To celebrate International Women’s Day, we wanted to shine a light on 20 incredible female-founded indie brands that deserve your attention, now and forever. Their brand stories are nothing short of inspiring; these women have persevered and created iconic brands in a space dominated by industry giants like Estée Lauder and L’Oréal. They’ve found gaps in the market to offer solutions with formulas that modern-day consumers actually want, with branding that speaks to them and represents them.

Whether you’re on the hunt for eco-conscious menstrual care, beautiful Makeup, Skincare, or haircare that caters to your curl pattern, somewhere on this list is a solution made by a woman with big dreams. So why not treat yourself this Internternational Women’s Day and support other women while you do. After all, it’s all about women supporting women!

What does headcare mean to you? For Founder Nikita Charuza, it’s a fusion of Ayurveda ingredients and traditional Indian hair oiling, which inspired the birth of Squigs Beauty. Free from synthetic fragrances and dyes, her two-piece collection focuses on taking care of your hair, scalp, and skin without toxins and irritation. As if you needed another reason to shop, a percentage of proceeds are donated to a mental health charity because she cares about what’s going on inside your head too.  

Nothing could stop Founder Brianna Arps from entering the fragrance bizz once she cracked the code: scent + skin = magic. That’s when she bottled a sweet-smellin’ juice (without the usual alcohol and water) with natural ingredients bursting with citrus, floral, and woody accords. Determined to help Black female perfumers like herself enter the same space, she launched Black In Fragrance, an empowering initiative that seeks to diversify the fragrance industry – read more about it here. 

Makeup you can sleep in? It sounds impossible, but Founder Fiona Co Chan didn’t take no for an answer, especially since she was constantly traveling and sleeping in her makeup. But like a total badass, she sourced plant-based synthetics and good-for-skin ingredients and poured them into oh-so-cute neon bottles. Et voila, makeup that’s safe enough to be slept in and cute enough for the ‘gram.  

Wanna attend the hottest Y2K-themed skincare party of the century? Scroll through Topicals’ Instagram STAT. You’ll find Founder Olamide Olowe empowering and celebrating “real skin” while creating science-powered blends that soothe inflammatory skin concerns. Although born during lockdown, their skincare (and now bodycare!) formulas have quickly nabbed a forever spot in our hearts and bathroom cabinets.  


Co-founder Nadya Okamato had a clear blueprint for August: good-for-the-planet menstruating products for EVERYONE. Fast forward to today, the brand stocks THE comfiest pads, liners, and tampons, all of which are sustainable and biodegradable. In addition to being a #Green business, August is a safe space for menstruators to discuss period-everything (including period poos!) without shame and stigma. Plus, they provide access to free period products to underserved schools and allow you to donate to their non-profit partners at check-out too.  


Founder Babba Rivera wanted to change beauty’s future with a clean hair collection for all hair types… And did it while celebrating the richness of her Latin heritage. Every formula feeds your roots with a nutrient-rich cocktail of raw ingredients inspired by the rituals she grew up with. Now that’s a true celebration!  

There’s nothing we love more than discovering a brand that’s fierce AF and stands by its mission statement: “Freck Beauty is an attitude. We are the bold, clean beauty brand for anyone that cares about ingredients, respects the process, and doesn’t care about the rules.” Everything from the branding to their ingredient list feels authentic and empowering, just like their Founder, Remi. Our go-to product? It would have to be the Freck OG, $22, AKA the world’s first freckle pen.

Former L’Oréal brand manager, Maeva Helene, created Bread Beauty Supply as she wanted a haircare brand that not only nourished but celebrated her curls. Offering everyday essentials, kinda like the bread and butter for your locks, the haircare line takes a simplified approach to wash day so you can spend more time on everything else. We’re currently obsessed with their rich, restorative Hair Oil, $24, which boasts Australian Kakadu Plum oil a potent Australian super-fruit that contains the highest concentration of Vitamin C. Also, can we just say how much we love their packaging?!

Like so many great stories, Melt Cosmetics began with a girly catch-up over brunch. Founders Lora Arellano and Dana Bomar discussed their shared love of bold matte lipsticks and their disappointment when it came to finding a long-lasting, bright matte lipstick. Fast forward to 2020, and the line includes a wide range of popping shades like Last Kiss, $22, (a strawberry sorbet shade), and a wide range of eyeshadows, lip glosses, and highlighters.

Founder Lulu Cordero created Bomba Curls so that she could share her passion for the natural beauty ingredients from her native country; the Dominican Republic, which she turned to when suffering from traction alopecia. From pistachio to coffee seed oil, her haircare line is packed with superfoods that’ll restore and rejuvenate even the most damaged curls while stimulating healthy hair growth. Right now, the brand carries the Forbidden Oil, $22, and the creamy Forbidden Hair Mask, $28, as well as gummies and a range of silk hair accessories.

