Black Opal

Black Opal At-A-Glance

Strengths: Affordable; some gentle cleansers; one excellent lightening product; mostly very good powders; deeply pigmented lipsticks; good mascara, though there's only one.

Weaknesses: Almost too many to list! Major issues include pervasive use of irritating ingredients with no benefit for skin and sunscreens that lack sufficient UVA protection; average to poor foundation and concealer textures/finishes; poor eyeshadows and lip gloss.

If Black Opal believes their skin-care products are "what looking beautiful is all about," then this is not a line to be trusted. Creating cosmetics that cater to the needs of African-American women doesn't have to involve a profusion of seriously irritating or, in the case of the sunscreens, seriously incomplete, products. In fact, aside from the name and the somewhat minimal use of African botanicals, nothing about these products is unique to the needs of African-American skin tones. Moreover, no matter what your skin color may be, the basic and enhanced needs of skin remain the same: a gentle cleanser, effective exfoliant, sunscreen, and where and if needed, a moisturizer, all in stable packaging so the products can be effectively loaded with antioxidants and ingredients that mimic the structure and function of healthy skin.

African-American skin tones are not without their unique problems, which mostly have to do with pigmentation. But other skin tones, whether related to people of Asian, Latin-American, Caucasian, or other descent, also have to deal with pigmentation problems and uneven skin tones. Even supposing that African-American skin tones do have distinctive needs not shared by any other skin tone, Black Opal isn't the answer, especially considering that the research agrees that is not the case for day-to-day cosmetic care (Sources: Cutis, December 2006, pages 2–19 Supplemental; and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, June 2003, pages 139–142 Supplemental). In fact, this line has so many problematic or shortsighted products they raise more questions than they have answers for!

Surprisingly, Black Opal was developed with the consultation of the African-American dermatologist Dr. Cheryl Burgess. Either the formulators behind this line didn't heed her advice or Dr. Burgess isn't informed about how cosmetic ingredients, particularly irritating ones, work on skin, not to mention the need for reliable UVA protection—fundamental information every dermatologist should not only be preaching but also practicing themselves.

For more information about Black Opal, call BioCosmetic Research Labs at 1-800-774-3477 or visit

Black Opal Makeup

Black Opal's makeup has seen its prominence dwindle in comparison to other, seemingly lesser-known makeup lines catering to African-American skin tones. The fact that Beyoncé Knowles is a spokeswoman for L'Oreal, Halle Berry represents Revlon, and Queen Latifah appears in ads for Cover Girl, probably has something to do with the smaller market share for this once respectable line. Celebrities selling products is big business, and there is no doubt the aforementioned women are admired by women of all ethnicities. Although the major players' ads have increased awareness of these lines for African-American women, Black Opal has continued to offer the same basic assortment of products reviewed in a previous edition of Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me. Almost without exception, their newer items are disappointing, particularly for eyeshadows, pencils, and lip gloss (really).

The one area where Black Opal makes the grade is with its foundations and powders. The foundations offer some authentic shades suitable for women of color, though the formulas tend to be lackluster or, at the very least, not as elegant as what competing lines offer. There's still reason to seek out and shop this line, but based on an overview of the current Black Opal lineup, we think Beyoncé, Halle, and Queen Latifah made smart decisions!

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Your results are in the table below. You can narrow your results by using the drop down menus or sort by toggling the column labels. If you would like to add an item to your faves check the box in the "+" column. Click the add to faves button when you're done adding items.

+ Rating Product Brand Category Price Size
Good True Tone Vitamin Rich Lipstick (Discontinued) Black Opal Cream Lipstick  $6.25
Good True Color Liquid Foundation Oil Free Black Opal Liquid Foundation  $8.95
Average True Color Creme Stick Foundation SPF 8 Black Opal Stick Foundation w/ Sunscreen  $9.50
Poor True Color Cream to Powder Foundation SPF 8 Black Opal Cream-to-Powder Foundation w/ Sunscreen  $9.50
Good Total Coverage Spot & Scar Eraser Black Opal Cream Concealer  $8.95
Good Skin Perfecting Acne & Blemish Wash (Discontinued) Black Opal Cleansers/Soaps  $6.45 6.00 fl. oz.
Poor Resurfacing & Moisturizing Daily SPF 15 Lotion (Discontinued) Black Opal Moisturizer with Sunscreen  $11.95 2.00 fl. oz.
Average Rejuvenating Night Creme (Discontinued) Black Opal Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $11.95 1.33 fl. oz.
Average Precision Lip Definer Black Opal Lipliner  $4.50
Average Precision Eye Definer Black Opal Eye Pencil  $4.50
Poor Pre-Fade Gentle Cleanser (Discontinued) Black Opal
- Fade
Cleansers/Soaps  $9.95 5.00 fl. oz.
Poor Pre-Fade Cleansing Bar Black Opal
- Fade
Cleansers/Soaps  $5.95 3.50 fl. oz.
Poor Pore Minimizing Toner Black Opal Toners  $5.95 4.00 fl. oz.
Average Perfecting Powder Makeup SPF 8 Black Opal Powder Foundation w/ Sunscreen  $9.50
Good Patent Lips Liquid Lipstick Black Opal Cream Lipstick  $6.75
Good Papaya Gentle Body Exfoliator (Discontinued) Black Opal
- Papaya
Body Scrubs  $7.45 6.00 fl. oz.
Average Papaya Daily Body Wash (Discontinued) Black Opal
- Papaya
Body Soaps/Washes  $7.45 6.00 fl. oz.
Average Papaya Body Butter (Discontinued) Black Opal
- Papaya
Body Lotions/ Creams/Balms/Butters  $8.45 7.00 fl. oz.
Average Oil-Free Moisturizing Lotion Black Opal Moisturizer without Sunscreen  $6.45 1.75 fl. oz.
Good Oil-Absorbing Pressed Powder Black Opal Pressed Powder  $8.95
Good Lip Liner-Lacquer Duo (Discontinued) Black Opal Lipliner  $6.75
Good Lash Defining Mascara (Discontinued) Black Opal Regular Mascara  $4.95
Good Invisible Oil Blocking Pressed Powder Black Opal Pressed Powder  $8.95
Average Flawless Perfecting Concealer Black Opal Stick Concealer  $4.75
Best Even True Tri-Complex Tonecorrect Fade Gel Black Opal Lighteners With Hydroquinone  $12.95 1.00 fl. oz.
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