On the heels of the Black Lives Matter movement, tons of influential figures (celebrities, political figures, and social influencers) have done their part to raise the awareness of systemic racism in the United States. The movement has also spread to other countries where racism has still persisted.
Trending hashtags like #blacklives matter and #justiceforgeorgefloyd have taken over social media platforms. Many corporate brands have also posted black squares and captions on Blackout Tuesday, proclaiming their support for the Black community and their commitment towards anti-racism.
But are these fleeting actions sufficient to induce actual change? Some individuals like the founder of UOMA Beauty, Sharon Chuter, think not. I happen to agree with her wholeheartedly.
To be honest, posting your empathy on Instagram and captioning it with “We stand in solidarity with the Black community” reeks strongly of performative allyship to me.
Some of you may then argue that numerous brands have donated generously to organizations like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Color Of Change, and Campaign Zero. While these outward giving actions are great fodder for PR campaigns, it also triggers a thought, “Are these companies just as committed to Black equality within their own structures and systems?”
As Chuter has put it aptly in an interview with CNN, “You cannot say Black lives matter publicly when you don’t show us Black lives matter within your own homes and within your own organizations.”
The issue of racism is well-rooted in a system that has oppressed the Black community for 400 years. So, what I’m asking is, are a few Instagram posts and a hefty donation going to do the trick?
The answer is a clear, hard “No.” While the truth hurts (Lizzo speaking here), it’s way past time for brands to acknowledge that. And rest assured that these brands are being held accountable for their diversity inclusion efforts, courtesy of one social media campaign called “Pull Up Or Shut Up.”
What is the Pull Up Or Shut Up campaign?
#PullUpOrShutUp is an initiative created by Nigerian-born Sharon Chuter who has witnessed more than her fair share of racism as a former beauty executive.
The average beauty ideal in America, and around the world, is built upon the image of white people, effectively cutting off people of color (including Black people) from the narrative. You can easily imagine the frustration of not having the option to choose a foundation shade that compliments deep skin tones or a conditioner that isn’t made for textured hair. This led Chuter to create her own beauty brand, UOMA Beauty, which focuses on inclusive products that everyone, including Black people, can use.
The Pull Up Or Shut Up campaign started out as a call for brands to create actual change within their own companies. It went live on June 3rd, challenging brands to disclose Black people they have “employed in corporate roles as well as leadership roles.”
The focus of the campaign was to give brands 72 hours to share their Black employee data voluntarily. After the first 72 hours had passed, the “Pull Up” tribe went on the hunt for brands who had yet to make a statement. According to Chuter, “we were protesting with our fingers. So what we do is we take over brand pages and we just tell them pull up or shut up. And really put that pressure on them to come back and respond with those numbers.”
But don’t be mistaken that this campaign was created to name and shame your favorite brands. Instead, Chuter stresses that this is “a transparency and accountability exercise” so that consumers, like you and me, actually know if brands are practicing what they preached within their corporations.
Chuter also urged consumers to refrain from purchasing from brands who have yet to share their diversity numbers. “We have to make it completely transparent so that consumers can vote with their wallets on what company they support,” she said.
Understandably, brands with low or no Black employees in teams will be reluctant to share these figures. But as the UOMA Beauty founder has said in her CNN interview, “in the process of looking at those numbers, companies are reflecting.” She went on to explain, “I’ve had calls from chief executives of companies, brand founders saying “Sharon, what do we do and where do we start?” And that’s the conversation that we’re wanting to have. To start talking about solutions and this has been the only thing that’s doing any change.”
So far, the beauty industry has dominated most of the responses as various cosmetics and skincare brands shared their Black employment statistics. There are definitely many brands that still have much work cut out for them — little or no Black employees held leadership positions in these companies.
Still, there are beauty brands who have indeed walked the talk, with a significant percentage of Black talent in significant roles. These are the companies you’ll want to bookmark for your shopping list.
1. UOMA Beauty
Obviously, UOMA Beauty would make this list. After all, I’ve just mentioned it’s an inclusive, Black-owned beauty brand. But if you need more data for confirmation, here’s proof of their leadership figures:
- 50% Black
- 75% POC
- 25% Caucasian
On a related note, UOMA’s Say What?! foundation is its #1 best-selling item. Now, you know what to put in your shopping cart.
2. Gerard Cosmetics
Gerard Cosmetics has also pulled up in a big way. The women-owned company has 30% Black representation and 50% of their leadership roles are held by Black talent.
