At the beginning of the year, singer Thalía Sodi launched Adria by Thalía, a new haircare brand that offers seven SKUs of sprays, foams, and shampoos promoted as working well for all women’s hair types. The affordable brand is available at Walmart and select Target stores upon its launch. This venture follows a Thalía false eyelash and brow collection from Eylure, announced in 2018. (Thalía has had an apparel and accessories collection exclusively with Macy’s since 2015, and a deal with Republic Cosmetics is thought to be in development.)
Thalía is just the latest celebrity to launch a beauty line meant to meet the needs of a range of ethnicities. Some of the brands founded by these women—most of whom are black, Hispanic, or Asian themselves—promote their mission to supply products for diverse consumers as a key point of differentiation. Others have marketing messages that focus on characteristics beyond diversity. But all are inclusive in their color palettes and/or other attributes.
It should be noted that not all of these celebrity-driven collections are licensed; several are owned and operated by the celebrity or handled through other business configurations outside of licensing.
- Actress Eva Mendes introduced her accessibly priced Circa cosmetics brand exclusively with Walgreen’s in 2015. It includes everything from eyeshadow and eyeliner to lipstick, concealers, blush, foundation, and face powder, for all skin tones.
- Actress Salma Hayek has long offered her Nuance Salma Hayek brand exclusively at CVS. The line, which includes cosmetics, skincare, haircare, and body care, was introduced in 2011 and, after a short hiatus, revamped and relaunched in 2016.
- Author and multimedia artist Tanwi Nandini Islam, now known as Tanaïs, founded Hi Wildflower as a perfumerie. In 2017, she expanded into nail polishes and lipsticks for women of color.
- Singer Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has a core brand promise to create products suitable for all women. Available at Sephora stores across the U.S. and at Harvey Nichols in the U.K. and Ireland, it encompasses lip care, cosmetics, and foundations. The brand debuted in 2017.
The success of Fenty Beauty, known for its very broad color palette and its “Beauty for All” motto, is often credited with spurring beauty marketers in general, large and small, to expand their offerings for consumers of all ethnicities. But as the examples above show, Rihanna was not the first celebrity to offer an ethnically inclusive product range in the beauty space.
In fact, a few ventures significantly predate these recent initiatives. Iman Cosmetics, sold at retailers such as Target, Walgreen’s, Walmart, and Amazon and designed for “Women with Skin of Color,” as her tagline says, launched back in 1994. It expanded its retail distribution through a licensing deal with Proctor & Gamble in 2004.
Vera Moore Cosmetics, meanwhile, goes back even further, to 1979. Founded by soap opera actress Moore to supply products for women of color—such items were few and far between at the time—the line is available in Walgreen’s and Duane Reade.