Usually the news of yet another foundation launch doesn’t incite much excitement. However, when the campaign includes a makeup genius whose work has graced countless campaigns and celebs, and an influencer with millions of admirers, that’s certain to capture your attention.

So when Morphe decided to release a new line of medium to full coverage foundation called Filter Effect, launching in Ulta on January 31, they knew exactly who to call: makeup educator Danessa Myricks, whose A-list portfolio includes the likes of Ciara, Jordin Sparks and Madonna, and social media maven Shayla Mitchell, also known as Makeup Shayla. With Black women at the helm of the launch, the campaign, rollout and foundation itself is proving just as much about the brand-new formula as it is amplifying Black creativity.

ESSENCE spoke to both Myricks and Mitchell about their collaboration with Morphe, and about why this isn’t your average complexion launch.

It’s rare that someone with their own makeup brand collaborates with another. What was it about this collaboration with Morphe that made you feel compelled to join forces?

DANESSA MYRICKS: I feel the beauty industry is in a unique and important time of transformation. Awareness has been heightened on issues regarding inclusion and some brands are making the efforts to respond. As a cosmetic developer and brand consultant for over 15 years, I have lent my expertise to numerous brands that have been looking to expand their offering to be more inclusive in both formulation and shade development. Although I do have my own brand and it remains my priority, I still try as much as possible to contribute my expertise because my greater purpose and motivation is to see inclusion and representation not just within my brand, but throughout the beauty industry.

For this particular project, I was attracted to the opportunity to help shed light on the abundance of talent that exists among Black creatives.  My role was as a creative director, makeup artist and photographer for this project.

As creative director, I had the opportunity to spotlight models that were diverse and representative. In addition to that, I was excited that the project featured a black creator as the face of the campaign. In addition to that, the fashion stylist, and hairstylist were incredibly talented, Black creatives as well.

As a makeup artist and photographer, I was able to share my personal aesthetic and vision of how I see beauty.  I love to celebrate skin and the natural beauty that comes with that.

What was it like taking on all of those roles at once?

MYRICKS: It was both challenging and exciting all at the same time. Doing these three things for my brand is one thing, but I felt the pressure of the responsibility to honor the storytelling and vision of another brand.  Doing these three things can be overwhelming without all of the elements in place.

Morphe and their team were incredibly supportive throughout the process. The talent and energy of all of the creatives on set was pure magic. In addition, I had an amazing team of assistants who with their talent and expertise really made the day flow successfully.  On top of that, the formula applied and photographed  beautifully making my job that much easier.

Can you talk about how you conceptualized and executed these campaign looks?

MYRICKS: I really wanted the messaging to tell the story of the formula; easy and effortless. Morphe designed  the formula to create the appearance of a 2nd skin. All of the looks were designed to feel that way. The focus was on spotlighting the skin in the foundation without any other elements of color or coverage, allowing the natural beauty to shine through.

Why is this foundation right on time?

MYRICKS: After being in lock down for almost a year, everyone is looking for ease and the focus has shifted to self-care and skincare. Morphe designed this formula as a one and done with skin care as a focus. 

In a world of countless foundations, why is this one special?

SHAYLA MITCHELL: It’s just one of those foundations that is gonna work for every skin type. My T-zone, especially in the winter, is more normal oily, and then my cheeks recently have become so dry. But if you just use even a little bit of powder, you can get that natural finish. I’ve been wearing it on my Instagram stories just to see how people to react and it’s amazing. I’m going to use this foundation for my wedding.

And there’s 40 shades. With my experience when it comes to brands saying they’re inclusive, a lot of times they’re throwing out shades and they’re not always the right undertone. Sometimes they’re too green or they’re too gray, but with this Morphe foundation, I feel like they really did their research and made sure that they were creating shades that actually worked for people of color. That’s really important because, you know, in the summer I’m going to get tan and not only is my skin going to get a little darker, but it’s also going to get richer in red pigment. So I love that the richer shades have the correct undertones.

What was it like working with each other?

MITCHELL: Well first, let me just start off by saying that Danessa is so professional and her work ethic is incredible. When she dives into a project she’s so focused, like a hyper-focused, I was so impressed. She was doing it all. She was taking the photos, she was doing my makeup, she was constantly going back and forth and she didn’t complain one time. I can tell she’s just so in love with her art, and I respect that so much about her. She did my makeup and it turned out bomb. She really knows how to carve out those best features in your skin. She is such an incredible artist and I hope I get to work with her again.

MYRICKS: Shayla was wonderful to work with. She had a very kind and playful energy that I really appreciated.  She graciously allowed me to do my thing and really aligned with the vision of the shoot.  She set the tone for the energy of the set and it was divine. It was such a pleasure to create with her.

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