Jamelia Donaldson’s favourite Black-owned beauty brands

We asked the founder of Treasure Tress, the first beauty subscription box for textured and Afro hair, for her pick of the best
Eva Schwank

Q: Why is it important to buy Black-owned and Black-fronted beauty brands?

I think we talk a lot about equality, but we don’t consider equity. Black beauty founders are up against the odds compared with many of their White counterparts. Generally speaking, we don’t have the same networks, connections or ways to faciliate and build up strategic opportunities.

Black female founders receive less than 0.1% of VC [venture capital] funding, yet Black women have astronomical spending power – spending six times more than White women on hair products alone. Black women should absolutely have their seat at the table and in order for the beauty industry to reflect beauty fully, Black women should also be making the decisions. Everyone should have the power and resources to become both the creator and the consumer, if they so desire.

By supporting Black-owned and -fronted brands you’re showing you’re conscious and aware that equality and equity remain paramount catalysts for long lasting and inclusive change. Plus, you’re helping something as simple as all women having access to products that work for them instead of what they’ve been used to, which is buying lots of different products and blending them together in the hope that it will work.

In the end, we all win, because there’s more to choose from – and who doesn’t want that?

Jamelia’s top 6 brands:

1. Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk

I used to suffer with eczema on my scalp and I know the children of the brand founder, Janell Stephens (@janell stephens), did, too, which is what led her to create this product. So I had faith it would work for me – and it does! I use it on slightly damp hair after I’ve rinsed out my deep conditioner. Textured hair loses a lot of moisture when it’s washed, so you have to put it all back in. I apply about an apricot-sized blob to the ends of my hair – that may sound like a lot but my hair laps it up – and then work the product up and gently finger-detangle.

2. Fenty Beauty Killawatt Freestyle Highlighter in Trophy Wife and Match Stix Shimmer Stick in Blonde

Let’s just start with the fact that I love Rihanna, and anything she releases I was bound to fall in love with! However, when I saw these highlighters, I knew she’d created some real game-changing products, because I’d never really been able to find highlighters that worked on my skintone before. Bronzer would add a little bit of shimmer but not that highlight effect and I know that’s also true for people with darker skin than me. And pink highlighters look too ashy on my skin. The yellow gold in this matches my undertone perfectly and I use them both when I’m either creating a full glam face or I just want a bit of extra glow.

3. Twisted Sista Nourishing Sleek Edge Gel

Typically, edge-control products (which people with Afro and textured hair use to tame the baby hairs around the hairline) work to start with and then, after a few hours, melt away and your hair looks frizzy again. This gives me hold for a lot longer. I tend to put my hair into buns at the end of summer/beginning of winter to protect it from the weather; and, also, because my hair takes so long to dry, I don’t have the liberty of time to let it dry and wear it down like in the summer months. This makes it so much more manageable. And when I get my braids done, this helps make each section look really clean and neat and gives hair a really nice shine.

4. Bouclème Curl Conditioner

I love the versatility of this product. Not only do I use it on myself but also on my six-year-old niece’s hair as both a wash-out and leave-in conditioner. I’m not sure if that’s what you’re meant to do, but it works – the brand uses such great ingredients and the products are so thoughtfully made, I trust it can be used this way!

5. Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil

My family is of Jamaican descent, so this product will always have a special place in my heart. But it’s an all-round super product that has inter-generational status. There’s not a parent or grandparent who doesn’t know what this product is and what it does. It’s great for thickening eyebrows, eyelashes, hydrating the scalp, putting around the hairline edges if they’re thinning out, and lots of people use it in the winter for sealing in moisture. I always apply all my products in sections, because I have quite a lot of hair. So, I divide my hair into four, then apply this straight after the Bouclème Curl Conditioner. I always pay particular attention to the ends of my hair and work the product up.

6. Beauty Bakerie Flour Setting Powder

I haven’t actually had the opportunity to try this product, but I’ve had my eye on it for a very long time. I love everything about the brand: the packaging, the product names and the personal journey of the founder, Cashmere Nicole (@cakeandcashmere). Setting powders are a product that a lot of Black women struggle with, as they do with foundations, because there hasn’t always been the shade diversity that works with our skin undertones. But I trust that because this is a Black-owned brand, there will be a shade that works for me and my skin colour.

Are you a beauty buff who always wants to try the latest innovations? Then we want you on our volunteer panel of customer reviewers! You’ll get to test products currently in development, influence new launches and have a say on what’s on the shelves in Boots. We want our team of testers to be as diverse and inclusive as possible, so if you’re interested we’d love to hear from you. Find out more and sign up at