Indigenous beauty brands don't often get the recognition they deserve, evidenced by the plain-and-simple fact that it's rare to see them on the shelves at major beauty retailers. There's no good reason why there aren't many options available to customers yet, but even so, their impact transcends profit potential, with a focus on giving back to the community, being kind to the planet, and harnessing the traditional — and sustainable — practices used by families for centuries.
But the good news is that plenty of Indigenous makeup, skin care, and body care brands are attracting customers without being attached to a big-name retailer — and that's a major feat in its own right. Take Satya Organics, for example, a skin care brand founded by a new mom in 2014. Determined to find a non-toxic, anti-inflammatory solution to her child's eczema, she developed a balm in her kitchen crockpot that cleared up her daughter's skin in two days. The latter is just one example of several of Indigenous founders making a lasting impact on the beauty community.
From luxury botanicals to super pigmented eyeshadow palettes, keep scrolling to learn about nine of the best Indigenous-owned beauty brands, as well as TZR's product recommendations from each.
We only include products that have been independently selected by TZR's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
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Canada native Jenn Harper founded Cheekbone Beauty in 2016 to create a high-quality cosmetics brand that gives back to the Indigenous community while being as low waste and sustainable as possible. Since its launch, the brand has unveiled several products ranging from face palettes to eyeshadow palettes, but its top-seller is its über pigmented (and top-rated) Sustain Lipstick, available in eight shades. Its most recent launch is the lash-lengthening Sustain Mascara containing castor oil to promote lash growth.
Satya Organic Skin Care
Satya Organics was born in 2014, initially founded by Patrice Mousseau to treat her baby's eczema. "The journey to Satya specifically started when Esme was eight months old and developed eczema," says the founder in an interview on the brand's website. "I took her to the doctor and was shocked to find that the only recommendation was a steroid cream!” So, she got to work, creating her own non-toxic, anti-inflammatory formula using just five ingredients. Now, Satya's hero product, Satya Eczema Relief Stick, is a game-changer for eczema and dryness, itchiness, and chafing, among other skin ailments.
In 2018, Prados Beauty founder Cece Meadows was the first Native American makeup artist to work backstage during New York Fashion Week. A year later, her cosmetics brand was born, and today, it's known for its maximalist makeup offerings, like statement falsies and bold-hued eyeshadow palettes made in collaboration with Native American artist Steven Paul Judd. Besides its glamorous offerings, the “Prados Promise” is to “put money, time, and mentorship back into Indigenous communities.”
Luxury Indigenous brand Skwalwen Botanicals (pronounced “skwall - win”) was founded by Leigh Joseph whose ancestral Squamish name is Styawat. She uses Squamish cultural teachings to harvest plants for her formulations (which, FYI, are free from harsh chemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic colors, and parabens). Products include everything from facial oils and serums to lip balm and universal skin salve.
Ketahli Beauty utilizes native Australian ingredients in its skin, hair, and makeup products, specifically those that have anti-inflammatory and healing properties. “Ketahli Beauty represents my three beautiful daughters and the beauty of my people, especially our women who are the backbone of Aboriginal families and are too often overlooked,” says the founder, Latoya, on the brand’s website. Note all of the five-star ratings — shoppers are obsessed!
Ahsaki Báá LaFrance-Chachere is the first in the nation to open a cosmetics store on a reservation — particularly, her Navajo Nation reservation. “What really started it all is the need for authentic representation, the founder told InStyle regarding her company's founding. “Being a product of the Navajo Reservation, we never see ourselves or hear our voices in the beauty industry. Being a res. kid and having a mom who was a fashionista and into luxury beauty, there has never been a voice of ours in the space. I don't want to be just one brand, but the official first Native American prestige beauty brand. I hope building this company is going to do more than create amazing products, but also inspire others to start their own brands and businesses, in the beauty industry and beyond.”
Everything about Wildcraft Skincare evokes calming vibes. The zen-boosting brand is owned by Laura Whitaker, a member of the Mohawk Nation from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. The Toronto-based brand’s products are handmade in small batches using 100% natural ingredients. The company’s goal? Per its website, is “to make all-natural, high quality skin care products attainable and approachable to everyone.” Interested shoppers can even book a complimentary consultation to help discover the right products for them.
Mother Earth Essentials
Founder Carrie Armstrong comes from a long line of Cree Medicine women, and with Mother Earth Essentials, she aims to share the nature-inspired wisdom passed down to her. The brand’s website offers helpful resources to learn about the Indigenous medicine wheel and its sacred plants. Armstrong’s product offerings run the gamut from candles and home mists to lotions and hair care.
Founder Ariana Lauren is passionate about creating ancestral medicines in the form of modern skin care, which takes the form of a topical salve, tattoo aftercare balm, and fragrances, among other offerings. “As an indigenous-owned company it is my spiritual duty to protect mother earth from further destruction,” says the founder on the brand’s website. “Each product is crafted by hand in my small home studio using 100% renewable energy. All packaging is sourced from American companies to prevent additional carbon emissions.”