“It really feels steeped in this embrace of Black women, of Black people, and that intentionality that this makeup was created for you and with you in mind, at the very forefront." — Diarrha N'Diaye-Mbaye, Founder and CEO of Ami Colé
In honor of Black History Month, I'd like to spotlight a new black-owned beauty firm pushing the envelope and making the industry a more inclusive place.
Years ago, it may have been challenging to locate cosmetics and skin care products designed for darker skin tones and owned by women of color.
Brands such as Black Opal, Fashion Fair, Iman Cosmetics, and CoverGirl Queen catered to women of color by providing deeper skin tone options and building the framework for this sector to flourish. Nevertheless, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty brand generated widespread pop culture buzz while catering to clients of all skin tones.
Filling a Void in the Realm of Black Beauty Products
Still, the options for women of color were few and far between.
Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye launched Ami Colé Beauty in May 2021 Ami Colé to address a need in the world of Black beauty products, particularly finding the right shades.
She graduated from Syracuse University and worked for some of the top cosmetics companies in the world such as Temptu, Glossier, and L’Oreal before deciding to strike it out on her own.
N’Diaye-Mbaye drew inspiration for the brand and named it after her mother, who owned a hair braiding salon in New York City’s Harlem.
Inspired by her Senegalese background and her experiences as a black woman, she founded the company to highlight, rather than conceal, the innate beauty of women of color.
The Harlem-born brand, which places melanin at the forefront of its products, promotes clean beauty via the use of naturally produced ingredients like pumpkin seed extract, hibiscus flower extract, and baobab seed extract.
Black Women and Beauty Industry Revenue
According to the Neilson 2018 research “Black Impact: Consumer Categories Where African Americans Move Markets,” Black people made up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population and spent more than $54 million of the $63 million total hair and beauty market industry expenditure in 2017.
So even though Black women accounted for more than 86 percent of beauty industry revenue in 2017, N’Diaye-Mbaye notes that darker skin tones were still only a secondary consideration in the beauty industry.
N’Diaye-Mbaye and her trusted team spent three years developing their products, interviewing over 400 women, and asking them what items they had in their beauty cabinets to decide which products would benefit her community.
Ami Colé become an instant success among people of color. By the end of last year, N’Diaye-Mbaye was named Women’s Wear Daily’s newcomer-of-the-year, Glossy’s disrupter-of-the-year, and Refinery29’s beauty innovator.
This emerging brand’s innovative and inviting attitude to showcasing Black beauty makes it one to watch.
Ami Colé is now sold on goop and Thirteen Lune, in addition to its e-commerce site.
What are your thoughts on finding makeup that matches your skin tone? Please share in the comments.