How this former news anchor turned her beauty problems into a paycheck

Jamie Kern Lima, Co-Founder CEO of IT Cosmetics
Jamie Kern Lima is a true girl boss. (Photo: Courtesy of IT Cosmetics)

You probably recognize Jamie Kern Lima, the co-founder and CEO of IT Cosmetics, from watching QVC. The 40-year-old’s bubbly personality and life-changing makeup tips make her a favorite on the popular shopping channel. But what you may not know is that Lima actually began her career in a totally different line of work, as a television news anchor.

During her days as a local reporter in Studio City, Calif., Lima tried her best to put on a good face to conceal her skincare issues.

“When I started out as an anchor, I had rosacea, which there is no cure for,” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “One thing I didn’t understand was why when I put makeup on, it was getting worse. I also had hyperpigmentation… and it’s really hard to cover. I had sparse eyebrows as well. When I was anchoring the news, HD was also out there, and it shows everything. I would wear typical makeup, and it looked horrible because my skin wasn’t perfect.”

A throwback photo of Jamie Kern Lima during her news anchor days with KNDU TV. (Photo: Courtesy of IT Cosmetics)
A throwback photo of Jamie Kern Lima during her news anchor days with KNDU TV. (Photo: Courtesy of IT Cosmetics)

After growing frustrated with wearing makeup that made her skin appear even worse, Lima decided to be proactive and came up with a business plan to bring IT Cosmetics to life. Understanding that there had to be others struggling with the same challenges, she sought out to make problem-solving products that gave people real results — the core mission of her company. Lima assembled an advisory board of top dermatologists and plastic surgeons to ensure they were formulating effective products and not just launching trendy or of-the-moment makeup.

One of the most game-changing moments for Lima was tapping real women as models on QVC to show the power of IT Cosmetics. “At that time, every brand was using the same type of models — same skin tone, same age and everyone had flawless skin,” says Lima. “So, I went on there against the advisement of a lot of people, and I showed women with rosacea. I wanted to book Helen who’s 73, and I wanted to show how our makeup doesn’t crease on her. There was also Alicia, who’s African American with a deeper skin tone and has hyperpigmentation, or how about Desiree with undereye circles. I wanted to show every kind of women, because people didn’t do it at the time.” While this felt like a risk at the time, this made IT Cosmetics one of the most popular brands on QVC.

Nearly a decade later, and Lima still insists on showing authentic before and after photos of real women. This continues to excite consumers because they are witnessing true transformations with their own eyes.

Keeping in line with the brands “problem-solving” mission, IT Cosmetics is launching lots of new products this fall that do just that. One standout is the Bye Bye Redness Moisturizer. If you are dealing with uneven discoloration or skin imperfections, this cream will be your new favorite. It’s loaded with soothing ingredients such as cucumber and chamomile extract to help calm and soothe. Plus, it has been doctor-approved for even the most sensitive of skin types.

Lima’s passion to develop products that truly make a difference without a doubt led to IT Cosmetics being acquired by L’Oréal in August 2016 for over $1 billion. Remaining at the helm of her brand as CEO (the first woman to hold that position in L’Oréal’s 100-plus history), she’s found her formula to success. “The single biggest thing is staying 100 percent authentic to your brand DNA, and that is a lot harder than it sounds,” Lima says. “But, you can’t fake authenticity. Customers can sense when you are faking it.”

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