You’ll notice a pattern here: The Lip Bar is another brand born out of necessity when beauty-badass Melissa Butler realized there was a disappointing lack of non-toxic, cruelty-free lipsticks available. In an interview with Forbes, Melissa recalls her frustration, deeming the current “assortment of natural lip colors, frankly just boring!”

Taking matters into her own hands, she created a line of clean formulas from her kitchen. Fast-forward to 2021 and The Lip Bar offers a range of budget-friendly formulas in gorgeous colors that are anything but boring.

There’s a dangerous myth in the Black community that wearing sunscreen is not necessary. This is 100% not true and is one of the many reasons why Founder Shontay Lundy created a sunscreen line aptly named Black Girl Sunscreen. The other reason? She was tired of the heavy white residue that mineral sunscreens often leave behind. Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, $19, offers the ultimate solution; a fast-absorbing, natural formula with UVA and UVB protection, and no white residue. Can we get an Amen?

Founded by K-Beauty expert, Alicia Yoon, Peach and Lily deliver “100% worry-free skincare” with spa-grade, toxin-free formulas, which are bursting with K-Beauty goodness to deliver healthy, radiant skin. We love the tight range of hydrating products that are efficacious and easy to use. Just check out the before and after results of using a Peach and Lily skincare regimen for six weeks – our skin was glowing!

Created by YouTube icon, Jackie Aina, FORVR Mood aims to create a self-care space for Black women. Understanding that Black women are often defined as strong and resilient, Jackie knows that sometimes they might not prioritize giving themselves the love and nurturing they may need. FORVR Mood wants to spoil Black women with a little slice of luxury. The line currently holds a range of calming candles, as well as silk accessories to give your hair the TLC it needs. We’re obsessed with the candle, Caked Up, $38, which is infused with notes of vanilla, coconut, and jasmine, and fills the entire room with the most amazing, relaxing scent. #Obsessed

Dorian Morris founded Undefined Beauty to disrupt the beauty industry and create her own narrative that represented the world around her. Her products are non-toxic and non-irritating and her business model, from her supply chain to her labs, supports either female-founded, minority-owned, or LGBTQ communities – what she defines as conscious capitalism. Now that’s a brand we can get behind. We are obsessed with her Glow Elixir, $48, which is infused with CBD and made with rosehip oil, Kalahari melon oil, plum oil, meadowfoam oil, and more – and it smells divine!

Listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 list, Co-Founder and CEO, Trinity Mouzon Wofford, is a straight-up trailblazer. Her range of natural beauty products and supplements have made waves over the past year and have even garnered a celeb following, including natural skincare lover Kourtney Kardashian. From face masks made with 100% pure, edible superfoods and superfood latte blends, like the Matcha Turmeric Latte Blend, $29, their products will make you feel good, inside and out.

Natural beauty brand Herla was Founded by a grandmother and granddaughter duo who came together to share the beauty secrets that have been passed down from previous generations. They take inspiration from local skincare secrets and source natural ingredients, which are formulated by female chemists in their family-owned lab in Poland. Created by women for women? Sign us up! In fact, we’ve already fallen in love with the DAMASK ROSE Moisture Retaining and Purifying Micellar Water, $32, as it gently wipes away makeup while feeling super nourishing.

Expert esthetician Shani Darden is responsible for some of the most glowing faces in Hollywood, think Rosie Huntington Whitely and Jessica Alba. Her passion for simple and efficacious formulas has earned her a spot as one of Hollywood’s most highly esteemed derms. Her beauty line was created after she was forced to create custom-made formulas for her A-Listers in-between visits. Naturally, her Retinol Reform, $88, rapidly gained a huge celebrity following, and for good reason!

Queen bees of K-Beauty, Sarah Lee and Christine Chang founded Glow Recipe back in 2014, and ever since it’s been our go-to K-Beauty brand thanks to its consistent stream of glow-getting, hydrating formulas. From their best-selling Watermelon Glow Pink Juice Moisturizer, $39, to our fave serum to soothe irritated skin, the Avocado Ceramide Redness Relief Serum, $45, their formulas never disappoint. Another reason to love the brand? They recently declared that they would no longer use the words “poreless” or “flawless,” as there’s no such thing as poreless skin, nor did they want to glorify a flawless beauty standard. We could not agree more!

Founder, Karen Young, created her brand with a clear goal; “Rather than pursuing flawlessness, we aim to build efficacious products, designed thoughtfully, that actually help you feel great in the skin you’re already in.” Originally launched in 2015 as Oui Shave, Karen changed the name to Oui The People to deepen the brand’s gender neutrality. The body line carries innovative products, from the plant-powered Melting Body Balm, $75, that soothes and softens your skin to the famous The Single Rose Gold Sensitive Skin Razor, $75, which delivers the closest shave possible.

For more amazing brands, check out these new and emerging Black-owned brands.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. Although some brands allow affiliate links, we never take payment to review products, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.


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