3. The Body Shop
According to The Body Shop US, it has 16.3% Black representation across corporate and store leadership teams while the overall Black leadership representation is 14%.
4. Luster Curl
A 100% Black-owned company that’s dedicated to providing fine grooming products for the hair and beard. Men and boys, it’s time to acquaint (or reacquaint) yourselves with Luster Curl.
5. Camille Rose
Being Black and woman-owned, Camille Rose has pulled up in a major way too. The multi-million dollar beauty, health, and wellness brand reported 90% Black representation in its executive and leadership roles. Cue the applause.
While Glossier didn’t exactly reveal their Black employment figures, the brand has made waves with its recent announcement of granting $500,000 to Black-owned beauty businesses. Additionally, Glossier will also provide advisory support to the grant recipients and promote these brands on its own channels.
7. M·A·C Cosmetics
Fans of M.A.C will be proud to hear that the makeup brand actually practices what it preached. Across the organization, the brand has 18% Black employees. In executive leadership and director-level positions, the figures stand at 17% and 4.5% respectively.
8. IMAN Cosmetics
Established as the makeup for women of color, IMAN Cosmetics is founded by the Somalia-born model, Iman. She also created the first beauty and makeup book — THE BEAUTY OF COLOR, THE Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color — specifically catered to different skin tones. Comprising only female employees and an 85% Black representation, this brand has definitely pulled up.
9. Black Opal
Black Opal’s commitment to Black beauty goes back as far as 1994. And that commitment is evident from its employment stats — 70% Black representation across the company with 100% Black in its leadership team. A true agent for change indeed.
10. Mielle Organics
Mielle Organics is a hair care and beauty brand that uses organic ingredients in its results-driven products. As a brand with 100% Black representation, you now know where to shop for your hair and skin needs.
11. NYX Cosmetics
While NYX Cosmetics’ Black representation is included in L’Oreal USA numbers, it’s clear from the photos that the brand has pulled up. Roles held by Black people include:
- Senior Vice President of Global Marketing, Social Media, and Product Development
- Vice President of Global Finance
- Assistant Vice President of Global Visual Merchandising and Store Design
- Global Director of Artistry, Content, and Product
- Director of Global Product Operations
purlisse’s founder, Jennifer Yen, is a Chinese-American who previously worked as an actress. She created purlisse, a French-Asian skincare brand that uses time-honored beauty secrets. The result is “high-performing, multi-tasking and skin-loving modern essentials.” Besides purlisse’s formidable products, it’s clear that the brand also believes in Black representation (20%).
13. OPV Beauty
OPV Beauty is a London-based beauty brand founded by two Nigerian-born sisters, Opeyemi and Bukola Adeyemo. It’s a small, Black-owned company so you should definitely give it some love in your next shopping spree.
SheaMoisture is well-known for its natural hair and skincare products. Besides pulling up in a serious way — 58% Black executives! — the brand also gives back to the community through its Community Commerce Fund by supporting minority business owners.
Farmacy has shown us that Black representation matters to small teams too. The farm-to-skin beauty brand has 13% Black representation across its team and 14% Black employees in leadership roles.
16. Krave Beauty
This minimalistic Korean beauty brand is founded by YouTube influencer, Liah Yoo, who had previously worked in AmorePacific. She shows us that Asian brands are also committed to Black Lives Matter, as seen from a 25% Black representation in Krave Beauty.
17. Sol de Janeiro
Sol de Janeiro is a Brazilian beauty brand that focuses on summer-worthy skin. As a small company, it’s founded by minority females from Korea, USA, and Brazil. Currently, the brand has a 10% overall Black representation with 6% Black on its management team.
18. Teami™ Blends
As a natural skincare brand that focuses on inner wellness, Teami™ Blends uses teas, herbs, and natural ingredients to create effective, plant-based products. What you need to know: The brand has 11% Black representation at the executive and managerial levels.
19. Dominique Cosmetics
As a small Hispanic-owned family brand, Dominique Cosmetics has 11% Black representation on its team. So if you’re looking for an eye palette or nude lipstick, you know where to go.
20. Markwins Beauty Brands, Inc.
Markwins Beauty Brands, Inc. is a family-owned company founded by a Taiwanese immigrant. It owns Physicians Formula, Wet n Wild, Black Radiance, Lip Smacker, and Lorac. The minority-owned corporation has 12.5% Black representation across its team and 25% at the executive level (Note: Markwins does not have a Board at the moment).
