Embrace a Different Kind of Magic with Black Beauty Cosmetics
For Abigail Black, it all started with a witch. Black had the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in her local theater troupe’s production of The Wizard of Oz, but didn’t have the necessary makeup for the role. She couldn’t afford to buy it, either. Not to be deterred, she dyed her skin green with food coloring to play the part.
That dedication, determination, and creative thinking served her well when she decided to learn how to make cosmetics. Her goal: Cruelty-free, affordable makeup for all. That’s an ideal that may seem pure fantasy, but Black used her experience as a makeup artist and thespian — along with the willingness to do thousands of hours of research into chemistry and cosmetics making — to create her own potent form of magic: Black Beauty Cosmetics.
Black talked to Dear Darkling and recalled her own frustration over a lack of good non-neutral makeup at an affordable price point.
“In the past few years, the beauty industry has grown at an alarming rate, which is absolutely fantastic, because [it has] made affordable products more accessible to the public,” she said. “However, I found myself constantly wasting money on these affordable brands that had zero color payoff, were super patchy, and not wearable. Or [these brands] didn’t even offer the bright and bold colors I desired. I’ve always believed quality shouldn’t be sacrificed because it’s a lower priced item. While there are some brands with amazing quality, not everyone can afford [them]. I know I couldn’t.
When I launched my brand, I not only wanted to focus on bringing super-pigmented and professional quality products to the table, but I wanted to be completely price inclusive. If I couldn’t [have afforded] it three years ago, I won’t sell it.”
Black’s eponymous company, Black Beauty Cosmetics, is off to a great start in fulfilling her goal. The shop debuted last year, and so far her collection offers eyeshadow singles in a variety of tantalizing shimmers and extraordinarily smooth and full-coverage mattes. She also offers intense liquid highlighters, eyebrow pomades, and more. Black makes amazing glitter eyeliners packed to the brim with sparkle that doesn’t fall out during wear. With her eye toward unconventional colors, Black also makes an ethereal blue duochrome powder highlighter, Resurrection.
Black Beauty products are 100% cruelty-free. Most Black Beauty products are also vegan (Black estimates 95%), but a few are not, so all ingredients are listed in the product descriptions for customer convenience. Black Beauty is an environmentally conscious, low waste company. Loose powder products are packaged in reusable jars, and everything is shipped without extra boxes, baggies, ribbons, and other packaging. Not only does this keep trash out of landfills, but the savings on materials gets passed on to customers. Always striving to improve customers’ experiences, Black updated her labels earlier this month. They are now simpler, higher quality, and allow customers to see the shadow colors through the top. (See picture below; label photos shown on her shop and social media pages may not be updated yet.)
While most of her product names and colors riff on her last name or are inspired by her love of horror movies and Stephen King books, her latest eyeshadow collection reflects her appreciation of fine art: Renaissance (rich burgundy matte), Da Vinci (muted antique gold metallic), Baroque (bright yellow gold metallic), and Rembrandt (silver metallic). Other new products are in the pipeline. She will continue to expand on her current products’ color lines, and plans to add a 12-piece holographic lipgloss collection and a pressed highlighter palette sometime in March. With her background as a MUA and working with theatrical makeup, Black said she is most excited to be working on a collection of waterproof face-and-body paints, to be released later this year.
“2018 is going to be absolutely crazy, and y’all haven’t even gotten a glimpse of it yet!” Black promised.
Realizing there was a dearth of unconventionally colored brow pomades, Black set out to make some herself. Her next release will be an expansion of her Eye Brow Pomade range at the end of February. The pomade line currently includes six shades, and the expansion will include alternative fashion-friendly colors such as green, purple, yellow, and pink, plus a natural redhead shade.
“It boggled my mind when I realized no other brands have made alternative brow pomades, so I’m happy to be the first to launch them for the public!” Black said.
We asked Black more about her inspiration. A cosmetics maker who loves horror movies and witchy makeup colors named “Abigail Black” sounds almost too good to be true. She seems as if she could be a character straight out of one of her beloved Stephen King books.
“Growing up, I was always obsessed with horror novels and films — especially Stephen King. Later, I found out I was named after one of the main characters in The Stand, which is super-cool to me. I found it amazing how his work could evoke such strong emotions in people: Fear, sadness, and even heart-ache. When it comes to naming and creating shades, I spend a lot of time trying to also evoke grand emotions in my audience. Which is why I didn’t focus on a lot of neutral colors in the beginning, because those didn’t have the same impact on me emotionally as a bright purple or metallic green did,” Black explained.
She continues, “In the beginning, I did intend only to have very dark and sinister names to keep everything within my ‘aesthetic,’ but I realized how dishonest that would be, because I want to be completely transparent with everyone about who I am. I’m heavily influenced by the arts and Catholicism, because there is so much beauty to be found within both, and they both help people through difficult times and have inspired miraculous things.”