Indigenous-founded beauty brands don't get the recognition and shelf space they deserve. And often times, Native American rituals and remedies are commercialized in the wellness and beauty space without crediting the tribes they've originated from.
But Indigenous entrepreneurs are reclaiming their culture and tribes' stories through the creation of their brands. With a focus on natural ingredients and sustainable packaging, their products are built around natural herbs, like sage and lavender, that have been utilized by their communities for decades. Many of the founders have used their brands as a means to create jobs for their communities, from gathering ingredients in nature to selling the products at farmer's markets and storefronts.
From long-wear lipstick to beautiful bars of soap, here are 10 products to try from Indigenous-owned beauty and wellness brands, along with their origin stories.
1. Cheekbone Beauty
Anishinaabe-Canadian Jennifer Harper launched Cheekbone Beauty in 2016. With a focus on cruelty-free sustainable ingredients and packaging, the makeup brand has become known for its Sustain Lipstick. The velvety satin formula comes in packaging made with biodegrable materials and can be recycled after use. Along with the lipstick, all of the products in the line are named after the land where its ingredients originated. Recently, Cheekbone launched its first lengthening and volumizng mascara. The brand also gives back to the Indigenous community through monetary and project-based donations.
To shop: $27 each; cheekbonebeauty.com
2. Prados Beauty
Prados Beauty was created by Xicana-Arizonian Cece Meadows. The line includes makeup brushes, lashes, and accessories, such as makeup bags, infused with her culture. Created for Prados' collaboration with Indigenous artist Steven Paul Judd, The Matriarch Palette includes 30 high-pigment matte and shimmer shades to create a wide range of looks.
To shop: $45; pradosbeauty.com
3. Sḵwálwen Botanicals
This luxury skincare brand bases its formulas around traditional Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) plant knowledge. Founder Leigh Joseph ensures each ingredient is responsibly harvested and gives each product a Squamish name based on where the plant in its formula came from. The Tewín'xw Cranberry Rose Facial Serum (too-ay-nooh is a Squamish for berry), includes a blend of cold-pressed berry oils, botanically derived hyaluronic acid, and coenzyme Q, to brighten and nourish the skin, plus minimize fine lines and wrinkles.
To shop: $62; skwalwen.com
4. Ah-Shí Beauty
Ahsaki Baa LaFrance-Chachere grew up Navajo Reservation in Arizona, where her luxury skincare and makeup brand Ah-Shí Beauty is based. The Hi Def Foundation has become a fan-favorite for its dewy medium coverage, inclusive shade range, and anti-aging benefits.
To shop: $48; ahshibeauty.com
5. Sister Sky
Sisters Marina TurningRobe and Monica Simeon created Sister Sky to honor their heritage. The products are made with traditional herbs their ancestors used for health and wellness. Along with body care and wellness the line includes haircare essentials, like the Sweetgrass Shampoo.
To shop: $13; sistersky.com
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6. Blended Girl Cosmetics
While founder Shí-Fawn Chee fell in love with makeup in her early 20s, she wasn't happy with the lack of representation on the shelves. So she created Blended Girl Cosmetics with the goal of creating products for Indigenous people that didn't have Pendleton/Aztec designs on them. The brand is known for its false lashes, named after prominent Native American women.
To shop: $6; blendedgirl.com
7. Niawen Wisdom Birch/Chaga Cream
Mohawk Tara-Tekahentakhwa created Niawen after beating cancer. The line gets its name from the Mohawk word for "thank you", and is a way for the founder to acknowledge her second chance at life. Niawen's products are powered by both nature and science, and honors the traditional healing rituals of her tribe. This rich cream moisturizes, firms, and purifies skin, while minimizing inflammation.
To shop: $72; naiwen.com
8. Sequoia Soaps
Inspired by native legends and ingredients, Sequoina Soaps is founded and operated by Indigenous women. Michaelee Lazore, Kanien'kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Akwesáhsne and Northern Paiute from Nevada, launched the brand in 2002, and the design, production, and packaging is all done locally. Along with soaps and candles, the brand makes decadent scrubs, such as this blackberry sage one.
To shop: $38; sequoiasoaps.com
9. Satya Organic Skin Care
Satya Organic Skin Care is based in Northern Vancouver, and founded by Patrice Mousseau, Anishinaabe member of the Fort William First Nation. Mousseau was inspired to create a natural alternative to steroid creams when her young daughter developed eczema. Rooted in traditional medicine and science, the products are made with plant-based ingredients to help heal and provide instant relief. Take the Calendula Oat Bath, for example.
To shop: $25/2; satya.ca
10. Yukon Soap Company
The Yukon Soap Company's bar soaps are almost too pretty to use. Along with body cleanser, the brand makes essential oil blends, boy oils, and men's grooming products. Founder Joella Hogan has built a community behind the brand, enlisting members to help gather ingredients and sell products at local farmer's markets.
To shop: $9; yukonsoaps.com
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