Briogeo has released a comprehensive list of its Black employee stats so kudos for that! The hair care brand has 40% Black at the executive level and 50% Black representation in its Board. Check out its award-winning hair products here.
22. Sunday Riley
The cult brand, Sunday Riley, has also pulled up: 9.1% Black in management roles and 11.5% Black talent within its team.
23. Coloured Raine Cosmetics
Another Black-owned brand that deserves your wallet’s vote. From the day it started, Coloured Raine Cosmetics has always been true to its vision — to create a cosmetics range that embraces all people of color. Plus, its team dynamics is 100% Black.
24. Rizos Curls
Rizos Curls is a Latino-owned hair care brand with 55% Black representation. It’s also the proud recipient of Naturally Curly’s Best of the Best Leaders in Curl Award (2019). So, if you’re on the hunt for natural and high-quality hair products, head over to Rizos now.
25. Ulta Beauty
The retail chain, Ulta Beauty, has also entered the building with its data — 18% Black at the Board level and 13% at the executive level. The company has also recently shared a post about Black-owned brands here, so be sure to check that out.
26. The Lip Bar
The Lip Bar is another women-owned brand that specializes in vegan and cruelty-free makeup. It also practices an inclusive ideology which is evident from its Black representation of 85%! Moreover, its Skin Serum Foundation range has 26 shades to suit skin tones of every color.
27. Huda Beauty
At Huda Beauty, 13% of Black people make up its headquarters figures. Given that Huda Beauty is actually based in Dubai, the significant Black representation within its company says a lot about the brand’s commitment to Black Lives Matter.
Farsali is an Indian-owned beauty brand that focuses on supporting minority races. This commitment is clearly seen from its 25% Black representation. While the company has stated that they currently do not have an executive team, they will be providing equal job opportunities for Black people when they expand.
29. Shop Miss A
Shop Miss A provides beauty products at just $1. Aside from its crazily affordable prices, the brand is also committed to Black equality. According to its Instagram story, the company currently has 14.7% Black representation.
30. Beauty Bakerie
Beauty Bakerie is pulling up beautifully too. It’s a beauty brand owned and led by Black entrepreneur, Cashmere Nicole. With 75% Black at the executive level and 60% Black in its Board of Directors, Beauty Bakerie is definitely leading by example.
31. Makeup Addiction® Cosmetics
Makeup Addiction® is another brand with 100% Black representation. Being available in “over 27 countries and 40 retailers worldwide”, this makes it easier for non-US residents to support the #blacklivesmatter movement.
32. Mented Cosmetics
I guess we are on a roll here because Mented Cosmetics is another Black-owned beauty brand that you need to show your support for. Its executive team is 100% Black with 75% Black talent on its Board. The brand was founded by two Black women, KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson, who were both frustrated about not having their beauty needs met by the current industry. So, if you’re looking for a brand that really delivers when it comes to Black beauty products, Mented is your girl.
33. PÜR Cosmetics
Widely known as the clean beauty brand, PÜR Cosmetics is toxic-free, vegan-friendly, and cruelty-free. Besides that, the brand’s full-time team has 30% Black employees and its executive leadership team is led by a Black woman, Tisha Thompson. For clean beauty enthusiasts, it’s time to shop at PÜR (if you aren’t already doing so).
34. The Crayon Case Cosmetics
The Crayon Case is a Black-owned company in which its entire team (executive and administrative levels) are 100% represented by Black people. As a makeup line dedicated to amateur makeup users, it features easy-to-use cosmetic products. For instance, The Newbie Kit has all the essentials you’ll need for your first foray into the world of makeup.
35. Jouska Cosmetics
Jouska Cosmetics is a small, indie, London-based brand that was launched in 2018. Despite its humble beginnings, this Black-owned brand is bold and glamorous when it comes to its makeup products. If you like to play with glitter on your peepers or consider fake eyelashes an essential, hop on over to Jouska now.
36. All Virgin Hair
All Virgin Hair is another Black-owned brand that focuses on luxury hair extensions and wigs. Its team is 100% POC, of which 93% are Black employees.
Masktini is an indie brand that provides luxurious facial masks that understand the true meaning of self-care. But more importantly, Masktini understands the need for racial diversity — it has 12.5% Black representation within its company.
