Many companies claim that community is at the center of what they do — and for these LGBTQ-owned beauty brands, it’s true. From championing gender expression beyond the binary to partnering with organizations that support marginalized groups within the wider queer community, these brands are fostering a safe, inclusive space for all, but especially those who need it.
This Pride month, don’t fall for the rainbow-covered corporate queerwashing, and instead try to support independent brands led by the LGBTQ+ community. Ahead, discover 16 LGBTQ-owned beauty brands and hear from a few founders across skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care, to support this Pride month and beyond.
A gender-neutral fragrance brand that makes perfumes and candles at an accessible price point, Snif is innovating fine fragrance with its trial kits that allow you to test the products before committing to a scent. “At Snif, we’re removing gendered words from the fragrance conversation, making scents that are loved by everyone,” says Phil Riportella, Snif co-founder and co-CEO. “Our LGBTQIA+ community has always been an incredible inspiration for us to keep creating products and a brand that is authentic and inclusive to everyone.”
Founded by life and business partners Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz, Malin + Goetz is focused on the essentials. The brand has offered gender-neutral skin care since 2004, adding in coveted fragrance, body care and hair care products along the way. Its uncomplicated approach with a touch of luxury has made the brand a lasting favorite for New York City folks and beyond. This year, the brand will be donating 50% of all store and online sales made on June 28 to The Trevor Project, in honor of the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots.
Now carried in Target and Ulta, what started as brick-and-mortar Color Bars in San Francsico and New York City has grown into a hair color company that anyone can access at home. With online tools and virtual consultations to help you find your perfect shade, Madison Reed is all about confidence-boosting hair transformations.
“Madison Reed’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging is rooted in our belief of representing diverse and unique perspectives, identities and lived experiences across all team members, including the LGBTQIA+ community,” says founder and CEO Amy Erret. “As a part of our commitment, we’ve proudly partnered with The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning young people.”
Through its fine fragrance perfumes and candles, Boy Smells opens up a portal to self-discovery. “As a brand, Boy Smells is on a journey to liberate gender and identity through a new world of personal products we define as ‘genderful,’” founder Matthew Herman shares, explaining, “Genderful reflects the evolving thinking around gender, where neither binary gender codes nor terms like genderless or unisex feel relevant. It is permission to try all the things that you have been told are off-limits. By being called Boy Smells but coming packaged in pink, we say identity is not an either/or, it’s a yes/and.”
From “Queer Eye” star Johnathan Van Ness, JVN is all about empowering through amazing hair. With products like the bestselling Air Dry Cream — which gets a rainbow makeover for a special Pride edition benefitting #YouAreEssential, a nonprofit that aids essential workers — and Instant Recovery Serum, the line enhances your natural locks with clean hemisqualane to strengthen and smooth.
One look at founder David Yi’s glowing skin, and you can expect his skin care line to deliver results. Each of the effective formulas from the AAPI-owned brand are made with Good Light’s diverse community in mind, serving all skin types and gender identities. The Moon Glow Milky Toning Lotion is a bestseller for its ultra-hydrating yet light formula.
This queer and WOC-founded brand is committed to making beauty better for the environment with its plastic-free packaging and clean formulas. Developed by chief product officer Angela Ubias and CEO Cary Lin, Common Heir was born two years ago to prove that high-performing skin care can come in biodegradable packaging.
SolaWave’s innovative LED light therapy wands are an easy way to incorporate an at-home spa treatment into your everyday regimen. With its five-minute sessions, the wand’s combination of red light therapy, microcurrent, facial massage and therapeutic warmth target fine lines, uneven skin tone, blemishes and more, making it a universal tool to benefit all skin types, tones and ages.
“As a queer-funded company, supporting the LGBTQIA+ community is at the forefront of our philanthropic efforts,” says co-founder Andrew Silberstein. “This year, we’re fundraising through the launch of our newest product, Bye Acne, to support Folx Health’s HRT Care fund, which helps transgender, non-binary, intersex and other gender-expansive people access hormone replacement therapy care that allows them to feel comfortable in their own skin. We’re also donating to True Colors United, who are implementing innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focuses on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people. We’re honored to be able to contribute to these noble causes that help the most marginalized individuals in our community. Being able to use our platform and voice to bring awareness to these foundations and others we’ve worked with is important to us throughout the year — not just in June.”
