When Fenty Beauty, with its impressive 40 shades of foundation, was included in Time magazine’s annual 25 Best Inventions of 2017, it was a watershed moment signaling that multicultural beauty had finally arrived. Here, Beauty Insider examines a handful of rising multicultural brands that are bringing excitement, and a breadth of choice, to this dynamic category.
Founder: Carol Jackson Mouyiaris
Brand story: The founder noticed a lack of women-of-color specific, targeted skin care products, addressing hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, at mass retail. This led to the development of the very first Black Opal product, the Advanced Dual Complex Fade Gel, which found instant success with millions of women, not only here in the U.S., but also around the world. Color Cosmetics, including its iconic True Color Stick Foundation SPF15, were added to the portfolio in 1998.
Audience: With Black Opal’s understanding of the tones, undertones and skin needs of women of color, the brand aims to appeal to consumers that want makeup that is true to their complexion and delivers beauty without a grayish cast. Whether she is a millennial, generation X or baby boomer, the multicultural audience knows that Black Opal was developed and formulated with her in mind, and not as an afterthought.
Products: The brand’s face category doesn’t just feature one line with a few extra shades. It offers multiple foundation lines for different wear needs and skin concerns. “We do not believe in one-size-fits-all when catering to such a diverse clientele,” said Louise Butler, Vice President of Global Marketing.
How the brand incorporates diversity: Black Opal recognized early that the market for women of color and demand for targeted products was significant and growing. As such, it continues to offer an extensive shade range in different formulations that acknowledges the many nuances of deeper skin tones.
Founder: Nancy Twine
Year founded: 2013
Brand story/inspiration: Not many people would consider taking the leap of faith from a high-paying Wall Street career into the risk-laden world of beauty, but Nancy Twine, founder and CEO of Briogeo Hair Care, did just that and quickly discovered her true calling. Relying on her traditional, modest roots and deep-seeded passion for clean beauty, Nancy left her position as Vice President of the Commodities Sales division at Goldman Sachs to follow her dream of becoming a natural beauty entrepreneur. Briogeo was inspired by a family tradition of formulating personal care products from scratch at home, using recipes passed down through generations. In an effort to cut costs in supporting a tribe of eight, Nancy’s grandmother developed her own soaps, lotions and hair care products using only kitchen essentials, which became wildly popular throughout their community.
Audience: Briogeo is “Hair Care for All.” No matter your hair texture type – wavy, curly, thin, fine, damaged, or chemically treated – Briogeo’s texture-focused hair care assortment aims to appeal to a diverse range of hair types.
How the brand incorporates diversity: Briogeo offers bespoke hair care regimens catering to the subtle nuances that make everyone unique. The line offers products for all hair textures and types and maintains an inclusive range of products that meet the needs of a diverse spectrum of women. Briogeo’s simplified two-, three- or four-step regimens takes the guesswork out of mixing and matching products, creating a custom solution to volumize, defrizz and hydrate for each client.
Founder: Kim Etheredge and Wendi Levy Kaaya
Year founded: 2004
Brand story: Wendi Levy and Kim Etheredge, two “mixed chicks,” created a product line because they needed it. Then, something happened… friends and family started encouraging them to package it, and soon they had a full-blown business they ran out of their garage. After a little door-to-door hustling, a few celebrity endorsements (including Halle Berry), and a ton of online customer support, Mixed Chicks brought their products to the world.
Appeals to: Mixed Chicks have products specifically for women, men and kids and are geared toward multicultural hair. Fans of Mixed Chicks generally have curls and/or wavy hair.
Product range: Their most popular product is the Leave-In Conditioner. Their shampoo and styling products are a big hit, too. Last year, Mixed Chicks kicked off a new line of styling products as well. And parents really appreciate their line for the kids.
How the brand incorporates diversity: The brand was specifically created for multi-cultural hair. Wendi and Kim realized there were no products on the market that suited their hair type – so they created their own.
Founder: Tristan Walker
Year founded: 2013
Brand story: Tristan’s ‘aha’ moment took place when his wife began to transition from chemically processing her hair to wearing it naturally. During that time, she expressed difficulty in finding products that would keep her hair healthy. She often cycled through more than a dozen products within a few months. While this was taking place, Tristan happened to meet with a well-known hair blogger. She educated him about the many issues in the hair care space. He soon realized that there was an unmet need for consumers with coily and curly hair who wear their hair in natural, protective and straight styles. The company then began developing Form.
Appeals to: Form provides prestige hair care solutions for textured hair, filling a gap in the market.
Product range: Shampoos (Clarifying, Cleanse, Hydrate, Revive); Leave-in Conditioners; Stylers (Multitask, Define, Sculpt, Twist, Protect, Polish)
How the brand incorporates diversity: Consumers are encouraged to take a short online Form consultation, which is a step-by-step evaluation ensuring one gets the best pairing of Form products. A personal regimen is then recommended specifically for one’s individual hair needs. To ensure consumers understand who Form is designed for, the women included in marketing materials – from ads, to online videos to social content – are diverse, and have coily and curly textured hair.
Founder: Chichi Eburu
Year founded: 2013
Brand story: Chichi Eburu was a stay-at-home, immigrant mom who saw there was a big void in the beauty industry. There was a huge lack of diverse brands that were fun and colorful. She started as a one-woman-show, shipping orders from her apartment and, within a couple of years, the brand has grown tremendously reaching fans/customers around the world.
Audience: People with darker skin tones, and a fun, sassy, chic girl that loves to look her best at all times. “We are very diverse in our reach,” said Chichi.
Product range: The brand focuses mainly on color cosmetics, and will expand to skin care by the end of the year. It’s eyeshadow has been named the world’s most pigmented shadow by bloggers and editors alike, including by Allure magazine last August.
How the brand incorporates diversity: Juvia’s Place is known as one of the most pigmented and high-quality brands in the market. Their concepts and ideas are taken from African culture. “We exhibit African culture through our illustrations and eye shadow palette designs. Our products work beautifully on deeper and [as well as] lighter complexions,” said Chichi.
Founder: Loraine R. Dowdy
Year founded: 2013 Brand story: “I have a deep and intense love for color. I believe makeup is a toy for grownups to express themselves and how they feel,” said Loraine.
Audience: A trend setter to the avid makeup connoisseur. Anyone who is curious about makeup should feel welcome to try out Coloured Raine.
Product range: Eyeshadows, Lip Paints, Lipsticks, Eyelashes. “We are known to have groundbreaking eyeshadow formula,” said Loraine.
How the brand incorporates diversity: The name Coloured Raine actually represents the various colors of rain. Except with the word rain, we created wordplay from the name Loraine. The vision was to create products that would be suitable for every skin tone, and to always be an inclusive brand; never leaving any skin tone unmatched.