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These Canadian Entrepreneurs Are Diversifying the Beauty Industry

A woman with bright blue eyeshadow smiling at the camera, showcasing some makeup from bipoc beauty brand, Cheekbone Beauty

The push for greater diversity and representation (and thus, the lack thereof) has been one that every major industry has had to reckon with—the world of beauty is no exception. The $532-billion category (based on a 2019 global estimate by Forbes) is evolving to become more inclusive and diverse, not just for its customers but also in the teams that are leading a new generation of exciting and progressive brands. 

In recent years, we’ve seen the arrival of vibrant BIPOC beauty and skincare startups on the scene that are led or founded by savvy and inspiring BIPOC women. From vegan and organic skincare essentials to moisturizing makeup, these companies are quickly replacing once go-to global beauty brands for a discerning – and rapidly growing – clientele of in-the-know beauty and skincare lovers.

These homegrown Canadian BIPOC beauty brands not only have a distinct point of view but they’re also led by a diverse group of women who are carving out a more exciting and inclusive beauty landscape for all. 

KinkyCurlyYaki

KinkyCurlyYaki

Founder: Vivian Kaye

Bootstrapped from zero to a million-dollar business, KinkyCurlyYaki was created in 2012 to acknowledge an underserved category within the beauty industry—premium textured hair extensions. Understanding the symbolic power that hair has, especially within Black communities, Kaye’s company seeks to empower women to show up feeling confident and beautiful. Today, KinkyCurlyYaki offers a collection of 100 percent virgin human hair that comes in six different textures. 

Essentials by Temi

Essentials by Temi

Founder: Temi Shobowale

Temi Shobowale offers a soothing solution for the body and soul with her low-waste, vegan, and mostly organic skincare line, Essentials by Temi. The Nigerian-born makeup artist and entrepreneur created the celebrated brand with luxury and wellness top of mind to assist others with finding a balance in their daily well-being regimen. Created with the belief that self-care starts from within, the varied products are designed to balance energies, detoxify pores, and protect the skin from environmental pollutants.

Cheekbone Beauty

Cheekbone Beauty

Founder: Jenn Harper

Known best for its famous Warrior Women Liquid Lipsticks, Cheekbone Beauty is becoming a makeup bag staple. The Canadian and Indigenous-owned sustainable beauty brand was founded by Jenn Harper to offer cruelty- and paraben-free makeup that supports Indigenous communities. Cheekbone’s moisturizing and vibrant products are designed to highlight your favourite characteristics. More than just a deliverer of confidence, the Sephora-backed beauty brand also gives back by donating 10 percent of its profits to Shannen’s Dream to help fund equitable education for First Nations children.

Velour Beauty

Velour Beauty

Founder: Mabel Lee

From dorm room project to beauty counter staple, Velour Beauty offers innovative, premium lashes designed to enhance your beauty. When Lee started her company as a student at the University of Toronto, she recognized a gap in the market for exclusive, luxury false eyelashes. Today, the 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free lashes are available in major retailers like Sephora and have built a cult following of fans including Beyoncé, Meghan Markle, and more. 

Ambari

Ambari

Founder: Nisha Grewal

Despite its launch in the thick of the pandemic, Ambari has become a quick player in the luxury cosmetic game. Launched by Vancouver-based Nisha Grewal in March 2021, the brand made its debut south of the border at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. The skincare company allows its customers to achieve medi-spa results from the comfort of their home thanks to products like “The Modern Blend,” which is composed of clinical actives, adaptogens, and CBD. 

Three Ships Beauty

Three Ships Beauty

Founders: Connie Lo, Laura Burget

A growing number of beauty brand enthusiasts are discovering Three Ships Beauty as a secret to healthier and better-looking skin without breaking the bank. Co-founded by Connie Lo and Laura Burget in 2017 and re-branded during the pandemic, Three Ships offers a wide but curated selection of natural skincare and beauty products, including serums, face masks, and toning mists. From a modest start with just $4,000 in the bank, the brand is now found at Hudson’s Bay Company, Whole Foods, and Target.

Blume

Blume

Founders: Taran and Bunny Ghatrora

Sibling co-founders Taran and Bunny Ghatrora created Blume as an answer to the antiquated period product industry, which was ripe for change. In 2018, they embarked on their founder journey and mission to have healthier conversations around beauty and self-care, and destigmatize acne, puberty, periods, and sex education. Today, Blume offers skincare serums, masks, and period care kits. 

Sahajan

Sahajan

Founder: Lisa Mattam

Lisa Mattam draws from the ancient science of Ayurveda in the creation of her natural skincare line Sahajan, derived from the Hindi word for “intuitive.” The Toronto-based entrepreneur  worked closely with ayurvedic doctors in Kerala, who combed Vedic texts to identify effective ingredients. The resulting science-backed Canadian skincare brand features a collection of earth-based face, body, and hair oils, serums, and lip treatments. Sahajan’s best-selling Nourish Face Cream is celebrated for its wrinkle-reducing capabilities.   

RELATED: Cheekbone Beauty Founder Jenn Harper on Building a Brand with Purpose

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