Clean beauty has notoriously been an industry that’s targeted the white and privileged.
Marketing ads, research and even ingredient lists have long centered white customers, and the brands that took center stage on store shelves were owned and operated by white women. This is particularly troubling due to the cosmetics industry’s sordid history of creating products with harmful ingredients and dangerous side effects to Black women. Consequently, our communities have been rife with health issues like infertility, fibroids, alopecia, and various forms of cancer. If anyone was in need of clean cosmetics, it was Black women.
As a beauty retail executive for more than a decade, this is something that Tisha Thompson had long known.
“I ran marketing for beauty companies that favored campaigns highlighting women that looked nothing like me, but still wanted my demographic’s consumer dollars,” the Atlanta, Georgia native said. “I didn’t see any plus-size, Black women, no real representation included in the creative I worked so hard to support. I couldn’t do it anymore after a while.”
That’s when she decided to venture out in February 2021 and create her line, LYS Beauty, an inclusive clean beauty brand—the first of its kind.
In less than a year, it’s already being sold at Sephora and is breaking barriers for other brands to follow their lead.
With a mission to dispel the myth that affordable clean beauty offering deep shade ranges cannot coexist, LYS, which stands for ‘love yourself,’ speaks to the needs of an often overlooked market. For example, their Triple Fix Full Coverage Brightening Concealer, releasing later this month, uniquely caters to a wide shade of undertones that aren’t top of mind for other brands.
Thompson said the brand is long overdue.
“Representation in beauty is something that has just started to catch mainstream attention in the last few years, which is sad because Black women always have had to face so many issues,” she said. “Clean makeup products that work shouldn’t be one of them.”