It’s that time again: the holidays are here, which means you need some recommendations for the best black-owned brands to shop from! Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. From nourishing skincare to home essentials to food brands that the whole family will love, the official Bold Xchange Black-Owned Holiday Gift Guide will not disappoint.
As you may know, this year the Bold Xchange team reviewed 50 products from black brands and creators for our video series Boldly Black-Owned—below, all brands we’ve tried are denoted with an asterisk. These reviews led up to us launching a Kickstarter [https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/boldxchange/bold-xchange?ref=3al60t] to fund our online shop for black-owned brands, so stay tuned for that at the top of 2020! For now, let’s get into the 50 best black-owned brands we’ve had our eye on this year.
Have you ever moisturized with aloe vera gel? We hadn’t! Not until we tried Base Butter’s Radiate Face Jelly, which is an aloe-based daily moisturizer that promises to clear blemishes and soothe skin. How? It turns out that aloe naturally balances the pH of your skin—paired with lavender, almond oil, tea tree oil, and shea butter, it creates a silky moisturizer that will leave your face with a natural glow.
We’ve all been there: at the end of an incredible (but exhausting) night out, we shuffle to our bathroom sink and contemplate going to bed with a face full of makeup, or scrubbing off our foundation and mascara until our skin is nearly raw. Lauren Napier—creator of her namesake beauty brand—knew there had to be a better way. That’s why she started making makeup remover wipes that are infused with ingredients like cucumber, aloe, and starfruit: with these, taking off your makeup can be just as beautiful as putting it on.
We’ve had our eyes on Mented Cosmetics for quite some time—especially after their cofounders Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller became the 15th and 16th black women ever to raise $1 million in venture capital. Although they started by creating nude lip colors for all skin tones, they’ve since expanded to include other makeup. If you’re in the market for a new foundation stick, check out Skin by Mented. It comes in 16 nuanced shades, and their shade finder helps you compare your current foundation to their for easy shopping! Leave it to a black-owned brand to have this kind of range.
Brown + Coconut*
Plant-based diets are all the rage right now, but what about plant-based skincare? That’s the concept behind Brown & Coconut: real ingredients, real results. Their healing-focused formulas are designed to attack blemishes, acne, and scarring with plant power. One of their best-sellers, the Healing Kale Mask, comes in powder form. You just add water, spread it on, and let the kale, green clay, honeysuckle, thyme, and other healing ingredients work their magic.
As a couplepreneur team, we love coming across husband and wife, black-owned businesses that are killing the game. That was the case with Danielle and Stephen Spikes, the creators of BeLoved box, which curates collections of items that allow you to connect with your partner—or yourself—with intention and care. When Doug tried the Be for He box for men, he fell in love with the foaming face and body scrub. The box also includes questions to help men examine their mental health—nice touch!
The Lip Bar*
Detroit-based. Black woman-owned. All about self-expression. That’s The Lip Bar in a nutshell. The makeup brand initially set out to offer a wider range of colorful lipstick and gloss shades, and now they have products for your entire face. Danielle has tried three of the brand’s formulas—each in a different shade, of course—and she doesn’t leave the house without them. Whether it’s Trophy Wife gloss, Savage liquid matte, Cocoa Cooler lipstick, or another stunning shade, you can’t go wrong!
Noire Beauté Bar*
We first fell in love with DC-based Noire Beauté Bar when Doug bought the Moroccan Rose Face Toner (and Danielle promptly stole it for herself). But we recently tried the Turmeric & Honey Facial Cleansing Bar, and it’s just as impressive. It leaves your skin smooth and calm, and wards against breakouts.
Serena Nicole Skincare*
We always thought there was such a thing as being ‘too young’ for eye cream. That is, until we learned more about skincare and found Serena Nicole’s Cocoa Coffee Under Eye Cream. Bags, be gone!
The word “agrestal” means growing wild in a cultivated field—hence the all-natural approach to all their skin and body care products. We’re partial to the charcoal products, including the gently exfoliating Charcoal and Willow Bark Cleanser.
Not all body butter is created equal. But Slay Naturals is quietly slaying body care competitors. It’s never too oily or watery, just the perfect whipped consistency to ward off ashy ankles this winter. The citrusy scent is just a bonus.
Chocolate Kinks & KurlsChocolate Kinks & Kurls*
A few years ago, Juanita Henderson (founder of Chocolate Kinks & Kurls), was getting ready for an appointment to get her hair relaxed, when her young naturalista daughter asked why, if natural hair was beautiful, would Juanita get it chemically straightened. This led her to get a big chop, and eventually to dream up Chocolate Kinks & Kurls, which not only has great products, but helps customers with varying textures make their curls pop. Their lemon rose hydrating oil doesn’t just smell amazing—it’s packed with essential oils and extracts to give your hair a healthy shine.
If you’re a finger-comb fiend, check out The Doux’s Mousse Def Texture Foam. It will have your curls super defined, and once you defused, they’ll be bouncing and behaving. (P.S. it’s also sold in Target.)
