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Artists' Choice: 16 Brands Black Beauty Experts Always Keep in Their Kits


August is National Black Business Month, and while we love celebrating our favorite Black artists and Black-owned beauty brands all 365 days of the year, we felt it was an especially opportune time to shine a spotlight on some of the beauty industry's best artistic talent and the Black-owned businesses and products they love, consistently use, and recommend to friends, family, A-list clients, and, of course, you! 

Below, we asked leading hairstylists and makeup artists (who regularly work with the glamorous likes of Tracee Ellis Ross, Naomi Campbell, Gabrielle Union, Laverne Cox, and so many more) which Black-owned brands and formulas we'd regularly find tucked into their product kits, showers, and high-standard beauty regimens. Keep scrolling! Our panel of experts are sharing 16 Black-owned beauty brands you can support this month in honor of National Black Business Month and always. 

"Creamy and dreamy, the Dual Skin Creme Foundationis a must whenever I create a red carpet beauty look. I discovered this product when I wandered into the AJ Crimson atelier during my first award show season in Los Angeles back in 2016. The dapper AJ personally introduced me to this foundation, and I've been hooked ever since. The buildable, beeswax-based formula is rich, luminous, and photographs like a dream when you set it with your favorite powder." — Deja "The Lady Deja" Smith, celebrity makeup artist

"I'm also obsessed with the hours-long wear of his S+M Matte Liquid Lipstick. This particular formulation of liquid lipstick is comfortable and has the perfect-size applicator for full lips like mine. Everyone should have the signature red, Ruby Who?" — Smith

"Pat McGrath Labs is really tailored to the needs of working makeup artists. As a young devotee of Fashion Television, a touchstone of my passion for beauty was watching the backstage interviews from beautiful Black Motha Pat McGrath. Fast-forward to the launch of her brand, and I couldn't have been any happier with the luxe experience of her packaging and products. The MatteTrance Lipstickwas the first to catch my attention with its creamy, yet opaque, formulation." — Smith

"The intensely pigmented shades inside this palette are easy to manipulate with your fingers or a brush, wet or dry, to achieve your desired attention-grabbing gaze." — Smith

"My newest must-have item, however, is the FetishEyes Lengthening Mascarabecause the super-black pigment easily builds from defined, ultra-long length to a thick and voluminous effect that still manages to maintain lash separation coat after coat. I can't wait to try her newest extreme black mascara, Dark Star Voluminizeing Mascara." — Smith

"Pattern's products are super, super thick, and they feel luxurious in their consistency, which is excellent for penetrating curls. I always recommend using the Hydration Shampoo and the Intensive Conditioner. I use the Hydration Shampoo for really dry, brittle, and damaged curls. Then, for ultra-hydration and repair, I follow with the Intensive Conditioner under heat or steam to open the cuticles, which helps deposit all of the nutrients." — Marcia Hamilton, celebrity hairstylist

"I love this brand because of its high performance, brand messaging, and oversized packaging. AND of course, it was created by my beloved Tracee Ellis Ross, whose glamour and beauty regimens have been an inspiration to most of us. This Edge Control is one of my favorite products—it's a maximum-hold product, but it’s not cakey, which is very important when doing sleek looks or even styling baby hair." — Nai'vasha, celebrity hairstylist

"I love this Strong Hold Gel because I can create so many refined looks, and it never flakes. That’s really tough to find when using strong gels." — Nai'vasha

"Who better to go to for all things curls than Tracee Ellis Ross? Aptly named, this brand is the best curly hair product on the market that really brings out and enhances my natural curl pattern. Pattern Beauty products are moisturizing and provide excellent curl separation and definition, so my natural curl pattern really shines. I use the Curl Gel immediately after I wash my hair while it’s still damp. I gently scrunch it into my curls so I don’t disturb the texture. Then I flip upside down and diffuse my hair until it's halfway dry.  The curl gel is my go-to because it provides all-day bounce!" — Tasha Reiko Brown, celebrity makeup artist

"For years, I've used and loved this Leave-In Conditioner. It’s always consistent, and it works great on natural curls as well as curly hair extensions." — Hamilton

"I've recently started using the Conditioning Cleansing Co-Wash on my own hair, and it's excellent. My hair feels soft but not filmy or sticky." — Hamilton

"Everything from Mielle Organics smells yummy and has tons of natural organic ingredients like sunflower seed oil, cocoa seed butter, rice bran water, and more. I always recommend the Mongongo Oil Protein-Free Hydrating Conditioner to restore shine to curly hair that has been overly heat styled." — Hamilton

"The Rice Water Clay Masque is amazing for detoxifying and removing impurities from the hair while infusing moisture." — Hamilton

"I love Flawless by Gabrielle Union. Not only am I a fan of the products, but I’m also co-owner. Gabrielle and I created the line for textured-hair consumers. We have 12 products, including a Hydrating Detangling Hair Shampoo, Hydrating Co-Wash Cleansing Hair Conditioner, and more." — Larry Sims, celebrity hairstylist

