One of the best ways to help make a difference in the LGBTQ+ community is to support queer-owned businesses — in particular, those in the beauty and grooming industry. While the beauty world has made strides to become more inclusive in recent years, hawking special-edition Pride items every June as many mainstream brands are inclined to do is seldom enough to pay respect to a community that has been influential in shaping beauty and grooming standards.
Thus, we’re sharing eight LGBTQ-owned grooming brands that are producing some of the best grooming products you can find right now. In addition to selling inclusive personal care items, these companies are also leveraging their influence to give back to the LGBTQ+ community and the world at large.
Alder New York
Alder New York is a genderless skincare and haircare line based in Brooklyn. Founded in 2016 by best friends David J. Krause and Nini Zilka, this queer- and woman-owned business is dedicated to making clean beauty accessible to everyone. One of Alder New York’s core philosophies is the notion that effective skincare products have nothing to do with gender — and everything to do with your skin’s unique needs.
Kiss My Face
Bob MacLeod and his now-husband Steve Byckiewicz co-founded Kiss My Face in the early 1980s. Nearly 40 years later, Kiss My Face can now be found at your favorite corner pharmacy or chic boutique. The brand is perhaps best known for its large bars of soap — its first-ever product — but has since expanded to produce deodorant, toothpaste, and shave lotion. Kiss My Face products are cruelty-free and (mostly) vegan.
Mac Cosmetics needs very little introduction — it’s one of the largest beauty brands in the world. It began in 1984 when two out makeup artists, Frank Toskan and the late Frank Angelo, shared a goal of creating makeup that photographed well on models. In 1994, the Mac AIDS Fund was formed to support the fight against HIV and AIDS. (The Mac Viva Glam campaign has since raised over $450 million for HIV/AIDS charities.) Today, Mac Cosmetics champions inclusivity and has lent its support toward numerous causes.
Business (and life) partners Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz opened their Malin+Goetz flagship apothecary in Chelsea in 2004. The rest, as they say, is history. For over 15 years, Malin+Goetz has become a global brand best known for its simple, sustainable approach to skincare. Along with skincare and body washes, Malin+Goetz also sells hair products, fragrances, and even hand-poured wax candles to make your next at-home spa day extra special.
Mantl’s line of Face + Scalp products was inspired by bald individuals but can be effectively used by anybody. Founded by Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown in 2016, Mantl is intent on changing the mainstream perception of baldness. As Brown told The Manual, “We’re here for you no matter if you have a full head of hair that’s just starting to thin, or if it’s all gone. Embrace it, because you’re still beautiful.”
Otherwild General is a queer-identified, woman-owned brand founded by Rachel Berks in 2012. It specializes in non-disposable, low/no-waste, and upcycled products — including shampoo bars, scrubs, and grooming tools. Otherwild General also sells sustainable cleaning products, kitchen wares, and apparel. It even sponsors the Anotherwild Fund, a grant for which BIOPC LGBTQIA creators can apply.
Queer perfumier Patrick Kelly launched Sigil in 2015. All of Sigil’s fragrances are gender-neutral, which is a departure from the traditional norms of women’s perfume and men’s cologne. In line with his brand’s namesake, all of Kelly’s fragrances are a manifestation of the unity between the tangible and the sensorial.
W3ll People was founded over 10 years ago by a makeup artist, a dermatologist, and a wellness guru — all queer-identifying — who sought to create a brand of clean cosmetics that embraces natural beauty. All of W3ll People’s products are plant-based and cruelty-free. In addition to producing sustainable beauty products for everyone, W3ll People also donates to LGBTQ+ initiatives and other causes.
Read more: Makeup for Men Guide
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