Behind countless mainstream beauty brands are Black women doing the work. They’re often leading the push for diversity, and in some cases, concocting brilliant and innovative ideas for a brand of their own. Diarrha N’Diaye-Mbaye was one of those women. No stranger to the industry, the Glossier and L’Oréal alum employed her many years in product development and innovation to birth Ami Colé Beauty, a clean-beauty makeup brand with melanin at the forefront.
“All grit, vision, and now execution,” Mbaye wrote on her Instagram page about the May 17 launch of her brainchild. “We present to you the clean beauty brand made to celebrate melanin-rich skin. Inspired by Senegal, made in Harlem, USA. We made the table, the seat, the room with a view —and it’s feeling just right here.”
After three years of work and 400+ testing subjects, Ami Colé’s inaugural launch comes with three hero products including: a Skin-Enhancing Tint, Lip Treatment Oil, and Light-Catching Highlighter, all crafted to unleash your inner glow. But atop of the sleek packaging, smooth formulas, and diverse shade ranges, Ami Colé is also vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, alcohol and paraben-free, hypoallergenic, gluten-free, non-comedogenic, and intentionally eco-conscious. Adding to that mission, they only use recyclable, reusable, or compostable materials—leaving your skin and environment in good hands.
But like any other startup brand, particularly one helmed by a Black founder, the most important aspect was financial backing. A rarity, Ami Colé secured $1 million in pre-seed funding, with monetary donations from investors such Imaginary Ventures and Debut Capital – an early stage venture capital firm with a focus on investing in Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Founders.
“We met Diarrha in 2019 when she was first developing her concept for the business and were immediately impressed by her vision and category expertise, not to mention her prolific knowledge of products and ingredients,” Natalie Massenet, co-founder and managing partner of Imaginary Ventures says. “Diarrha is an engaging and magnetic founder, and her natural ability to cultivate community will be an instrumental part of the Ami Colé brand journey. We couldn’t be more aligned with Diarrha’s vision to create an inclusive and aspirational clean beauty brand, and are excited for the company’s debut.”
For now, Ami Colé’s must-haves are sold directly through the brand site—with rumblings of an expansion in the near-future.