Created by Hollywood hair care specialist Philip B., his namesake brand has been leading botanical-based hair care since 1991.
“Even within the beauty industry when there was significant bias, discrimination and homophobia 3 decades ago, I found community with great mentors, peers and helping clients achieve healthy scalp and gorgeous hair,” Philip B. says. “I gravitated towards the salon young because that is where I found my creativity and self-acceptance. It was my talent, not my sexuality, that defined me in the salon environment with clients that embraced me in a world with prejudice. Being gay and in touch with my feminine side helped me to develop empathy and gain trust so I was able to best serve my clients.
“People are people all over the world and solution equals resolution,” he continues. “I always wanted to develop solutions to help people with real scalp issues. I was able to break through all barriers creating a brand with exceptional formulations and products to ultimately transcend all forms of bias or discrimination.”
With a focus on scalp-friendly natural ingredients, Philip B’s line of shampoos, conditioners and styling products delivers restorative nourishment from root to ends. Plus, the products will leave your hair smelling like you just left the salon.
Well People offers clean and sustainable makeup and skin care that is EWG-verified. The brand’s commitment to no-fuss beauty products that are good for you and the environment is led by its three Latinx co-founders, including Shirley Pinkson, who is also currently the head of education for drugstore-favorite brand E.l.f Beauty. As a member of the queer community, Pinkson prioritized making Well People an inclusive and safe space for all, sharing, “Everyday, I work to hold a judgment-free space for myself and those around me. When one realizes what they are truly capable of, a fire builds within that extinguishes fear, doubt, and shame…creating positive change.”
A plant-based skin care brand that also sells adaptogen-infused chocolate bars, Undefined is at the intersection of wellness and beauty. Available at Target, the brand’s skin care focuses on accessible products with a mission to democratize beauty.
Alder New York was founded by Pratt Institute alumni Nina Zilka and David Kraus, and the pair’s design background shows. The brand makes the type of skin care that you want to display on your vanity, and never forget to slather on your face. Highlighting natural ingredients like willow bark and sea kelp, alongside dermatologist-approved hyaluronic acid and bakuchiol, the products support healthy, nourished skin.
Gender-fluid skin care and cosmetics brand Noto Botanics was founded by makeup artist Glora Noto. The multi-use skin, hair and body products feature a mix of vegan, botanical ingredients that are great for anyone — and they’re made with everyone, inclusive of all identities, in mind. For Pride, Noto is partnering with Glob Land for a Pride kit including a tote bag and a full size Agender Oil with 10% of proceeds benefiting Sage, a nonprofit that aids LGBTQ+ elders and caregivers. Outside of June, a percentage of Agender Oil’s profits are donated to organizations including Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, LGBT Youth Center and more.
From glitter eyeliner to iridescent multi-use gloss, Fluide’s fun and expressive makeup is made for everyone. The inclusive, Brooklyn-based brand is all about uplifting queer voices and supporting all forms of queer beauty. Currently, Fluide is offering a Pride Galaxy Box, which includes a mystery assortment of products that are sure to be a hit for Pride festivities. With three sizes available, each one is a steal — a $20 Mini Galaxy Box includes six products , a $40 box includes nine products and a $60 box includes 11 products.
Gen Z’s favorite faux freckle brand has expanded beyond its freckle pens and become a full-fledged beauty business. Now with a collection of vegan and cruelty-free skin care and makeup, Freck is all about celebrating individualism.
This month, Peace Out is donating 20% of the retail price of its limited-edition Pride collection to The Trevor Project. The skin care brand is dedicated to helping you manage breakouts — the Acne Dots are a bestseller — and find confidence in your skin, and was founded based on the founder Enrico Frezza’s own struggles with acne.