The Innovators Blending Beauty & Science

BIPOC founders are changing the whole skincare game.

(Originally published on, June 2022)

The conscious pairing of beauty with science has become a large focus for consumers who want to know the exact justification behind using specific ingredients and the claims associated with their skincare products. It turns out clarity is now the name of the game, and shots in the dark based on random reviews don’t qualify as an acceptable guide or enough of a reason to shell out hard-earned dollars anymore. When it comes down to it, people simply want to know, “What is it and what will it do for my skin?” But also, “Can you prove it?” The new belief is that skincare needs to justify its position, and that’s where science and innovation come in.

Achieving a desirable formulation alongside scientific evidence of its effectiveness is no small feat. It involves arduous hours of trial and error: testing endless ingredients and formulations, collaborating with chemists, and conducting extensive research to determine if the end product is up to par. Forward-thinking BIPOC-founders and their teams have been working hard to create ideal skincare products that embrace scientific principles while ensuring that what they’re releasing is genuinely made by and for women of color. 

These brands are racking up glowing feedback and have risen to the top as champions of skincare, melanated skin, and science. 


Created by dermatologist Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd, Specific Beauty is intently focused on formulations that zero in on addressing hyperpigmentation in melanated skin. The line includes clinically-tested, daily skincare designed to help even skin tone, smooth texture, brighten and restore radiance, with a clear commitment to providing a reliable and effective option for women of color. Their site includes countless testimonials, before-and-afters, and, most importantly, loads of science-based information to consider when deciding if it’s the right line for you.


There’s no denying it. Topicals has one of the most unconventional and fun appearances of most skincare brands today, but don’t let the appearance be the only thing that grabs your attention — it’s what’s inside that counts. The attractive and vibrant packaging contains formulas that are elaborately designed to address some of the most delicate and perplexing skin concerns. From eczema to melasma, Topicals has something for anyone who’s in a tough position when it comes to sensitivity, dehydration, and reactive skin. Navigate their products by your current skin dilemma with to-the-point categories to choose from like, “irritated,” “spotty,” “flakey,” and “parched,” and it will lead you to options that are both dermatologist and chemist-approved.


“Own Your Tone Dark Spot Overnight Treatment” is Glory Skincare’s superstar product — formulated with ingredients scientifically proven to decrease dark spots in melanated skin; the key goal is to create a brighter and more even complexion, which is verified by numerous rave reviews. Glory’s unique approach is to involve both dermatologists and psychiatrists in their formulation process in an effort to fully acknowledge the intricate relationship between skincare and the mental health of women of color — a topic that is chronically overlooked and needs to be discussed more.

456 SKIN

Custom skincare for melanin-rich skin formulated by skincare experts — what more could you ask for? Scientifically-proven formulas are one thing, but to get a recommendation based on your own personal needs takes skincare to a whole other level. 456 Skin has a panel of experts including skin research scientists, nutraceutical formulation experts, and dermatologists to vet their products, making anxiety around choosing the right product a reality of the past.


Finding a sunscreen in the clean beauty space for people of color was almost unheard of until Unsun Cosmetics came along. The dreaded white cast associated with most sunscreens, both conventional and clean, is still a huge barrier to finding a dream option for sun protection for Black and brown skin, but, thankfully, we now have some allies on our side. Unsun offers a variety of face and body sunscreens as well as tinted products that, rest assured, won’t turn you gray.

The evolution of scientifically-minded skincare for melanated skin is only at its beginning. Many of the above brands have chosen to focus on primary concerns for people of color, such as dark spots, unevenness and sensitivity, which is the tip of the iceberg for how smart approaches to skin can be used as a way to make the beauty industry more accommodating and inclusive. Keep an eye out for upcoming releases from these BIPOC-owned brands who will only continue to grow and innovate.

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