L’Oréal Chemist discovers ultramarine is key to catering for darker skin tones in search for #BeautyForAll

L’Oréal Chemist discovers ultramarine is key to catering for darker skin tones in search for #BeautyForAll

Just weeks after the Maybelline scandal, L’Oréal USA has hit back at its detractors with a sneak peek into the exciting developments discovered by its Women of Color lab, which has enabled the company to offer a wider range of foundations to suit different skin tones.

“Cosmetics has struggled with trying to find the best shade for women of color as long as make-up has existed. The options were to wear something that didn’t match you or just not wear anything at all. Did it affect the way that you thought of yourself? Yes. L’Oréal said, ‘look we understand the issues for women of color and we need to find a way to fix it’. As a scientist, I knew there was a solution,” explained L’Oréal Chemist Balanda Atis.  

Atis and her team went on the road to collect skin tone measurements in a bid to better understand the colors that make up skin, collecting well over 20,000 data points. “We didn’t realise there were so many skin tones that existed. We were able to come back into the lab, analyse them, and found out that, in deeper skin tone, you don’t necessarily go blacker, you go deeper in colour,” continues Atis. “There was a colorant that was available but hardly ever used and that would be ultramarine blue. Our ‘Aha! Moment’ came when we created our first foundation shade using ultramarine blue. That moment we realised we were on the right track.”

L’Oréal created its first ever Women of Color lab in 2014, collecting skin tone measurements for women from 57 different countries of origin. “I’m able to touch the lives of many women by being able to give them foundation shades that match them. With each baby, a new skin tone is born and, with that, we know our work is never done,” said Atis.


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