African-American Beauty Entrepreneurs

As we celebrate Black History Month, we're grateful to salute and support these intrepid Black beauty pioneers.

Nicole Marie Melton Feb, 25, 2013

1 of 42 Indique Hair

Company:  Indique Hair
Founded: 2007
About the Brand: Indique Hair provides 100 percent virgin human hair that is natural and of the highest quality. With an impressive client base including Lady Gaga, La La Vasquez, Ciara, Jill Scott, Teyana Taylor and more, Indique Hair’s unique Indian virgin and natural human hair extensions are lustrous and tangle-free. The company has free-standing boutiques in Boston, New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey, and sources all of its hair from its headquarters in India. 

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"PURE Wavy has a natural wavy pattern that offers amazing versatility," says Dotson, Indique's co-founder and creative director.

$169 and up per tube, available at Indique Hair

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"The BOUNCE Relaxed Straight has undergone a special three-day steaming process that creates the look of naturally pressed or relaxed hair," says Dotson.

$189 and up per tube, available at Indique Hair

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Company: Me & The Girls Alternative Skincare
Founded: 2010
About the Brand: Me & The Girls Alternative Skincare delivers a unique collection of luxury organic products. Brazilian cupuacu seed butter is the premier active ingredient in all of the products due to its unparalleled moisturizing properties. Sharon Hackney-Robinson, a critical care registered nurse, is the founder of the company and the force behind extraordinary philanthropic efforts to support the education and protection of women and at-risk young girls through beauty.

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"This is an antioxidant and vitamin-rich crème loaded with coconut and pomegranate seed oils, cupuacu seed butter and vitamin E. It softens the appearance of fine lines and restores soft, supple skin. Our customers are always amazed at how their skin is transformed by this product," says Hackney-Robinson.

$36, available at Me & The Girls Alternative Skincare

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"Women love multitasking beauty products, and Bar Beleza is the ultimate all-in-one luxury experience. It effectively cleans, moisturizes, primes and conditions all types of skin beautifully. It is a huge success and my personal favorite," says Hackney-Robinson.

$38, available at Me & The Girls Alternative Skincare

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Company: Alikay Naturals
Founded: 2009
About the Brand: Alikay Naturals founder and CEO Rochelle Graham is a natural hair vlogger (BlackOnyx77) who understands the challenges of learning to care for natural hair. She started her company, Alikay Naturals, to use the richest natural and organic ingredients to create healthy hair care products. All items in the hair care line are formulated with healing properties and natural humectants that define curls and nurture and replenish moisture from root to tip. Alikay Naturals won't compromise beautiful curls or weigh hair down.

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"This conditioner is popular for our customers who are looking to maintain the moisture in their tresses. Not only does it smell awesome, but the honey is also a natural humectant that pulls the moisture from the air into your hair to keep it well-conditioned. This is especially important in the colder months, when our hair tends to get very dry,” says Graham Campbell.

$15, available at Alikay Naturals

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"The key to healthy hair is keeping it moisturized. The Shea Yogurt Moisturizer is not only our go-to product when our customers want amazing definition in twist-outs, but it's also for braids or twists that look shiny and feel soft,” says Graham Campbell.

$16, available at Alikay Naturals

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Company: Anu Essentials
Founded: 2012
About the Brand: The Anu Essentials product line is an outgrowth of Prestonia's passion for the beauty and power of natural essences from the flowers, stems, leaves, bark, roots and seeds of plants. All of her products have resulted from the artistry of blending botanicals to formulate perfumes and to enhance products for hair, scalp and skin.

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"Anu Essentials Curling Creme is specially formulated to hydrate, define and moisturize the natural curl pattern of your hair. Our customers love it because it leaves the hair plush and soft like your favorite pillow," says Prestonia.

$18, available at Anu Essentials

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"Anu Essentials Soft Set Gel is chock-full of botanicals from nature. It offers a gentle and pliable hold that will not strip the hair of its natural oils. Our customers love it because it provides a flexible hold while defining the natural curl pattern," says Prestonia.

$22, available at Anu Essentials

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Company: Walker's Apothecary
Founded: 2004
About the Brand: Walker’s Apothecary is a skin care brand that complements the New York City spa of the same name owned by Shalea Walker. As a licensed esthetician and makeup artist with nearly a decade of experience, Walker launced the product line to uniquely suit the beauty and skin care needs of her spa clients, who receive a variety of services including facials, makeup lessons, bridal packages, and her much-sought-after eyebrow grooming.