"I started as a salon stylist, and one of the leading brands in that setting is Design Essentials. They are innovative and smart with their product choices, and they're really a stylist's brand. The Compositions Foaming Lotion is a kit favorite for me because I can set any style and texture using this foam. It’s flake-free and residue-free. My roller sets and twist-outs result in a shiny finish." — Nai'vasha

"I love Design Essentials because it is a complete haircare line. They have everything one could possibly need. They do not discriminate when it comes to texture, and there is something for everyone. I incorporate the brand into my clients' haircare routine by starting them off with the shampoo and deep-conditioning masques. Then, once they see how incredible their hair feels afterward, I slowly work the styling products in to help make my job as a hairstylist easier." — Ro Morgan, celebrity hairstylist

"This is a vitamin A and C serum that improves skin’s clarity and texture while also diminishing blemishes and, most importantly, increasing decongestion of pores. And it smells divine!" — Autumn Moultrie, celebrity makeup artist

"This is a no-brainer for brown skin. It smells good, blends in easily, and it is affordable." — Moultrie

"With 2.2% encapsulated retinol, this serum boosts collagen production and improves cell turnover. It's excellent for diminishing fine lines, wrinkles, and acne scars. It also has 2% lactic acid, which brightens dull skin. It's a game changer." — Moultrie

"Unlike any other face scrub I have ever used, this face polish leaves your skin feeling like a baby’s bottom immediately. It has a combination of coffee beans from Kenya and sugar, and it is great for people who shy away from serums and want a physical scrub. This hero product is truly amazing. My husband steals this product from me and keeps it in his shower to use every other day." — Moultrie

"As a makeup artist, I spend the most time perfecting my canvas so I can use as little product as possible. Ingredients matter, and Pholk has delicious, time-tested, tried-and-true formulas. I cleanse every day with the Daily Detox Face Wash, and then I treat myself weekly to the GlowUp Mask With Apple + Hibiscus." — Reiko Brown

"When my skin is looking a little dull during colder months, I use the H2Oil Night Treatment Hemp x Hibiscus Night Oil along with the GlowUp Mask to hydrate overnight so I wake up to plump, moisturized skin." — Reiko Brown

"I love color—not an abundance of it—but a strong wash of 'you can't miss it' color on a face with clean skin is such a modern and elegant beauty look that has a spark of personality. Juvia's Place eye shadow palettes give me rich, bold, bright, quirky, and traditional primary colors that are creamy to apply and packed with pigment, so a little goes a long way. The creamy texture blends out the edges seamlessly onto lids so I can get a diffused wash of color with barely any need to blend." — Reiko Brown 

"To softly pair with bright lids, Juiva's Place also has the most gorgeous chocolate nude lipstick collection for deeper skin tones that give a hint of warmth while still being a true nude. I keep her palettes and lipsticks in heavy rotation in my kit." — Reiko Brown

"I love Danessa Myricks Beauty because her products are so versatile. One of my favorites is this beautiful pigmented cream called Colorfix 24-Hour Ceram Color. You can use it on the entire face, for eye shadow, lipstick, blush, and contour. Most importantly, however, it does not move! This also means that you need to work fast, but once it dries, its set for good. That kind of security in a product is priceless when you send your clients on the red carpet. It comes in small-squeeze tubes, which is perfect because you don’t risk cross-contamination by dipping any tools inside. This is really important when you're trying to keep your kit as clean as possible." — Jessica Smalls, celebrity makeup artist

"I love using the Love & Light Beauty Oils when I skin-prep on myself and my clients. I place a couple of drops into a serum and apply it to all the high points of the complexion like the cheekbone, brow bone, Cupid's bow, and the bridge of the nose. It creates a radiant glow from within, with and without foundation, for a really beautiful yet natural look." — Smalls

"Finding suitable grooming products for my Black male clients was always a struggle until I came across Scotch Porter. I love their products and their approach to masculine skincare, as well as healthy beard care. I appreciate that the products aren’t greasy or overly fragranced, which is important when grooming men. A favorite product is their Moisture Defend Face Lotion. It hydrates the skin while leaving a soft matte finish, which is perfect because shiny, greasy skin is a no-no for my clients who are on camera or for my fiancé when I’m making him take a million selfies." — Smalls

"They also have a Conditioning Beard Balm that’s the bomb! I rub about a dime- to a quarter-size amount in the palms of my hands and massage it into the beard. It makes the beard hair, which is often dry and coarse, feel really soft and manageable while treating the skin underneath to help keep ingrown hairs at bay. When we have enough time, I will part the beard with a comb and apply a thin layer of the balm directly to the skin for a deep-conditioning treatment. Or I just tell my clients to do this at home twice a week!" — Smalls

"I love the Detangling Brush by Felicia Leatherwood. It's amazing because it helps detangle even the tightest curls. This product is easy to work into my clients' haircare routine, and I always recommend they use the detangling brush once they apply their conditioner and leave-in conditioner. After my clients have seen the effortless glide of the brush and how it evenly distributes product throughout their hair, they are hooked!" — Morgan. Up next: Pat McGrath Labs Debuted the Buzziest Mascara of 2020—See Our Before-and-Afters