Avocado is touted as a healthy fat with all kinds of benefits because it’s so nutrient rich. That’s what makes it the perfect base for NaturAll Club, a line of hair products that uses the green fruit (yes, avocado is a fruit!) and other natural ingredients to help grow healthy hair. While their avocado deep conditioner is their flagship product, we also love the flaxseed gel edge control. It’s fortified with yogurt powder and coconut oil to moisturize your edges and give you long-lasting hold without flaking.
Best. Wash-and-go. Ever. At least that’s what they tell us! CurlMix swears by their four-step system, which they say can be used on any hair type to get perfect wash-and-go curls. If you just want to start with one product and go from there, we recommend the Flaxseed Gel. The Softening formula leans on argan oil for extra moisturizing, and can be added to wet or damp hair to make detangling and styling a breeze.
This St. Louis-based brand started out with cosmetics, but they’ve expanded to hair care products—and we’re so glad they did! The ‘Stimulate’ Growth Serum has a beautiful peppermint scent, and leaves your scalp tingling and moisturized. Peppermint, tea tree, and other oils in this make for a luscious blend.
As tried and true styling creams go, this one deserves a gold medal. The brand has been around for awhile, and it’s no wonder—the products simply work! The Curly Curl Cream is our favorite for twist outs and braid outs, but no matter what style you prefer, they have a product for you. We know so many people who used and loved the brand for years before finding out it was also black-owned!
Speaking of brands that are true to this, Curls raised the bar with their Cashmere and Caviar line a couple years back. The products are luxurious and leave your hair SO soft—because they’re made with extracts of the softest, most luxe things you can think of.
They don’t make products you can wash or style your hair with, but they’re certainly a hair care company. These groundbreaking silk-lined hats in various styles protect your hair from cold and snagging fabric. This is a ground-breaking product, so not only is it a black-owned company, it’s a black invention!
Healthy Roots Dolls
This is one of our favorites. Founder Yelitsa Jean-Charles created the company to help children learn to love and take care of their natural hair. It’s social impact and hair care wrapped in one!
Remember when your mom used to clean out the bathtub with a powder or spray, and you almost had to open every window in the vicinity or else you’d choke on the fumes? Well you don’t have to worry about that with Pur Home. The eco-friendly cleaning brand uses natural, non-toxic ingredients to give you all the cleaning power and none of the harsh chemicals. They carry everything from scour powder to glass cleaner—try their laundry detergent and dryer balls to keep clothes and linens fresh.
The founders of Freres Branchiaux asked their mom for money for toys. She told them to get a job or start a business. They did the latter. And we’re so glad they did. The Amber Nights Room Spray keeps our place smelling great. Black-owned business by kids under the age of 14? Take our money!
Mainstream candle brands use common scents like evergreen or cinnamon or cedar to fill your house with an almost-intoxicating, artificial scent. ElonWick does it differently: the slow-burning, soy wax candles are made with essential oils and never emit ash or leave black soot coating on the jar. The brand’s scent combinations are incredibly original, too. For winter months, burn the Southern Holiday candle, infused with red currant, red wine, orange peel, and apple cider.
If you’re planning on playing spades this holiday season—or you know someone who’s always looking to start up a game—you need 1998 Deck in your life. Their music-inspired card decks come in collections depicting different genres and eras. For example, their NolAnta deck features hip-hop artists from New Orleans and Atlanta. Put on a playlist of these rappers and you’ve got a party!
Page Eleven Paper Goods
Come January, we’ll need to get our collective lives together. A new decade demands newfound focus and intention. Page Eleven planners will help you set and track goals. Wake Up & Work is our favorite.
If you travel a lot, either for business or fun, it can be nice to bring a piece of homey-ness (is that a word?) to even the most unfamiliar spaces. Pro tip: these mini candles will last you up to 75 hours!
Perhaps the best thing about Modish’s luxe coasters is that they make the perfect gift for a new homeowner, your bougie aunt, or the bachelor in your life whose coffee table you want to save from water rings
Carrie Card Co.*
Unique artwork, top-notch quality, and plenty of space for a custom message—these cards check all the boxes, and span across different occasions. No more searching the tiny melanated section of the card aisle for a message that shares the right sentiment. Plus, this way you know your greeting card budget is going to a black-owned business.
We usually focus on US-based black-owned businesses, but we make an exception for top-notch brands like Muffin Sisters, a UK brand that makes African-inspired bedding and accessories for babies and toddlers.
Apparel & Accessories
This is another black-owned UK company we love to rave about. Jumpsuits, dresses, crop tops and other styles in stunning African prints. Sizes 4-20. Fast shipping. Ethically made in their London and Cameroon workshops.
Most Greek-affiliated organization members know that line jackets and other paraphernalia can be great to rep your org, but not always the best quality materials. Well Danielle Render, the founder of Divine Creations, has created a Greek apparel line that is unrivaled by any other we’ve seen. The utmost quality. Creative custom work. And, perhaps most importantly, fashionable designs that pop in any setting—and will turn heads wherever you wear them.