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"This serum provides excellent hydration enriched with antioxidants. As a moisturizer, it adjusts to the levels of moisture your skin needs and leaves an awesome glow," says Walker.

$36, available at Walker's Apothecary

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"The Rose Geranium Toner is a great multi-use product that provides antiseptic and soothing properties. It can be used before you moisturize to help lock in moisture and after makeup application to set makeup — and surprisingly, it's also great for refreshing curls!" says Walker.

$16, available at Walker's Apothecary

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Company: Biao Skincare
Founded: 2010
About the Brand: Biao Skincare is a socially responsible natural and organic line that works in harmony with a woman's inner beauty to enrich the skin's natural radiance. The boutique skin care line has been developed with love by a licensed aesthetician and United States Army veteran, with each product handcrafted and packaged with care using 100 percent post-consumer recycled material. Biao Skincare is committed to pampering women of all ages, supporting our planet and advancing global philanthropic causes.

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"By leaving this Rejuvenating Mask on for five minutes twice a week, you will see salon facial results instantly. With the combination of traditional Chinese medicinal herbs, nourishing vitamin E and the healing power of Moroccan rose oil, your skin will be left flawless and fabulous," says Baldwin. 

$42.50, available at Biao Skincare

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"Formulated with natural flower, fruit and root botanical, Biao's award-winning Beauty Rejuvenating Night Crème is packed with antioxidants to guard skin against free radicals and triple-action properties that sooth, moisturize and protect against premature aging. It always leaves your skin nourished and luminous overnight," says Baldwin.

$24.50, available at Biao Skincare

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Company: Danielle Lewis Beauty
Founded: 2011
About the Brand: Danielle Lewis Beauty offers its signature pout perfecter, Lip Lustre, to offer serious shine while providing a protective barrier against dryness. These paraben-free luxury glosses are non-sticky and mineral-based, and give you the color of lipstick with the moisture and easy application of a gloss. The sleek packaging and large size make Lip Lustre a must-have for everyday women and makeup lovers alike.

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"Charlie is the perfect golden neutral gloss. She can be worn alone or with your favorite lipstick as a highlight," says Lewis.

$16, available at Danielle Lewis Beauty

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"Marley is the perfect statement lip. This shimmering magenta gloss gives high-impact color with lots of shine," says Lewis.

$16, available at Danielle Lewis Beauty

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Company: Design Essentials
Founded: 1990
About the Brand:  With over 20 years of luxury hair care experience, McBride Research Laboratories (MRL) is a recognized leader in the multicultural hair products category.  A family-owned business, MRL is the parent company of Design Essentials Salon System, Design Essentials Natural Hair Care System, Colaura Conditioning Hair Color Collection, and Wave by Design, all of which offer a comprehensive suite of products for healthy, gorgeous hair. These brands are dedicated to empowerment through expertise that extends beyond beauty. 

Pictured from left to right: Cornell McBride, Jr. (President), Andre McBride, Sr. (Director of Human Resources), Sholanda McBride Armstrong (Director of Website Development), and Cornell McBride, Sr. (Founder)

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"Design Essentials Sleek Edge Control is our #1 styling product because this moisture-packed, smoothing gel lays edges down like nothing else, and can even be used for short, spiky styles too! And the sheen is incredible," says McBride.

$10.99, available at Design Essentials

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"Design Essentials Natural Twist & Set Setting Lotion has completely changed the natural styling game. Easily detangles coils and curls: Check! Shiny, defined twist & braid outs: Check! Soft, manageable hair that lasts: Check!" says McBride.

$13.99, available at Design Essentials

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Company: curlBOX
Founded: 2011
About the Brand: curlBOX is an exclusive subscription service that offers an affordable and effortless way to try new hair care products through sample sizes that are delivered to your doorstep each month. The goal of curlBOX is to help veteran naturalistas and natural newbies alike avoid the frustration and expense that comes along with buying and trying countless hair products to find what works. 

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“curlBOX receives samples of a wide range of products through partnerships with many of the leading hair care companies. The February 2013 one-year anniversary edition of curlBOX included five full-size products, which was an exciting treat for our subscribers,” says Teele.

$20 per month, available at curlBOX.

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"Since launching curlBOX, we have received requests for more 'natural' products; those without ingredients like  'cones, sulfates, and parabens.  curlBOX Natural was our response to that demand. We developed this limited-edition box, which included products that were all formulated with very little of those so-called 'no-no' ingredients."

