When it comes to diversity, the beauty industry is making progress. We have brands like Fenty Beauty, Beauty Bakerie, and Pat McGrath creating makeup especially for darker skin tones. And brands like Aunt Jackie’s, Uncle Funky’s Daughter, and SheaMoisture pride themselves in understanding textured curls and coils. But although the industry has made some strides, there is still not enough diversity—especially in the nail industry. Enter: Jacqueline Carrington, founder of nail polish brand People of Color, a nail polish brand created specifically with BIPOC skin tones in mind.
Carrington launched her cruelty-free nail polish brand People of Color after being inspired by her three-year-old daughter’s desire for colorful manicures. While searching for colors that were appropriate for her daughter’s age and matched her skin tone, she uncovered advertisements and brands that either didn’t advertise brown hands, displayed one shade of brown skin, or did a poor job at color matching brown skin tones. “I still see it today on nail polish websites—it’s the same brown hand over and over again, posted every five weeks, and it isn’t it for me, it’s not acceptable,” Carrington tells us.
The beauty industry has been historically known to elevate European standards, and People of Color was established to celebrate women of color as a whole. But they don’t discriminate against other ethnicities. “The name also refers to people living in color,” Carrington tells us as she discusses the brand’s slogan. “It’s for people of color and those that live in color.”
Black women have been overlooked by the beauty industry for much too long. Too many times, products that are created for us don’t consult or test on women of color. People of Color aims to “think of various shades of brown skin as a first thought—never an afterthought.” To do this, the brand enlists brand ambassadors with a diverse range of skin tones who test out the product and decide on each polish’s name. “When we’re curating collections, each person has their eye on certain colors that they know will look good on them, which collectively ends up working because we cover all the skin tones while curating the collection at the same time,” Carrington says.
People of Color currently offers twelve polish colors, plus a nail care kit composed of a top coat, base coat, polish remover, and two cuticle oils. We are most excited about trying their Rodeo Drive polish, a beautiful rendition of a holiday red.
For too long, there have been limited skincare, makeup, fragrance, nail polish, and hair care products available to Black women. I am so excited that People of Color exists as a celebratory space for Black and brown people worldwide. As you continue to support Black-owned businesses, consider picking up a few polishes from People of Color. Shop some of our favorite polishes from the brand below.
Inspired by the woman who gave birth to civilization, this sharp brown polish is fit for the colder months.
We love the intentionality behind the polish names. This off-white cream color was inspired by the Queen of Sheba’s (also known as Makeda) curiosity to gain new knowledge. The color is a beautiful representation of the gifts she brought to King Solomon.
Queen Lili’uokalani was the first woman to rule Hawaii. The green here represents the lush lands of Hawai’i.
Inspired by the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, this one is sure to give you a lil’ star power.
This beautiful hue of blue represents the water where Queen Moremi made a pact with the river god to free her people from oppression.