Enterprising Friends Debut Nude Lipsticks For All Skin Tones With Mented

Kristen “KJ” Miller and Amanda E. Johnson

Even though over the past few years major cosmetic companies have been trying to step up to the plate and offer makeup in hues and tones that work with Black skin, in comparison to the general market the offerings are small and the quality lacking.

This is where Kristen “KJ” Miller and Amanda E. Johnson stepped up. The friends are the co-founders of a new makeup line for women of color called Mented Cosmetics. “In September, 2015, the two friends and former Harvard Business School classmates set out to solve a cosmetics problem they kept running into: High-end makeup brands didn’t seem to have the right nude lip shades for black women,” reported The Grio.

You see, both Miller and Johnson were tired of not being able to find the right nude lipsticks for their skin tones. And the pink and peach colors on the market were just not going to work for their brown lips. “It was, ‘I can create a nude look for you if I use this lip liner, this concealer, this lipstick, this lip gloss and everything else… and now I’ve got it.’ But how am I gonna recreate that?” Miller explained to The Grio.

After testing their product ideas on friends and family and months of research, the enterprising duo selected six shades for their line in 2016 and then conducted focus groups and searched for manufacturers. They also did a fundraising campaign that resulted in a lead investor. In fact, they raised half a million dollars in pre-seed funding for Mented. By the end of last year, they quit their full-time jobs to pursue Mented Cosmetics full-time. Most recently, Mented (short for “pigmented”) debuted a line of six nude lipsticks. And by the end of 2018, they plan to release highlighters, blush, and foundation.

The lipsticks come in cute names like Nude LaLa, Dope Taupe, and Dark Night, and range in tone from pinkish to chocolate brown shades. Each color retails for $16.50. For more info, visit Mentedcosmetics.com.