$40, available for a limited time at curlBOX

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Company: HIMistry Complete Men's Grooming
Founded: 2007
About the Brand: HIMistry was born from a basic need to provide professional-quality skin care products to men of all skin types and racial backgrounds. Established by Darnell Henderson, who faced skin care dilemmas ignored by many companies, HIMistry caters to distinct concerns including razor bumps, acne, skin discoloration, ingrown facial hairs, and more.

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"Our customers love this serum because it is a gentle but powerful lightening agent that comes from the bearberry tree. It brings the benefits of strong melanin inhibitors such as hydroquinone, but without the odor, toxicity, and potential side-effects," says Henderson.

$13.50, available at HIMistry

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"Men — and quite a few women, too — are in love with this cleansing gel, which provides an exhilarating, berry-clean freshness and results in a fresh and clear complexion. An advanced deep pore resurfacing action increases cell turnover and helps diminish the appearance of razor bumps and acne blemishes," says Henderson.

$22.50, available at HIMistry

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Company:  Niki Saint Pierre Botanical Cosmeceuticals
Founded: 2010
About the Brand: Niki Saint Pierre Botanical Cosmeceuticals is a groundbreaking therapeutic line designed to support the skin’s natural processes. Working overtime while the body rests, the products optimally support the skin’s functions (i.e. cellular turnover, replenishment, tissue repair and regeneration), enabling it to function more efficiently. The company’s unwavering commitment to nature and science, combined with a passion for quality ingredients, ensures that its products uphold the highest dermatological standards.

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"The Daily Nutrients are made of 100 percent active ingredients (no water) and contain up to 50 ingredients in a bottle. They are complete facial skin supplements that contain elevated levels of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, omega fatty acids, rose hip seed, and pomegranate, just to name a few. The Daily Nutrients powerfully boost any skin care regimen," says St. Pierre.

$125 each, available at Niki Saint Pierre

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"This serum is a scientifically advanced formula that dissolves the 'glue-like' bonds that hold dead skin cells together at the surface, causing them to slough off more rapidly. It also boosts skin's natural collagen and elastin production for a more youthful and luminous appearence," says St. Pierre.

$85, available at Niki Saint Pierre

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Company: Mocha Moon
Founded: 2009
About the Brand: Mocha Moon is the leading designer of innovative, upscale organization products for beauty items and beyond.  The company offers functional cosmetic beauty cases and totes that introduce order, style and convenience into the lives of beauty lovers.  

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"This innovative and sleek organizer is lightweight, compact and holds a ton of makeup. It allows you to see all your makeup at a glance.  Perfect for home or travel, this case features removable pouches and a removable organization band panel. It's truly a must-have for the busy woman," says Reynolds-Louis.

$39.99, available at Mocha Moon

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"The Lori L Tote bag embodies functional style. It’s guaranteed to generate compliments, whether you use it as your everyday tote, a travel carry-on, computer tote, or workout bag. It includes a zipper to close and secure items, a key ring holder, and pockets for your phone, glasses, iPod and more," says Reynolds-Louis.

$64.99, available at Mocha Moon

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Company: EDEN BodyWorks
Founded: 2004
About the Brand: EDEN BodyWorks provides natural products that integrate wellness and beauty inspired by nature to restore and maintain your hair's health and integrity.

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"EDEN BodyWorks' JojOba Deep Conditioner is formulated with coconut, jojoba and monoi to replenish and restore the hair's strength and natural beauty. Our customers love this product because of its ability to infuse moisture into each and every strand," says Lawrence.

$9.99, available at EDEN BodyWorks

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"With the power of aromatherapy, our invigorating Peppermint Tea Tree Shampoo increases scalp circulation for a refreshed, renewed feeling. EDEN's customers love this product because it's an automatic pick-me-up! It's incredibly stimulating for the hair and mind," says Lawrence.

$8.50, available at EDEN BodyWorks

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Company: LAMIK Beauty
Founded: 2004
About the Brand: LAMIK is an acronym that stands for Love And Makeup In Kindness. LAMIK Beauty is the world's #1 eco-chic makeup line consisting of paraben-free full range color cosmetics and vegan friendly makeup brushes manufactured in the USA. The LAMIK mantra, "Beauty is revealed, not applied," declares the uniqueness of this brand's belief that every woman can look LAMIK!

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"This kit creates A-list eyebrows that are every woman's dream! You get the LAMIK purdy brow define powder, brightening creme, & brow brush to easily create fabulous brows," says Roxie.

$55, available at LAMIK Beauty

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"The True Mineral Powder reveals your true beauty. It's so lightweight that you'll feel like you left the house with no makeup on," says Roxie.

$29.50, available at LAMIK Beauty


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