Red lips are one of those beauty trends that will never fade. But finding the perfect shade of red lipstick for your skin tone isn’t always as simple as walking into your local drugstore and purchasing the first tube of rouge that catches your eye.
For many black women, the experience of shopping for red lipstick goes beyond choosing a color that complements their cool, warm, or neutral undertones. They also have to consider the actual tone of their lips, and how that red may wear differently from how it appears in the packaging. Well, one woman is on a mission to change this by creating red lipsticks with “different skin and lip tones in mind.”
Pound Cake Cosmetics founder Camille Belle tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she has always been drawn to the color red. “It’s a bold color and insinuates confidence,” she says. However, there have been “countless times” that she’s swiped on lipstick only for it to not look the way she’d hoped.
“I will look at advertisements of models wearing lipstick and, because these models do not look like me, I never get an accurate representation,” she says. “These models are predominately white with predominately pink lips. Cosmetic companies don’t understand that men and women of color tend to have darker lip tones and, thus, will have different results when trying on lipsticks.”
According to Belle, this disappointment, coupled with the lack of diversity in advertisements and campaigns, “leaves many black and brown people buying products they don’t want and feeling unwelcome in the beauty world.”
The young entrepreneur says she’s also “challenging the stigma that black women — and especially darker-skinned women — can’t or don’t look good in red lipstick.” She adds, “I know so many women of color who say they don’t wear red lipstick because they haven’t found the right red, feel like clowns, or feel that it’s too bold for public spaces.”
In order to bring her creation to life, Belle searched for a cosmetic chemist who was not only well-versed in formulating products for individuals with various skin and lip tones, but could grasp the importance of not using ingredients known to cause cancer. After reading an article about how black women may be exposed to disproportionate amounts of harmful cosmetic chemicals, she knew that in order to disrupt the beauty industry, her company had to be concerned with health as much as style.
Belle is now working on the Hot Cakes Collection — a line of five red retro-matte lipsticks priced at $20 each — with a goal to release next year. Each specific “cake” (Red Velvet, Apple, Maraschino, Raspberry, and Red Bean) shade can pair perfectly with pink, dark pink, brown, deep brown, or purple lip tones. “People are free to rock whatever lipstick they choose, but know that when they want that particular red from Pound Cake, they can achieve it regardless of their lip tone,” she says.
The powerful visuals for the brand feature some of Belle’s close friends and friend of friends, who share similar struggles in finding the perfect red lip.
She and her business partner have already won $10,000 for Pound Cake Cosmetics. And they recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise an additional $20,000 to help cover production and packaging costs. She says, “No one is successful on their own, and we know that people who truly understand what Pound Cake is trying to do will back us.”