marketing diversity’ to a more pure focus on solution-based marketing and product efficacy. We’ve said from the beginning that diversity is not a strategy. So, as the market continues to evolve and we learn more about women of color as consumers, [their] motivations, needs, and desires, we are excited to see customer loyalty shift away from conglomerates and mainstays toward niche products and emerging brands.”

Brittany Hicks, Co-Founder, Fayetteville Road LLC

“Black beauty brands are emerging to solve problems and fill gaps in the industry that are specific to the needs of Black women and women of color. These issues include hyper-pigmentation, hypo-pigmentation, dry skin, dark stretch marks, and variation in undertones for different skin complexions. For hair texture differences, Black-owned brands are going beyond products that are focused on ‘dry/frizzy/kinky’ that mainstream brands focus on.”    

Jessica Couch, Co-Founder, Fayetteville Road LLC

More Investment

“We started the #BrownGirlSwap, which was an initiative that has since turned into a movement. Along the way, and in partnership with our amazing friends at SheaMoisture, we started a grant fund that has awarded $405K to other indie, Black women-owned beauty brands.”

Malaika Jones, CEO & Founder, BROWN GIRL Jane 

“Niche brands need funding from investors to continue to make products and maintain a growing supply chain and, in line with the Fifteen Percent Pledge, retailers need to designate actual shelf space for Black-owned businesses. Finally, Black brands need the ability to access resources such as consultants and other experts to help get their brands into the right stores or directly to their target customer.”

Jessica Couch, Co-Founder, Fayetteville Road LLC

You Should Know: The Fifteen Percent Pledge was originally a social media campaign led by Brother Vellies designer Aurora James to harness the surge of corporate interest in economic equality in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests. Now organized as a foundation, the Fifteen Percent Pledge has over 25 retail giants including Macy's, Ulta Beauty, and Sephora, that have committed to dedicating at least 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.

Brands They Love

“I adore Alicia Scott of Range Beauty and Kitiya King of Mischo Beauty. Range Beauty is a foundation and color cosmetics company that addresses sensitive skin and has the most luxurious, smooth foundations ever. Mischo is a clean nail polish brand with such amazing shades and a flawless finish. And both founders are absolute superstars. I have no doubt we’ll all be hearing a lot more from them soon.”

Malaika Jones, CEO & Founder, BROWN GIRL Jane 

“Chanel Tyler (IG: @BuyMeChanel) is a skincare enthusiast/social media influencer who does a great job of weaving skincare into her life as a professional and new mother. I love how she shows that skincare is one part of a multi-faceted life.” 

Justin Moore, Founder, Holly Hall Supply Co. 

“Black-owned brands and companies I’m excited about include digital beauty retailer AMP Beauty LA; Sienna Naturals for hair; Spraise and London Grant for skincare; Àuda.B for nails; and  AJ Crimson for makeup.”

Jessica Couch, Co-Founder, Fayetteville Road LLC

“I do believe we should pay attention to Jamika Rose of Rosen Skincare, Lesley Thornton of KLUR, and Evelyn Leigh of Get Leighed Cosmetics. These women have brought innovation to the market and continue to thrive by presenting us with new products that I’ve grown to love using on my skin.” 

Danielle Ambrose, Founder, Ayele & Co.


Justin Moore is Founder of Holly Hall Supply Co., a Houston–based company that creates and sells dermatologist-developed skincare and shaving products. Holly Hall products have been featured in Forbes and Men’s Health magazines, and can currently be found in select JCPenney locations nationwide.

Malaika Jones is CEO and Founder of BROWN GIRL Jane, a plant-based wellness and beauty company focusing on women of color. The company’s offerings, featured in publications such as The New York Times, Essence, and Black Enterprise include high-quality, hemp-infused skincare, fragrances, and candles, available as either one-time purchases or by subscription. 

Brittany Hicks and Jessica Couch are Co-Founders of Fayetteville Road LLC, a consulting firm that leverages technology and data to connect brands and retailers with consumers, particularly women of color and niche markets. Fayetteville Road includes social imprint WOC Worldwide, which develops original content and produces events for women of color at the intersection of creative and technological careers.

Danielle Ambrose is Founder of Ayele & Co, a natural skincare brand featuring organic, cruelty-free products emphasizing inclusivity and affordability.