38. Bounce Curl
Bounce Curl is born out of the frustrations of a woman with curly hair. After trying countless hair products to no avail, Merian created Bounce Curl which uses natural, wholesome ingredients to style curly hair effortlessly. Besides that, the brand practices genuine allyship as seen from how 30% of its employees are Black. Fun fact: The brand is completely owned by women of color.
While Luneia is a pretty young brand with a team of only two people, its commitment to representing melanated voices on its platform is strong. This skincare brand works with many freelancers, of which 17% are Black people. Besides that, Luneia will continue mentoring Black talent and amplifying the work of Black creators.
40. Tony Moly
The beloved Korean beauty brand, Tony Moly, has also pulled up to the campaign. K-Beauty fans will be heartened to find out that its small US team of 7 has 14.28% Black talent.
41. Omolewa Cosmetics
Omolewa Cosmetics is a 100% Black-owned makeup brand. It was founded by Irene Dele-Adejumo, whose middle name, Omolewa, means ‘Beautiful Child’ in Yoruba, a Nigerian language. Those looking for a touch of glamorous in their daily lives, why not choose Omolewa for bold, elegant, and long-lasting makeup?
42. Big Hair + Beauty
Big Hair + Beauty is another story of how the beauty industry failed to meet the needs of individuals with textured, curly hair. The founder, Melissa, created this brand to provide natural, high-quality products specifically designed for afro and curly hair types. It’s also why the brand is 100% Black and led by women.
43. Flora & Curl™
Flora & Curl™ is solely owned by a Nigerian-born, Black woman. This is why her team has one of the best Black representations at 60%. It’s also clear that the founder believes in Team Female since the team is 100% women too. If you want to keep your curls well-moisturized with natural and pure ingredients, Flora & Curl™ is your go-to brand.
44. Boyfriend Perfume
Nothing smells better than being actively anti-racist, and Boyfriend Perfume has managed to do just that. Its small team of 7 has 29% Black representation in managerial roles. Plus, its products are cruelty-free, BPA-free, and vegan-made. So, if you’re into scented products, check out Boyfriend Perfume now.
45. Peace Out Skincare
Besides being fun and straightforward about skincare, Peace Out Skincare is also fun and straightforward about pulling up — its team has 12.5% Black talent. And since it’s Pride month, you’ll be happy to hear that this brand is gay-owned and pro-LGBTQ+. Get your Peace Out hydrocolloid sticker now.
46. YENSA Beauty
You’ll be surprised to find out that YENSA Beauty is created by purlisse’s founder too. While purlisse uses Asian ingredients in its products, YENSA takes a superfood approach. Each product contains 8 superfoods, a diversity that’s also widely practiced in its team dynamics — Black (20%), Latina, Asian, Persian, and White.
If you’re looking to level up your makeup results, you need to try this airbrushing device by TEMPU. It gives you flawless, professional-looking makeup that’s worthy of a spot on Vogue’s cover. More importantly, though, is its commitment to an inclusive brand at 11% Black representation.
48. Serumize Skin
As Serumize Skin puts it, “Inclusivity is not a trend for us, it’s a way of being. We uphold the same values when no one is watching.” And it shows in its employment statistics in which 50% are Black talent. You should also know that the brand is 100% Black-owned and female-led. If you want effective skin solutions that are diversity-focused, remember to keep Serumize Skin in mind.
49. HABIT SKIN
Habit Skin is pretty new on the market — it’s about to launch its first product soon — but that hasn’t stopped it from being inclusive. The brand recently shared that its team has 15% Black representation with a commitment to work with more Black talent. If you’re a millennial who’s already into anti-aging skincare, you should definitely bookmark this brand.
50. Maréna Beauté
Maréna Beauté has been an inclusive brand from day one — its team consists of 80% African employees and is owned by a Black woman. In the words of Maréna Beauté, “When purchasing products from (the brand), rest assured that you as a customer are investing in a black company that stays true to its objective — creating luxury makeup for people of color.” So, what are you waiting for?
Find your tribe
Obviously, the list of beauty brands that walked the talk isn’t limited to these companies only. But the ones mentioned above are a good starting place to vote with your wallets. Check out their Instagram pages and follow them. See what other initiatives they are committing themselves to and hold them accountable whenever possible.
As a consumer and as a fellow activist against racism, you have to do your homework. This way, you will be able to say that you’re a true ally of the Black Lives Matter movement, and not just for a fleeting moment. For the brands who have yet to pull up in a spectacular way — they aren’t cancelled, just paused for the moment. Remember, you have the power to change the world for the better too. The time to act with your wallet is NOW.