Ami Colé Is the No-Makeup Makeup Brand Putting Melanin-Rich Skin First
There's a time and place for a full glam moment, but a day full of Zoom meetings usually doesn't call for heavy foundation and cut-crease eyeshadow. The no-makeup makeup look is a low-key alternative, but the reality is that most of the time, it takes a little bit of makeup to look like you're naturally glowing.
While there are now a ton of skincare ingredient-infused products out there to achieve that elusive your-skin-but-better look, the options are limited for brown and Black skin. That's why Diarrha N'Diaye founded Ami Colé, a clean makeup brand that makes these type of makeup products catered to melanin-rich skin.
The Harlem-based L'Oréal and Glossier alum looked to the Black women in her life, and their daily approach to wearing makeup when starting her brand.
"My friends, joyous Black women at brunch, the Black women that frequent my mom's hair salon — they all inspire me," N'Diaye tells InStyle. "I have always been deeply moved by how Black women show up in the world via beauty. I grew up in Harlem, USA surrounded by the culture. But, when it came to makeup, I was never able to find a brand for women of color that represented the 'my skin, but better,' and 'is that makeup or is that just her skin?' makeup style that so many of these women in my neighborhood ascribed to."
Ami Colé's first three products are inspired by N'Diaye's Senegalese background (the brand is named after her mother) and made in Harlem. They include the Skin-Enhancing Tint ($32), a lightweight "blur effect" base product that comes in six flexible shades, the translucent Light-Catching Highlighter ($22), which adds a dewy glow to skin, and the Lip Oil Treatment ($22), a universal rosy taupe hue. All of the products are available at amicole.com and will launch at Thirteen Lune in June.
The minimalist packaging is white and black and comes in orange boxes, a nod to the vibrant colors seen in the markets of Senegal or the banks of St. Louis, where N'Diaye's mother is from.
"It's something that flowed through me throughout the entire process. The campaign imagery should move you even if you've never heard of Senegal," N'Diaye says of her Senegalese heritage. "For this inaugural moment it was important to start at home on the soil. We shot with model Seynabou Cisse, our 'Ami Colé girl.' We wanted to create a story that made melanin-rich women the main character — not the supporting act, or the chic best friend — which is something that's rarely shown in the beauty space. We enlisted a Bongo man to set the joyous vibe and intention, something very common at Senegalese celebrations. Even the food on set that day was traditional Jolof rice and sorrel."
Baobab oil, Ami Colé's hero ingredient, has ties to Senegal as well, where it's known as the "Tree of Life." The fruit oil is deeply hydrating, but also minimizes fine lines.
"For centuries, it's been a source of medicinal remedies, beauty treatments, and even shelter for many. The baobab tree is special as its deep roots expand as wide as its visible branches," N'Diaye adds. "Additionally, it visibly improves hydration levels, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and it's fruit has — the baobab — which produces oil that's known to deeply nourish the skin."
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Keep scrolling for an in-depth look at Ami Colé's first makeup products.
At the heart of every no-makeup makeup look is a lightweight base product. Ami Colé's skin tint offers sheer coverage that enhances — not covers — your gorgeous skin tone. The hydration-rich formula has a blurring effect and leaves skin with a naturally dewy finish. All six flexible shades were created with the undertones found in melanin-rich complexions in mind.
To shop: $32; amicole.com
Lip Oil Treatment
This oil-to-gloss nourishes and hydrates with a side of tint. The universal shade is a sheer, rosy taupe that looks amazing on all melanin-rich skin tones.
To shop: $20; amicole.com
This balmy highlighter gives you a dewy, lit-from-within glow that isn't sparkly or chalky. Instead, it has a translucent base to provide a more natural-looking finish.
To shop: $22; amicole.com
From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space.