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6 Indigenous Beauty Brands to Support This Native American Heritage Day

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Leigh Joseph of Skwálwen Botanicals. Photo: Kaili'i Smith

Today is Native American Heritage Day, a day to recognize the traditions, histories, and contributions of Native people. Given that it’s also one of the biggest shopping days of the year, why not add a few items from Indigenous-owned beauty brands to your cart? By buying from Indigenous beauty brands, you’re helping to create a more inclusive beauty industry while supporting Native entrepreneurs and communities. For a shopping guide, start with this list of Indigenous-owned beauty and skin-care brands from all over North America.

Ah-Shí Beauty

ah shi beauty
Photo: Ah-Shí Beauty

When even high-end cosmetics didn’t produce the results she wanted, Ahsaki Báá LaFrance-Chachere created Ah-Shí Beauty, a line of skin care and makeup whose mission is to help indigenous people see their beauty. (The name borrows from the Navajo ah-shí, which means “this is me; this is mine; that is me.”) LaFrance-Chachere, a Black and Indigenous woman who’s a citizen of the Diné Nation, ticks off some impressive boxes with her brand’s product offerings: They’re cruelty-free, hypoallergenic, non-comedogenic, and paraben-free. Try the Liquid Velvet Lipstick for a long-lasting matte finish.

Shop now: Liquid Velvet Lipstick: Nude Collection, $29

Sḵwálwen Botanicals 

Skwalwen Botanicals products
Photo: Sḵwálwen Botanicals / Iulia Agnew

Sḵwálwen Botanicals was founded by Leigh Joseph of the Squamish First Nation. As a ethnobotanist and community activist, Joseph uses Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) cultural teachings to ethically harvest plant foods and medicines. Each product has a Squamish name to honor the place where the plant knowledge comes from; the handmade products are free of synthetic chemicals, phthalates, and synthetic colors and fragrances. Say goodbye to inflammation and redness with the Tewín’xw Cranberry Rose Antioxidant Facial Serum, named after one of the Squamish words for berry.)

Shop now: Tewín’xw Cranberry Rose Antioxidant Facial Serum, $52

Prados Beauty 

Indigenous beauty brands
Photo: Prados Beauty / CYM Photography

Founded by Cece Meadows—a Chicana, Yaqui, and Comanche woman from Arizona—Prados’ mission is to uplift and inspire people through the lens of Indigenous communities. Its newest makeup collection was designed by Steven Paul Judd, a Kiowa and Choctaw award-winning artist; 50% of all purchases will go directly to Indigenous communities. One to try: the four-shade highlight palette, which has just the right amount of shimmer.

Shop now: PRADOS Beauty Highlight Palette, $15

Quw’utsun’ Made

Indigenous beauty brands
Photo: Quw’utsun’ Made

While visiting local pow wows and markets, Arianna Johnny-Wadsworth of the Quw’utsun’ and Cowichan Tribes was inspired by the land and her elders. Through her travels, she realized the need for ancestral medicine in everyday products. With the help of the Coast Salish Nation, Quw’utsun’ Made was born. The brand connects people to the natural world by providing ancestral medicines in the form of modern skin care. This hand-mixed liquid soap features organic ingredients and is packaged using recyclable plastics. Its multipurpose quality means you can use it for hands, body, and even dishes.

Shop now: Organic Hand Wash, $18

Cheekbone Beauty

Indigenous beauty brands
Photo: Cheekbone Beauty

After struggling to find a brand that gave back to the First Nations community and didn’t test on animals, Anishinaabe entrepreneur Jennifer Harper came up with her own: Cheekbone Beauty. To date, the beauty brand has donated more than $56,000 CAD to charitable causes, increasing the percentage of donations as sales rise. Next up: going zero-waste by 2023. Step up your lip game with this limited edition gift box in collaboration with Christi Belcourt, a Métis visual artist. Each shade is named after a word for land or earth, bringing together the environment and beauty in one gorgeous box.

Shop now: Cheekbone x Christi Belcourt Limited Edition Gift Box, $98

Satya Organic Skin Care 

Indigenous beauty brands
Photo: Satya Organic Skin Care

When Patrice Mousseau’s daughter developed eczema, she was shocked to find that the only recommendation was a steroid cream. Drawing upon her investigative journalism background, Mousseau conducted research and started developing her own product. Right out of her crock pot, Mousseau developed Satya: a moisturizing cream made of organic calendula petals, cold-pressed almond oil, beeswax, jojoba, and colloidal oatmeal. The full product line is plant-based, fragrance-free, and steroid-free. Try the Satya Jar, a topical anti-inflammatory moisturizer that works miracles on stressed-out skin.

Shop now: Satya Jar, $27

Of course, recognizing Native American Heritage Day extends beyond buying products—just as respecting Native people, heritage, and cultures shouldn’t be a just-for-one-day situation. If you aren’t already thinking about issues that impact Native communities, now’s the time to learn. Start with a primer on Indigenous wellness, get caught up on the Dakota Access Pipeline shutdown, and find out why smudging can amount to cultural appropriation.

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