Chocolate Ancestor had us matching like a couple at Disney World in these tees, but the product lineup extends far beyond apparel—anything to celebrate black culture.
Socks are the most underrated accessories. There, we said it! We think about our shoes, our bags, our jewelry, but we don’t always consider how socks can set off an outfit. Culture Socks will help you make a statement. They’re perfect for those who wear suits or slacks often, but they’re also comfy enough to keep in your bag for when you find yourself at a friend’s shoe-free home. The bright colors in the Ruth design are guaranteed to add a pop to to your outfit.
Terrance, the creator of Etsy shop Clutch89, is easily one of our favorite black-owned business owners we’ve ever worked with. So creative. So professional. And all designs are ethically sourced and handmade.
The Glow Girl*
Who doesn’t love a little sparkle in their life? The Glow Girl, a luxury—but highly affordable—jewelry boutique makes delicate necklaces, anklets, and rings to add just a touch of glamour to even the most dressed-down outfits. They specialize in custom work like name plates and stunning pendants. Not only are the pieces durable, but they’re timeless, too.
The Sellers Group*
Between their podcast and apparel, The Sellers Group finds hilarious ways to say what we’re all thinking. Who among us isn’t a card-carrying member of the Washed Alumni Association?
If we’re being honest, we haven’t met a DIOP design we didn’t like, but the bold shades of red and yellow make Idris our favorite at the moment. We’ll probably change our mind by the time this post is published.
If you want your jewelry to be the star of your outfit, Jam+Rico’s Caribbean-inspired earrings, bracelets, and necklaces will definitely fit the bill. They have collections for Cuba, Jamaica, and Aruba, each with a different show-stopping style. The tassel earrings in the Cuba collection are too chic for words.
Black and Goal’d*
If you’ve seen our cofounder Danielle in an airport anytime this year, chances are she was wearing her Black and Goal’d crewneck. The black-owned, Detroit brand now offers a hoodie, so go get one before they sell out!
Flare & Square*
Back before Bold even existed, Flare and Square was selling handmade pocket squares in striking patterns. Now, they sell every formal wear accessory from socks to ties to sets like this one.
Food & Drink
If you’re a newbie to herbalism but you’re interested in using herbs and minerals to support your health, look no further than Ivy’s Tea. The hip-hop inspired brand uses lyrics, song titles, and even artist names to mark their tea blends and infused honey. Our perfect cup? Rise & Grind black tea with coconut flakes, and Side Piece honey infused with cinnamon and clove.
Swag Brownie Barz*
If you’ve been racking your brain, looking for a delicious dessert for the holidays that’s not a pie or cake or anything with sweet potatoes, Swag Brownie Barz are for you. From strawberries and cream to Crown Royale salted caramel, these brownies and blondies are anything but ordinary. We couldn’t possibly choose a favorite—instead, we suggest purchasing a few varieties and sharing with your family!
Once the holidays come to a close, we’ll all be taking a hard look at our New Years’ resolutions, which almost always include something health-related. Whether you’re looking to improve your gut health, or you want to switch up your diet to cut down on breakouts, Golde should be on your list. The turmeric powder blend comes in three varieties—original, matcha, and cacao—and can be added to tea, coffee, yogurt, or smoothies as a tasty supplement to support gut, skin, and immune health. The original blend is tried and true, and contains turmeric, coconut, cardamom, and cinnamon.
Next on the list of 2020 goals is fitness. And we can’t get these gains without proper fuel. LoAdeBar’s dark chocolate bars are delicious, plant-powered, and give you enough energy to push through long workouts.
Sorrel is a Jamaican drink made with hibiscus tea and spices. It can be consumed hot or cold, but a warm mug of it on a winter evening is what holiday dreams are made of. Spicegrove Roselle is a new take on the classic. We’re planning to order a few bottles to share with the family on Christmas and we recommend you do the same.
It’s Poppin Gourmet Kettle Korn*
This was another taste test we absolutely loved. We know our midwest friends are all about that caramel-cheese combo from [redacted], but we’d like to throw It’s Poppin into the mix because it’s just that good.
After your workout, replenish with a VeganSmart shake. Their protein blends are plant-based and include 22 vitamins and minerals. Not to mention the flavor is on point.
Southern Culture Foods*
For vegans and our dairy-free friends, finding a pancake recipe that really works is no small feat. But Southern Culture Foods takes out the guesswork. Not only are their mixes vegan, they also include recipes for traditional and vegan versions. Before you ask, yes they are delicious.
The Kitchenista Cookbooks*
Whether for a friend who’s finally learning their way around a kitchen, or a seasoned home chef looking for new inspo, The Kitchenista’s cookbooks are a great gift. Easy to follow recipes with delicious results.
Black-owned breweries are hard to come by, so when we found Sankofa Beer, we were geeked. Doug tried the Hypebiscus pale ale and…let’s just say he enjoyed himself!