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Picture this. You head to your local mall to stock up on some beauty supplies, and almost nothing on the shelf seems to have been made with your beautiful Melanated skin in mind. So, you grudgingly return home to squeeze that last drop of product and ration it to last for an extra week or more until you can restock or find a suitable replacement. Can you relate?

The irony of this situation is every year, the number of Black or Brown-owned Beauty products increases, yet we can’t get a hold of these products in our local malls or some of the large retail stores around us. This product scarcity has been a topic of concern for the Black community, but that’s about to change real soon.

Since Black people make up 15% of the population, the founder of Brother Vellies, Aurora James, got a team together and established the 15 Percent Pledge urging large retail stores like Target and Walmart to dedicate at least 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned products. Since it’s a relatively new development, it could still be quite hard to find inclusive beauty products up on the shelves of retail stores because of the tiring process involved in squeezing into that 15% quota.

But Aurora James wasn’t the only one thinking about making a revolution; instead of sitting around and waiting for products to arrive at their local stores, the rest of our Melanated folk were busy formulating and testing out new product lines for the Melanin, by the Melanin, and of the Melanin. Ahead, we bring you the top 6 Black or Brown-owned beauty retail stores to look out for in 2022! Have fun browsing through their product lines, restock on your faves, and find new loves to add to your stockpile.

First up, we have:

Marjani Beauty

The Melanated tribe has come a long way. We’ve been so underrepresented or not represented at all in the beauty space that it took a miracle to find a foundation shade that matched, a skincare line that didn’t try to rob us of our rich melanin glow, or a lipstick that made our lips pop.

So, Kimberly Smith decided to create an e-commerce site, Marjani Beauty, that puts Black women at the forefront of the Beauty industry. Marjani Beauty was designed to shake beauty standards and provide the Black Queens with products especially suited for their Melanated skin, letting them shine on their own terms!

Kimberly didn’t leave the Black Kings out of this conversation either. She made sure to include products specially made for them because they deserve to be the best version of themselves, too. Aside from selling Brown women and men-approved beauty products, Kimberly has several programs on Marjani Beauty to take makeup classes, offer makeup services, and host inspiring educational events on our Melanin skin. If you’d like to get your Melanin popping and gain some Melanin-related information while you’re at it, you know what to do.


Thirteen Lune

2020 was a harsh year for Black people all over the globe. We all felt the unified pain and heartbreak during the Black Lives Matter movement. But, in the midst of all that negative energy, Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning rose to the challenge, channeling their pain and frustration into changing the narrative of the beauty industry and showing that Black lives and beauty matter by creating an online inclusive beauty retail store — Thirteen Lune.

Co-Founders Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning and their outstanding team of industry experts are set to raise the inclusive beauty standards through the roof! While caring for our Melanin pride, Thirteen Lune also aims to help other beauty brands (Non-Black and Brown-owned inclusive) expand, meaningfully join the inclusive beauty campaign, and reach a wider audience. Quite recently, Thirteen Lune got into a partnership deal with JCPenney — out of JCPenny’s 170+ brands, a whopping 39 brands come from Thirteen Lune!

This brand is not your regular Black-owned online beauty retail store. Thirteen Lune goes above and beyond to make sure ALL your beauty needs from head to toe are catered for! So, what do you need? Skin or hair care and wellness products, makeup, hand and feet cuticle oils, you name it. Thirteen Lune has got you covered and your Black beauty concerns covered.



Everyone wants to rev up a revolution, but Blk + Grn‘s purpose is much bigger than just any beauty revolution. Founder, Dr. Kristen Henderson, who happens to be a millennial lifestyle expert and public health professor, designed Blk + Grn to care for the wellness and beauty of black women from all walks of life while promoting Black and Brown-owned businesses.

Of course, beauty isn’t complete without good health. No wonder this Black-owned online retail store doesn’t joke with the science behind beauty products. They’re so committed to sourcing 100% clean and Black-designed beauty products that they get certified Black health experts to select the best of the best inclusive beauty companies or artisans to work with. Some of them include our all-time favorites Black Girl Sunscreen, AbsoluteJOI, Hunnybunny, and Ilera Apothecary. Dr. Henderson even curated a list of Black-owned businesses in various cities in the U.S. to help connect people with Black-owned services in their area, especially when they travel to new cities, so they don’t have to wander around looking lost.

