Launch Pad: Black-Owned Beauty Brands to Watch

James Manso

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D’Lashes Felt Tip Adhesive Eyeliner Pen

Available at dlashes.com, $18.50.

Eyelash expert Dionne Phillips has a clientele that ranges from Victoria Beckham to Viola Davis, and a salon with her name on it in Beverly Hills. However, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, she had to find a convenient way to bring her lashes to her housebound devotees following closures over safety concerns. The solution was her Felt Tip Adhesive Eyeliner, which launched on July 12 on D’Lashes’ own site, taking the mess and guesswork out of eyelash glue. “It made the space a little easier to transition from extensions to strip lashes for my clients,” she said.

The multipurpose formula is also nontoxic. “I wanted to make sure it was something different to offer, and the ingredients were a factor,” Phillips said. “I made sure the ingredients were clean: nontoxic, waterproof and no parabens.” She is also launching the formula in two more colors: brown and clear, but wanted to start off with just a dark offering. “I wanted to give a polished face because of my fashion background, and the black eyeliner gives that,” she said.

Habit Cosmetics Nontoxic Nail Polish

Available starting August 2020 in 14 new shades on habitcosmetics.com, $18.

Habit Cosmetics is expanding its clean nail polish offerings. The Malibu-based, nontoxic nail polish brand has made PETA-certified vegan, 10 toxin-free nail polishes (free of toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, camphor, TPP, DBP, isobutylphenoxy epoxy resin, xylene and parabens) since its founding in 2013, and is adding 14 shades to the array of colors in August. Each polish, which features myrrh extract to strengthen nails and is packaged in glass, bamboo, FSC-certified paperboard, and recycled plastic components, will be available on the brand’s site.

Aja Frierson, the brand’s founder, said each of her products takes around two years to formulate, having recently expanded into cheek tints and highlighters. Her line is also self-funded. “I always had the ambition to grow our line, but to focus on sustainable packaging and multitasking formulas,” she said. On that note, Frierson’s slow-and-steady approach often culminates in frustration. “It’s hard being a small brand because we always get praise on our formulations, which are made in California. We always hear that our formulations are great and our packaging is amazing, but that we don’t have brand recognition,” Frierson said.

Marie Hunter Beauty Fresh Glow Vitamin C Serum

Available on mariehunterbeauty.com for $54.

Skin care was always the top priority for Marie Hunter Beauty founder KéNisha Ruff, who launched her self-funded line in 2016 with 12 lipsticks. “I would’ve only been able to launch with one or two products, and with skin care, you need to invest a lot into marketing and people want to see instant gratification. Financially, I decided it wasn’t the best idea,” she said. Although she was able to mark her first launch into the category in 2018, with the help of feedback from her past color products, Ruff also launched a vitamin C serum in May.

A licensed cosmetologist, Ruff is no stranger to ingredient stories. The formula mimics her first serum, a hyaluronic acid serum, but also features citrus stem cells to boost elasticity and Caribbean orange oil for fragrance alongside the vitamin C. With ‘Fresh Glow,’ I wanted to address age spots, hyperpigmentation, and even the skin tone. It’s a two-in-one product,” she said. During formulation, Ruff also left out gluten, parabens, silicones, sulfates and talc. 

Danessa Myricks Beauty Vision Flush

Available in 12 shades at danessamyricksbeauty.com for $20.

Danessa Myricks first found her love of makeup when she got laid off from a corporate job, but an immediate white space jumped out to her when she entered the beauty world. “I found myself doing a lot of education for hair professionals. I fell in love with education, but I found it was really hard to create a list of products they can use to work on anyone,” Myricks said. Now, multiuse formulas that work on all tones are Myricks’ forte. With Vision Flush, an eye, cheek and lip tint she launched on June 15 in 12 shades, she wanted to offer a professional-grade, multiuse product. “I wanted something for a one-and-done look,” she said.

The product, which can be blended either with the doe-foot applicator or a finger, also builds in pores and fine lines in a matte finish. “What I found is that creams are easy to blend, but scary for people, and the powder finish is more wearable for most,” Myricks said. “It blends on as a cream, but disappears into your skin to look soft like a powder finish.” Despite the ease of use, the product is just as friendly to Myricks’ professional clientele. “I wanted to simplify something from an artist’s perspective,” she said.

My Palm Spa Hand Kit

Available on butterbykeba.com. Prices range from $8 to $28.

Makeba Lloyd, founder of Butter By Keba and its recently launched sister brand, My Palm Spa, loves scent. She even describes her range of body moisturizers as moisturizing fragrances. So, when formulating My Palm Spa with a hand butter, a hand scrub, and a cuticle oil (and a bundle including a cuticle stick and gloves), aromatherapy was a top concern. “It’s relaxing to have an aromatherapeutic benefit to it. I wanted to do something that streamlined into the essential oils since it’s just for the hands,” Lloyd said. She highlighted the detoxifying ginger-lemongrass blend in the hand scrub, the brightening lemon-basil blend in the hand butters, and the rice bran oil in the cuticles as ingredients to freshen up any manicure.

The kit, which launched in May, was serendipitously timed to COVID-19, although the process predates the quarantine. “I had this whole thing in a vault before, but since COVID-19, it dawned on me that because we’re hand sanitizing so much, and the manicure salons are closed, what are we going to do?” she said. 

For more from WWD.com, see:

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