May 17, 2021: Remember a few years ago when we were all doing “your skin, but better?” Like, constantly searching for makeup products that would act like FaceTune for our texture and bumps but still allow our skin to look like, well, skin? Brands reacted swiftly in response to the wants and needs of consumers, but brown and Black skin tones got the short end of the stick with fewer formulations to choose from. Today, though, the industry is taking a step in the right direction thanks to the newly launched makeup line Ami Colé from Diarrha N’Diaye.
Pronounced ahh-mee kohl-Lay, the brand serves a deeply underrepresented facet of beauty—a clean beauty brand creating makeup products for dark, rich, and deep skin tones. In a world where clean beauty frequently gets criticized for “greenwashing” or misleading consumers to believe their products are more eco-friendly than they are, it’s important to remember that it’s also a profoundly whitewashed industry, as well.
N’Diaye knows all of this first hand. She worked as a social media strategist at L’Oréal and on the product development team at Glossier—you know, the people who capitalized on the “my skin but better” trend early on—and took it in her own hands to be the change she wanted to see in the industry. Ami Colé’s debut collection, out today, comprises three products: skin-enhancing tint, highlighting balm illuminator, and lip treatment oil.
N’Diaye is a first-generation Senegalese woman based in Harlem, but Ami Colé takes a lot of inspiration from Senegal. The products contain ingredients native to the West African country, such as baobab and hibiscus. Baobab, in particular, has a rich history for N’Diaye in that it’s what inspired her to start the cosmetics line.
In a conversation with followers on Instagram live, she told viewers that going home to Senegal for the first time as an adult without parental guidance was enlightening. When in the country, on her way to her father’s home, she saw trees so large and grand that she was compelled to pull over. She was astonished these were baobab trees, which created the same baobab juice her mother gave her to treat ailments and illness as a child.
Ami Colé’s name is inspired by and named after N’Diaye’s mother, who was born in Senegal and has operated Aminata African Hair Braiding in Harlem since 1988. Her interest in beauty runs deep—as deep as the roots of the extraordinary baobab tree.
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