In recent years, many brands have made tremendous strides in expanding their range of nude lip colors, but there is still a long road ahead. With that very issue hitting home, two Harvard Business School graduates recognized a need for change and set out to do something about it.
After months of testing out lipstick shades on friends, family members, and beauty influencers, Kristen Jones Miller and Amanda E. Johnson birthed a new line of lipsticks under their co-owned brand called Mented Cosmetics (short for “pigmented”).
“I spent the better half of my 20s looking for the perfect nude lip color, and no one could help me,” Johnson tells Yahoo Beauty. “One day, Amanda and I started talking about our failed attempts to find the perfect lip color and we realized, it shouldn’t be this hard.”
They were absolutely right in their thinking, as many women of color share those exact sentiments.
To kick things off, the brand has six shades available, with plans to launch more. They include a rich mix of soft pinks, tans, and deep browns with a semi-matte texture that blends perfectly onto the lips of women with deeper-hued complexions. The lipsticks ($17 each) also have fun names such as “Nude La La,” “Foxy Brown,” and “Dope Taupe.”
Miller explains, “What sets Mented apart is our focus on creating everyday looks. Many of the new lines targeting women of color are offering more of the bold, in-your-face colors that look great on us, but don’t necessarily work day in and day out. At Mented, we want women of every hue to be able to achieve the clean, natural look, which celebrates and does not conceal our true beauty.”
The dynamic duo behind Mented both quit their jobs to follow their passion of building a brand that spoke true to them. Prior to creating Mented Cosmetics, Miller worked as a management consultant in Deloitte’s retail practice and as a jewelry buyer, while Johnson was formerly the head of business development at Barney’s New York and an investment banker with Goldman Sachs.
Miller cheerfully notes, “I love helping every woman find herself in the world of beauty, and I love building a brand that prioritizes women who have previously been ignored. If we’re able to help even a single woman feel more confident and more beautiful, we’re doing something magical.”
Mented Cosmetics nude lipsticks ($17) are available on mentedcosmetics.com.
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