Harvard Grads Create 'Mented,' A Lipstick For ALL Skin Tones

Harvard Grads Create 'Mented,' A Lipstick For ALL Skin Tones
Mented Cosmetics via Instagram

One of the biggest challenges that we, as Black women, face is trying to find beauty products geared for our particular needs. Our unique skin tones span the spectrum from latte to coffee and every hue in between. The limited number of products available on the market makes our experiences at the makeup counter beyond frustrating. Wouldn't it be great if some women got together and solved this very real problem?

Well, let the celebration begin! As reported by The Grio, two friends and former Harvard Business School classmates, Kristen "KJ" Miller and Amanda E. Johnson, teamed up in September 2015 to work towards the launch of Mented (short for "pigmented") Cosmetics.

The concept was birthed from the ladies' personal frustrations with an utter lack of options for Black women and decided to do something about it. Miller recalled posing this question to Jackson one night while having a glass of wine: "Is it just because we haven’t searched hard enough? Or is it indicative of a larger problem in the industry which is that we are not being targeted?"

The duo wasted no time experimenting, researching and then raising the needed capital to move forward. By the end of 2016, they had settled on six shades of nude lipstick for the initial launch, found a lead investor and quit their full-time jobs to make Mented a success. To date, they have raised half a million dollars which they will invest in the creation of additional products including highlighters, blush and foundations to be released in 2018.

Of course, with any entrepreneurial venture, the ladies have been met with doubters and naysayers. The women had successful careers and many wondered if trying to grab a piece of the $62 billion cosmetics industry was worth the risk. "People are like, ‘Look, you both have good jobs… Why are you risking it to create another beauty brand?," Miller said.

So far, the feedback about Mented has been positive. There are many Black women and women of color out there who want to enhance rather than hide their natural beauty — they want a "nude beat." Miller and Johnson take great pride in being a part of the resurrection of Black business: "That whole ‘for us by us’ vibe is alive and well and I’m excited about what we’re creating,” said Johnson. “We have this great group of girls [who are excited] that we’re doing it for them, as much as for ourselves."

For more information about Mented Cosmetics, visit them online at www.mentedcosmetics.com.

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