If you’re a person of color, chances are you might have grown up unable to match your skin tone to a foundation. Some might argue, “What’s the big deal? Beauty is superficial. Make-up is only skin deep.” These people are missing the point.
“Walking through beauty aisles of a drugstore was a disconnect from what I saw in the mirror,” recalls AnnaLiisa Benston, one of the three founders of SPKTRM Beauty, a New York-based cosmetics line dedicated to inclusive beauty. Benston remembers thinking, “This is what the world thinks is beautiful, and I’m not included.”
Ehlie Luna, a make-up artist and co-founder of SPKTRM Beauty, agrees that not seeing your skin tone represented within the beauty industry can affect your self esteem. “When someone couldn’t be color-matched on a shoot, it can be humiliating [for them], even though, of course, it wasn’t their fault,” Luna says.
Jasmine Glass, who recruited Benston and Luna to help launch her brainchild, is using real people to represent the face of the new line. “SPKTRM is entering the market at a time when the discussion in the beauty industry is all about digital alterations. I want to align SPKTRM with fringe personalities who are committed to creating positive change in their industries.”
Crowdfunding website Indiegogo was instrumental in getting SPKTRM off the ground for the soft launch. The hard launch in spring 2019 will include highlighters and an expanded line. In the meantime, backers who support the brand through the Indiegogo campaign will be invited to develop and name their own shade of foundation. Backers receive discounted products and can enter to win a trip to New York City to attend the official label launch.
SPKTRM Beauty will ban all retouching of campaign and media images, which feature creatives with an interest in social activism. “You can feel a difference when a brand has you in mind from the beginning,” Luna says.
SPKTRM also plans to offer a subscription service where customers can refill glass bottles with foundation as their complexion changes over time. The line promotes sustainable beauty with eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging. In addition, SPKTRM has a give-back policy, donating 10 percent of profit to LGBTQ charities as well as organizations that serve disadvantaged women.
“There’s a lot of room for growth,” adds Glass. “I’ve been negatively affected by imagery in our youth-obsessed society that can make [some people] feel invisible if you don’t look a certain way.”
Rather than spending energy trying to dismantle archaic, exclusive and unrealistic standards of beauty, SPKTRM is committed to building a model of its own – one where the customer and creator are partnered in creating glamour everyone can feel good about.