Black History Month is the annual celebration of African-American culture, originally established as a week-long observance in 1926 by historian, scholar, and publisher, Carter G. Woodson. It became a full month in 1976 by decree of then-President Gerald R. Ford.
Not that we shouldn’t be paying attention to Black culture all year long, but we’ve taken a moment to highlight products produced by just a few of the many Black-owned grooming and skincare brands. These professionals not only fill voids for Black skincare left in the mainstream personal care aisle but also strive to make the world a little bit better than they found it.
Craig the Barber has been keeping the men of Beverly Hills looking sharp for well over a decade. He began cutting his own hair at age 14 (‘cause Mom and Dad weren’t anteing up for a fresh haircut every week), eventually pursuing a career in finance. Finding that career unfulfilling, he decided to commit full-time to barbering and has never looked back, tending to clients such as Michael Jordan and Sean Combs. He also sells his own collection of products under the Burke Avenue label, including this three-in-one face balm (incorporating aftershave, as well as a day and night moisturizer). The product includes calming and anti-inflammatory aloe vera and peppermint oil, as well as moisturizing avocado oil; not to mention CoQ10 and green tea leaf extract for anti-aging properties. The collection also includes a moisturizing shave cream and a TSA-approved size travel shave cream.
Featuring handsomely designed packaging, Nature Boy was founded by Jacob Quetant when he was seeking an all-natural product to take care of his beard. After trying everything in the store — and even some of his girlfriend’s products — Quetant got down to creating his own formulas. The collection now includes beard oils, balms, and conditioners, as well as an herbal lip balm, and brush and comb sets. We like this soap, sourced from Ghana, that features Cocoa Pod Ash, Palm Kernel Oil, and Plantain Skin.
Che’ was founded by Lynn Michelle, a licensed cosmetologist with more than 27 years of experience. After she’d launched her women’s collection, Che’ Beautiful, in July 2015, she quickly saw the need to offer her luxury products to men. With a well-curated collection specifically formulated for men’s skin, Che’ For Men is an easy way to bring a little luxury into your life without having to drop luxurious amounts of cash. Use this treatment on the face, head, and neck after shaving.
CEO Calvin Quallis started Scotch Porter when he decided to take a leap of faith and quit his cushy corporate job and follow his passion for making people feel their best. He opened a barber shop and then started experimenting with his own botanicals. He used quality ingredients while avoiding parabens, petroleum, mineral oil, and silicones, which tend to be more difficult to wash out. The brand’s Charcoal & Licorice Restoring Face Wash cleanses and rescues dry skin while maintaining skin’s natural pH balance and controls oil and shine while minimizing the chance of breakouts. The exfoliating face scrub removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores and stimulates blood flow, minimizing the effects of aging and fading dark marks and blemishes over time.
Murray’s is an old-school staple for men everywhere. Even if you don’t use a pomade, these retro-style tins just look great in your bathroom. But beyond the classic pomade, developed in 1926, Murray’s also offers everything from Billey’s Beard Balm to Black Magic After Shave Lotion; in short, everything a man needs to keep his hair and beard soft, shiny, and healthy.
Raised in the sleepy Southern beach town of Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S. Army veteran Pamela J. Booker started her company with an appreciation for things that come from the Earth. All Koils By Nature products are certified vegan and cruelty-free. From its start, her collection was sought after by both women and men, so she launched her focused grooming collection in 2016 with tremendous success. The company’s Beard Detox Conditioner helps remove impurities while it rebuilds and protects your beard, drawing out bacteria, toxins, and dirt. Use after thoroughly cleansing the beard.
Solo Noir Founder and CEO Andrea Polk holds a master’s degree in business and a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She is also a licensed aesthetician. We’re going to guess she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to creating and marketing a high-quality natural skincare line. (The line was tagged as the Best Consumer Product in Chicago in 2015). Her products use organic, all-natural ingredients to ensure her loyal guys are using only the best. The Dapper Face Wash helps to eliminate beard dandruff, while gently removing dirt and debris, and is ideal for coarse and fine facial hair. Take your pick of either the Bold or Muse Beard Oils to finish your shaving regimen.
These streamlined products are built specifically for one of the most challenging grooming tasks for men of color: Shaving. None of the products contain alcohol, to avoid drying the skin. Get this all-in-one kit and start with damp, clean skin, applying a thin layer of pre-shave oil to coat the shaving area. Apply the shaving cream on top, then shave normally. Once finished, apply either the After Shave Tonic or Balm to keep skin hydrated and fresh.
H.I.M-istry founder Darnell Henderson addresses just about every skincare and grooming problem Black men face, from products for razor and electric shaving to treating acne, pigmentation issues, and combination, dry, or sensitive skin. Himistry 101 is the site’s informative list of each ingredient’s properties — allowing for a deep dive into self-care — complemented by Henderson’s Himistry blog. Try this moisturizer with antioxidants and collagen-boosting natural compounds, perfect as a lightweight aftershave moisturizer that also keeps fine lines and wrinkles at bay.
Article originally published by Barret Wertz on February 7, 2018. Last update by John Jones on February 28, 2019.