In honor of Native American Heritage Month, Madeleine of The Wise Consumer is sharing 12 Indigenous-owned First Nations and Native American beauty and cosmetics brands. Read on to see the picks and let us know if there are any others to add to this list!
Across Turtle Island (North America), Indigenous-owned beauty brands are bringing about more Native representation in the industry while simultaneously supporting their communities and creating skincare and beauty products that both honor and reflect their traditional and ancestral knowledge.
Why does this matter?
You may have noticed that when you walk down the aisles of a cosmetic store, you don’t often come across Indigenous-owned beauty brands. Indigenous brands are, unfortunately, greatly underrepresented in this multi-million dollar beauty industry.
As Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere, the founder and CEO of Ah-Shí Beauty, shared with Glossy Magazine: “Growing up, there were no beauty brands that represented Native Americans at all. We’re the first Native-owned beauty brand that has its own storefront.”
Today, thanks to founders such as Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere and numerous others, that discourse is slowly changing.
Here are a few Indigenous skincare and beauty cosmetic brands to support this Native American Heritage month and beyond. These brands are making a difference while also creating high-quality products.
Indigenous Skincare Brands
1. Sister Sky
Owned by two sisters — Monica Simeon and Marina TurningRob, citizens of the Spokane Tribe in Washington State — Sister Sky is a certified Native American, women-owned company that manufactures and sells natural beauty products inspired by their Native American roots. Products range from sweetgrass bath bombs and white willow body mist to shampoo and lotion (FYI, Kevin’s Care Body Lotion is great for anyone with eczema). Some star ingredients include marshmallow root, shavegrass herb, white willow, and sweetgrass.
2. Yukon Soaps
Handcrafted by Joella Hogan, in Mayo, Yukon, Canada, this Indigenous brand uses local and wild-harvested ingredients such as spruce tips, juniper berries, and rose petals. Joella’s mission is to share the knowledge of her elders and the community and to incorporate her culture, language, tradition throughout the entire soap making process. Products include essential soap bars, Indigenous artisan soap bars, and body oils.
“These waters, these plants and trees are medicine,” shares ethnobotanist, researcher, and community activist, Leigh Joseph, founder of Sḵwálwen Botanicals. Leigh, who is from the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) First Nation, has found that by working with and learning from indigenous plants she is able to connect culture and community with her passion for science. Each product is created with intention, handmade, and labeled by Leigh herself using ethically and sustainably harvested ingredients such as yarrow, wild rose hip, and wild poplar buds.
Sequoia is a skincare brand that is 100% owned and operated by Indigenous women. Founded by Michaelee Lazore who is Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) from Akwesáhsne and Northern Paiute from Nevada, Sequoia’s products — which are inspired by native legends and ingredients — range from soaps and bath bombs to candles and lip balms. Products are designed, created, and packaged using ethically sourced ingredients. Nothing is outsourced and everything is locally made.
Quw’utsun’ Made is a skincare line created by Arianna Johnny-Wadsworth, “a proud daughter of the Quw’utsun’/Cowichan Tribes,” that was created to help preserve the traditional knowledge of the Coast Salish Nation. Quw’utsun’ Made products range from handmade fragrances and candles to clay masks and lotions using ingredients such as Devil’s Club, Stinging Nettle & Comfrey. With the help of her elders and her community, Arianna, who truly believes in the power of connecting with the natural world, has created a modern-day and sustainably-packaged skincare care line that is helping to preserve ancestral knowledge for the future generations.
This Diné soap brand was proudly founded by 12-year old Kamia Begay, along with her parents, out of her desire to share “all-natural Native American scents from her homeland with the world!” Products are handmade using real herbs such as sage, fresh juniper leaves, Greasewood, and essential oils. You can find everything from body scrubs to foaming soaps.
Indigenous Cosmetics Brands
Founded by Shí-Fawn Chee, Blended Girl Cosmetics is a Diné makeup brand inspired to bring unity through makeup! An army veteran originally from LeChee Arizona, Shi Fawn took it upon herself to create a cosmetic brand inspired by her “people, culture, humor and beauty” to help bring about more representation to Indigenous people within the beauty industry. Although Blended Girl Cosmetics is best known for its beautiful and colorful eyeshadow palettes inspired by Indigenous culture (Painted Desert, Native Glare, and Turquoise Dream Palette) products also include lipstick, primer, blush, faux eyelashes, and makeup brushes.
Founded by CeCe Meadows, a Xicana/Indigenous woman, Prados Beauty’s mission is to uplift, unite and, inspire people “through the lens of Indigenous communities throughout Turtle Island.” Known for their extremely soft makeup brushes and faux eyelashes, Prados Beauty covers a multitude of products, including lipstick and eyeshadow. Her most recent collection is a beautiful and creative collaboration with Native American designer Steve Paul Judd, a Kiowa and Choctaw designer, filmmaker, and writer, which was “developed for the people.” Cece shares on Instagram: “May you always see beauty in yourself, your story, and your culture.” Prados Beauty is also strongly committed to supporting Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. Currently, they’ve organized two fundraising initiatives and donate about 50% of their proceeds to charities and causes that support Indigenous communities. They’re also committed to volunteering in their local community and promoting other Indigenous brands.
Founded by Brittney Amitrano (Hidatsa and Kul Wicasa Oyate Lakota), InterTribal Beauty, which gets its name from “having visitors or ‘outsiders’ come into the circle at a powwow and dance,” was created not only for Brittany’s love of makeup but for her desire to bring people together. As a biracial military kid who moved around a lot, Brittney was exposed to many different cultures and backgrounds from an early age. InterTribal Beauty, which sells a multitude of lipsticks and lip glosses ranging in all colors, was created not only to show Brittany’s dedication to Indigenous people but to embrace everyone’s beauty and background. Additionally, 10% of every single sale goes back to Native Americans and other underserved communities for sexual violence prevention and mental health training.
Indigenous Cosmetics is a Sicangu Lakota/Chippewa Cree-owned beauty brand, founded by Amy Thoman, that creates handcrafted cosmetics inspired by Native identity, culture, and values customized for Indigenous skin tones. Lipsticks are hand-blended and formulated in Denver, Colorado, and range in colors from Pink Rose to Marigold.
This Indigenous and Black-owned beauty brand, founded by Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere, was one of the first Native American beauty and skincare brands stemming from the Diné Nation. Ah-Shí in Navajo means, “This is mine,” shares Ahsaki LaFrance-Chachere, “Ah-Shi Beauty means, “This is my beauty.” Products range from skincare products (98% botanically based) to various eyeshadow palettes and more than 35 different color skin foundations (hair care coming soon!) Some spotlight ingredients include chamomile, white willow bark, red clover follower, and elderflower.
12. Cheekbone Beauty
Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-founded and owned Canadian cosmetics company established in 2016 by Jennifer Harper. Products range from beauty products such as liquid lipsticks and gloss to contour and highlight palettes. Inspired by her Anishinaabe roots, Jennifer recently launched a new line of sustainable lipstick (“Sustain”) made of biodegradable packaging and sustainably sourced ingredients! While known for creating high-quality products, Cheekbone beauty is also on a mission to empower and support Indigenous youth, donating 10% of the profits to Shannen’s Dream and the Caring Society First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (FNCFCS).
A few additional brands:
15. Bison Naturals
About the Author
Madeleine is a Franco-American podcaster and blogger on a mission to inspire and empower women to live healthier, more eco-friendly, and conscious lifestyles. On her blog/podcast, The Wise Consumer, she covers topics ranging from nutrition and recipes to ethical fashion and eco living tips. When not working Madeleine is either spending time with family, developing new recipes, or running trails.
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