Last week, Juneteenth became a federal holiday in the United States, the newest U.S. national holiday since Martin Luther King Day was established in 1983. Since learning more about Juneteenth over the last few years, I believe it’s important that we in Canada view Juneteenth not as an exclusively American holiday, but also a time for us to reflect on how we can uplift and support marginalized voices North of the border. This also applies to the beauty industry. I realized that there are many awesome Black-owned Canadian beauty brands out there that are shaking up the beauty industry and that deserve more recognition. So, I’ve compiled a quick round-up of 5 Canadian Black-owned beauty brands to support.
1) Apprenti Ôr’ganik
Founder: Alexe Pierre, Montreal QC
Apprenti Ôr’ganik started out with founder Alexe experimenting and concocting all-natural skincare formulas in her Montreal kitchen. It has since blossomed into an entire therapeutic body care line made with only natural ingredients. All of their products are slow made by hand, contain certified organic ingredients, and maintain the integrity of their “active” ingredients by being filler-free. They proudly attest that their products contain zero synthetic ingredients, petroleum or parabens. They also do not test on animals and are cruelty-free.
Another awesome thing about Alexe and Apprenti Ôr’ganik is that their products, right down to their packaging, are developed with the planet in mind. They are Quebec’s first skincare company to offer their products in fully-compostable wheat-straw plastic (WSP) packaging! How awesome is that?
Must-try product: CedarWood Hand and Body Wash
2) Up North Naturals
Founder: Lisa Keizer, Toronto ON
As Up North Naturals proudly states on their website: they LOVE curly hair! Toronto-based entrepreneur Lisa Keizer created Up North Naturals after developing a passion for natural textured hair. After damaging her hair and scalp after years of using relaxers, Lisa began experimenting to create gentle, chemical-free and effective hair products people can trust.
Since then, Up North Naturals has since evolved into a global hair care brand for “curly, coily and kinky” hair whose products contain natural ingredients to create glossy, well-defined curls. Bonus: Their products are cruelty free and vegan-friendly!
Moreover, Lisa’s vision has been so successful, that Up North Naturals is now sold South of the border, at Target locations across the U.S. They also sell skincare and styling products as well!
Must-try product: Defining Hair Gelly
3) MFMG Cosmetics
Founder: Tomi Gbeleyi, Toronto ON
MFMG – Makeup for Melanin Girls started out as a blog and Instagram page.
Toronto-based Founder Tomi Gbeleyi created MFMG after her own lived experiences as a woman of colour in the fashion and beauty industry showed her what the industry was sorely missing. As a young model, Tomi often found herself doing her own makeup on-set when makeup artists “didn’t have her shade in her kit”. She also realized that online resources for beauty tips, vlogs and product reviews were fragmented. She therefore decided to create a one-stop-community shop so women of colour could unite.
Since then, MFMG has grown into 171,000-strong community, where women of colour can discuss everything from beauty tips, product reviews as well as issues around colourism in the beauty industry.
Soon after, Tomi launched her own MFMG makeup line for darker skintones and that celebrates darker complexions: nude lipsticks, rainbow glitter pods, and highlighters that illuminate deeper skin.
Must-try product: Desnudo Liquid Lipstick
4) Bailly Fragrance
Founders: Ariel Gough and Edwina Govindsamy, Halifax NS
Hailing from the Maritimes, Halifax-based Co-founders Ariel Gough and Edwina Govindsamy created Bailly to shake up the traditional image of the fragrance industry. According to these two entrepreneurs:
“The fragrance industry has often depicted women as one dimensional – feminine, fragile and fanciful. We know that women are multi-faceted, diverse and defying expectations. Bailly represents power for women.”
We at iluk can get behind that!
Focusing on authenticity, power and impact, Bailly offers vegan and cruelty-free scents that are coconut-oil based and chemical-free. Also, their fragrances’ clever packaging and application make it super handy to keep and apply on-the-go.
Another awesome aspect of Bailly is that $5 from every purchase from their Girl Power collection goes to the Just Like My Child Foundation’s Girl Power Project.
Must-try product: Brilliance
5) Queenconfidence Cosmetics
Founder: Francine Bahati, Winnipeg MB
Founder Francine Bahati created Queenconfidence Cosmetics to instil confidence in her customers and to meet the needs of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds. She therefore decided to develop beauty products suited for all skin tones and skin types without compromising the quality of their ingredients.
Queenconfidence first launched with its signature matte lipstick collection but has since grown to include shadow palettes and gloss. Moreover, all of their formulas are 100 % cruelty free, paraben-free, gluten free and vegan friendly.
Another thing that I really love about this brand, is that they are gender-neutral and gender-inclusive. The ethos of the brand is to empower and uplift – each lipstick contains a designated motivational quote!
Must-try product: Bundle matte lipstick set
Well there you have it! An initial round-up of 5 Canadian black-owned beauty brands to support. I really enjoyed researching and writing this blog post and I would love to do another one soon. As a female-founded company in the beauty and hair industry, it’s important for us at iluk to use our own privilege to uplift marginalized voices in our space. Know another beauty brand founded by badass BIPOCs that we should know about? Leave us a comment below!