In her own words: “I’m a mission-driven person. I try to think about ways that I can leave the world in a slightly better place than it was when I was here. BLK + GRN is a way to create change, make people healthier and get them more attuned to their bodies through supporting small businesses.”


Melanin Factory

We’ve been unable to tap into our rich Melanin power because of the mediocre mentality we’ve held unto for many generations. So, Philip Angus and Kai Burford decided to rewrite history and create a Black-owned beauty brand that fully represents the Melanated clan. Together they founded a central location where you can find inclusive beauty products without any stress — Melanin Factory. The Melanin Factory is our ancestor’s wildest dream; instead of asking these major stores to keep an inclusive 15% quota, the duo thought it best to build a store filled with 90-100% Black- or Brown-owned beauty products!

When shopping from Melanin Factory, you can’t help but feel powerful, proud, and perfectly comfortable in your skin. From inclusive lipsticks to serums to gels to makeup, you name it! They don’t settle. They make sure to connect with beauty brands that create products with Melanated skin in mind. Each of these unique brands will boost your confidence and make you feel seen and heard in this country and the rest of the world. Also, with more inclusive options, you’re sure to make better beauty choices, and you can expect to have all your inclusive beauty concerns cared for to perfection.

Their mission is simple: to store authentic brands that create only the best beauty products with Melanin in mind while leading the Melanated pack to the forefront of the beauty industry. Melanin Factory is not just a beauty retail store; it’s also a culture-rich community. Without spending a cent, you can leave their website with a wealth of information and knowledge through the lens of Melanated people. Tap into the richness of your culture and unlock your melanin here.


Pretty Well Beauty


Jazmin Alvarez was obsessed with all things beauty. She used any famous and prestigious beauty products she could find that claimed to work, but she couldn’t understand why her skin remained unhealthy and kept breaking out. Jazmin then decided to conduct an experiment by weaning herself off her favorite skincare products and using only water on her skin for a month. She was pleasantly surprised when her oily, acne-prone skin didn’t break out.

She drew a theory from this experiment — “less is more and natural is best,” like her mother always said. It’s not enough for a product to claim to care for our Melanin. We want to know, is it clean, natural, safe? This experiment fuelled her obsession with non-toxic, natural beauty and inspired her to create Pretty Well Beauty. Pretty Well Beauty is an online beauty retail store that sells healthy, natural, non-toxic inclusive beauty products for all skin types.

This brand has the health and wellness of your skin at heart and has just the right beauty products for you. The best part? They have products for everyone — Back Kings, Queens, Princes, and Princesses! But there’s more. Jazmin shared that Pretty Well Beauty was never intended to be just an e-store. She has plans to do more with her brand, like develop new technology to help with clean beauty shopping. Pretty Well Beauty is committed to giving your skin the premium care it deserves.



Aˈme-kə is the English or phonetic spelling of the Igbo name Emeka coined from Chukwuemeka, meaning “God has done great!” Its significance is that God did a great job by creating each of us in our different shades of rich melanin, deserving of only the best care possible.

Emeka Anyanwu, the founder of Aˈme-kə, noticed that people of color had difficulties accessing inclusive beauty brands and products. This inspired her to create an online retail space with the Melanated community in mind. Here’s what she shared in an interview with Forbes. “There are a lot of Black-owned and founded brands, and so I found it was really about an opportunity gap,” she shared. “I wanted to address that by creating a space that will provide positive shopping experiences for everyone, including the Black consumers.”

And she did just that. Anyanwu created a space where our Black folk can have unrestricted access to skincare, bath & body, cosmetic, hair care, and male grooming brands designed to care for our God-given Black or Brown skin. Of course, hard work doesn’t go without recognition. Aˈme-kə has been featured in top beauty and business blogs like Byrdie, Black Enterprise, Beauty Independent, and the Holy Grail of business blogs — Forbes!


For decades, if not more, Black-approved beauty products have been missing from the shelves of local and international beauty retail stores. But that narrative is changing. More inclusive beauty retail stores are springing into action and working together to revolutionize the beauty industry. They’re here to create a safe space for you to get educated about our culture and care for your beauty while reminding you of how magical you are — your hair defies gravity, and your skin absorbs the sun’s rays and glows .


By: Jane Okoji


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