Friday, February 23, 2007

Black Is Beautiful

Being a black woman in love with makeup can be frustrating sometimes. Finding the right foundations and concealers that match brown complexions and their undertones has gotten easier in recent years, but it can still be a tough process. Ms. New Beauty still finds herself a little frustrated from time to time. In the fall, when SK-II introduced its new battery operated, ion charged airbrush foundation, MNB's heart went all aflutter. It soon sank when she realized that the foundation only came in four colors, none of which would suit a woman of color. Right now, the beauty world is all abuzz about Lancome's new Proenza Pink lipstick, a pale matte pink that is sure to look ridiculous on anyone with some melanin in their skin. It was partly out of this frustration that Ms. New Beauty the blog was created. Once MNB came across a product that expertly matched her skin, it was her responsibility to tell all of her friends and as many other women as she could. Ms. New Beauty tries to spotlight those products that truly live up to the phrase "universally flattering" and those that make makeup a little easier for women of color. In honor of Black History Month, Ms. New Beauty honors two women who have made cosmetics easier for women of color while blazing their own paths. True New Beauties they are.


I love Iman. I do. There is no other word to describe it. I love her and consider her a friend in my head. Or less a friend, and moreso that really cool auntie or friend of your mother’s that always looked out for you and gave you good advice, but talked to you like an adult, even when you were only 12. Well, that’s what she is to me. In my mind, she’s Auntie Iman, the fabulous woman who taught me about makeup as a child and showed me how a woman can succeed on her own terms.

Born in Somalia to a diplomat father, Iman was discovered in Kenya in 1975 while she was studying at Nairobi University. Always the shrewd woman, Iman only agreed to model for famed photographer Peter Beard if he paid her school tuition and fees. She went on to incredible success in the fashion world, modeling for Yves Saint Laurent and working with photographers like Helmut Newton and Richard Avedon.

While most of the world knows Iman as only the beautiful supermodel, or maybe even as the wife of David Bowie, Iman is a shrewd business woman. Noticing the considerable gap in the cosmetics market for products targeted to women of color, she launched Iman Cosmetics in 1994. A full range brand, Iman Cosmetics offers makeup, skincare, and haircare products to meet the needs of Asian, Latina, African American and multicultural women. Iman has also published several books and spearheaded the “I AM AFRICAN” ad campaign to raise awareness and funds to fight the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

Lisa Price

I remember some years ago, hearing the buzz about this new, natural product line that was addicting black women left and right. Everyone raved about it, sang its praises, swore that nothing before had ever affected them so. You know I was intrigued. But I was especially pleased and surprised to find that the proprietor of these wonder goods was none other than a black woman. A sista like myself.

By now, the world knows about the once cult brand, Carol’s Daughter. But many of us do not realize that the woman behind Carol’s Daughter, who actually is Carol’s daughter, is Lisa Price. Starting her business in her kitchen by mixing her products at home, Price turned her passion for fragrance into a formidable beauty company. Beginning with a small boutique in Brooklyn, the quality and care put into every product soon made Carol’s Daughter a favorite among celebrity crowds. The brand was featured on The Today Show, The View, and the guaranteed to make any small business owner into an industry behemoth, The Oprah Winfrey Show. The brand soon attracted celebrity investors, and eventual spokesmodels, Mary J. Blige and Jada Pinkett-Smith. Carol’s Daughter now offers over 300 unique products and is carried in select Sephora stores. The line continues to have legions of devoted women as customers. Lisa Price has traced her hard work and determination on the road to success in her new book – “Success Never Smelled So Sweet: How I Followed My Nose and Found My Passion.”

Make the whole world beautiful, and remember those who came before you, just don't forget that Ms. New Beauty told you!


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