• | 8:00 am

Game-changing beauty brand Ami Colé is taking a natural approach to inclusive beauty

Founder and CEO Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye couldn’t find a makeup brand that would enhance her natural beauty. So she launched her own.

[Source photo: [Illustration: Natalia Agatte]]

With the “no-makeup makeup” look trending, cosmetic brands have been pushing out products that promise to enhance users’ natural beauty. But Ami Colé founder Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye found that BIPOC customers who want to prioritize a bare face have limited options. “I wanted to have a five-minute makeup look,” she says. But “everything on the market either didn’t have my complexion or shade, or [was] not as thoughtful in terms of undertones.”

The Senegalese American, who previously worked in marketing at L’Oréal and in product development at Glossier, set out to change that with her one-year-old clean beauty brand, Ami Colé.

To develop her first set of products—a conditioning lip oil (which has sold out and been wait-listed twice), highlighter, and flexible skin tint in six shades tailored for melanin-rich consumers—N’Diaye-Mbaye polled more than 400 people about their frustrations and unmet needs. She also looked to her tight-knit community in Harlem for inspiration. “It’s [full of] the diaspora,” she says. “You have your Ghanaian, Haitian, Senegalese, Ivory Coast [communities].” She asked trendsetting young people there what products they liked, and looked for ways to give them tools “where they can actually look like themselves.”

Her resulting cosmetic line (products start at $20) is vegan, cruelty-free, and developed using natural ingredients, such as baobab tree extract and camellia seed oil—a response to the disproportionate number of toxins found in beauty products marketed to women of color.

Since launching the brand direct to consumers in May 2021, N’Diaye-Mbaye has rolled Ami Colé out to luxury e-tailers, including Net-a-Porter and Thirteen Lune, and introduced loose powder, mascara, and concealers compatible with a spectrum of undertones. She’s planning several new product launches for 2022.

More Top Stories: