Every June, like clockwork, many brands change their Instagram profile photo to a rainbow and start selling "Pride" versions of their most popular products—often with vague allusions to "some" "proceeds" "being donated" "to LGBTQIA+ organizations""—only to abandon their efforts by 11:59 p.m. on June 30. Over the past few years, these brands have rightfully been called out for rainbow washing, a type of performative activism that basically means pandering to the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride Month before leaving them in the dust come June. One way to rebel against rainbow washing is to shop brands that are actually owned and operated by queer people. In the beauty space, there are many. From makeup and skincare to fragrance, here are 17 queer-owned beauty brands to throw your support behind.
17 Queer-Owned Beauty Brands for All Your Makeup, Skincare and Fragrance Needs
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Makeup artist and influencer Patrick Starrr launched ONE/SIZE with the aim of making "space for everyone to belong in our movement for radical expression." In fun baby pink and red packaging, you'll find powder foundations, blush palettes, makeup removing sprays and more, all beloved by beauty enthusiasts.
2. Beekman 1802
Of their brand's limited-edition Pride kit, co-founders and partners Dr. Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell say, "As a brand founded by an out gay couple, Pride isn’t a marketing campaign for us. Pride is our autobiography. It serves as an opportunity to remind us of the unique challenges and obstacles we faced when we launched 14 years ago and others continue to face in business and their personal lives. We may all be different but we have an obligation to lead the way for other LGBTQ+ and minority lead businesses to thrive, through Kindness to both self and others." Beyond the limited-edition kit, Beekman 1802 shoppers can expect high-quality skincare and bodycare products, including the Oat and Goat Milk Exfoliating Cleanser and the Lavender Whipped Body Cream.
Color is the name of the game when it comes to Halsey's bold makeup brand. The vegan, clean and cruelty-free products run the gamut from Cheek Freak Blush Balm to Fluid Eye Paint, the latter of which is a fan favorite. One Ulta reviewer—who owns five different eye paint shades—raves, "I have hooded and oily lids so finding fun color eyeliners that wont smudge, crack, transfer,or crease is very difficult but these Fluid Eye Paints are the absolute best!!"
4. Jason Wu Beauty
Fashion designer Jason Wu's pieces are known for being bold, sophisticated and luxe. It makes sense, then, that his namesake beauty line, founded in early 2021, would follow suit. Available on Wu's own site and at Target stores, the affordable range (prices max out at $35 for a 25-pan eyeshadow palette) was created, as Wu says, so users can dream up "countless soft yet, glamorous looks to enhance your natural beauty and release your inner icon."
Snif's brand ethos is such: "A great scent should break hearts, not the bank." Launched in 2020 by Phil Riportella and Bryan Edwards, this genderless (and vegan and cruelty-free) direct-to-consumer fragrance and candle brand allows customers to test out scents at home before they commit to buying full-sized versions.
6. Alder New York
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Alder is a genderless skin-care and hair-care line founded by longtime best friends who've worked in the beauty and design industries together for more than a decade. The range currently includes hair- and skin-care products, including a collection of beautiful black obsidian tools (yes please, gua sha).
7. Trixie Cosmetics
Trixie Mattel is a comedian, singer-songwriter, NY Times best-selling author and entrepreneur (unsurprisingly making her one of the most successful alums of RuPaul's Drag Race). Her self-titled cosmetics line—tested on drag queens, not animals—is true to her life-in-plastic aesthetic, by which we mean it looks like a '90s toy store fever dream...in the best way.
8. Non Gender Specific
Founded in 2018, Non Gender Specific came to be when its founder noticed a divide in the beauty industry between products marketed toward women and men. The small but mighty line is ideal for those looking to streamline their beauty routine to the bare—but effective—minimum.
9. Kimchi Chic Beauty
Since she appeared on the eighth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, Kim Chi has been considered one of the drag world’s most talented makeup artists. So it makes total sense that she’d get into the business as a brand. KimChi Chic Beauty has also partnered with organizations like The Trevor Project, which works to end suicide for LGBTQ youth, and The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), the only multi-issue, progressive, community organizing and policy advocacy organization for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls in the U.S.
10. Noto Botanics
This gender-fluid, multi-use and natural cosmetic line is also vegan and cruelty-free. It's run by makeup artist Gloria Noto, who told Allure, "It's important for me to connect with my community through my work, as a business owner, and as a queer woman. This felt like a conduit to pursuing and cultivating that connection and care in an authentic and honest way that feels very personal and close to me." Every sale of the brand's Agender Oil goes to non-profits like Planned Parenthood, the Audre Lorde Project, ACLU and Black Mama's Matter.
11. Jecca Blac
London-based film and television makeup artist Jessica Blackler founded Jecca Blac to offer a safe space for trans women to experiment with makeup. Although technically not queer-owned, Jecca Blac has a team of trans women on staff to assist those looking to navigate their transition. The brand also donates some of its profits to Mermaids, a U.K. charity that raises awareness about gender nonconformity in children and young adults.
Jonathan Keren co-founded Maapilim with his husband Doron in 2017 to offer handcrafted gender neutral grooming and wellness products using natural ingredients from the Mediterranean.
13. Saapho New Paradigm
SAPPHO New Paradigm is a womxn-led luxury, vegan and organic Canadian cosmetic line. Founded by film and television makeup artist JoAnn Fowler in 2016, the brand values ethical business, feminism, transparency of ingredients, diversity, honesty and authenticity. Expect a diverse shade range that’s produced and formulated in Canada at a zero-carbon footprint facility.
14. Freck Beauty
Nasera Alayon is a queer graphic designer and the co-owner and branding force behind Freck Beauty, a skincare and cosmetics company that’s best known for its Freck OG, a product that gives you natural, long lasting faux freckles in a matter of seconds.
15. Allies Of Skin
Founder Nicolas Travis suffered from low self-esteem during his teenage years as he struggled with coming out and treating severe acne at the same time. He founded Allies of Skin and PSA (more on that in a bit) to be “Allies” to people of all skin types and sexual identities.
16. Boy Smells
Boy Smells began in 2016 as an experiment in candle-making in the Los Angeles kitchen of co-founders and real-life partners Matthew Herman and David Kien. Both fashion veterans who worked in design and product development, Herman and Kien say of their brand, “We wanted to have products that were embracing masculine and feminine simultaneously in a simple and straightforward way that wasn’t overtly targeted to one gender. It’s a permission to harness your power from wherever you want it.”
Like Allies of Skin, PSA (also founded by Nicolas Travis) was created to help people of all races, genders and skin tones feel comfortable in their own skin. They take clinically proven actives and use them in supercharged concentrations for optimal efficacy and visible results. Plus, the packaging is just so bright and fun.