Let’s face it, the Latinx community loves beauty products, and it typically starts at a young age. According to Univision, 66 percent of Latinas surveyed said they are taught at an early age that maintaining their appearance is important, and a love for beauty and personal care tends to be passed down from grandmothers and mothers.
“Research shows that we spend nearly 30 percent more than other ethnicities on beauty products,” says Shan, Latina founder of Shades by Shan [A Nielsen report revealed Latinas spend $167 per year compared to the general population’s $135.] “We are also the demographic that uses more products than anyone else! [More on that below.] We definitely get this from our mothers, Tias and Abuelas, as the woman figures in our lives who have generationally loved beauty and each has their own secrets to staying young and beautiful!” And though brand loyalty plays a big role, the survey also revealed that 51 percent of Hispanic women claim they are always the first to try the latest beauty trend, compared to 32 percent of non-Hispanic women.
So, it’s no wonder Latinx women alone spent more than $2 billion on makeup products in the U.S. in 2019, according to Mintel, and 60 percent of them use nine or more makeup products (more than other demographics). One celebrity meeting this demand is Becky G, who just introduced her new LatinX-inspired brand Treslúce Beauty last week. “This has been one of the biggest dreams and goals of mine since I was a little girl. My beauty story started many years ago with my hot, young mama who was a cool mom and let me find my way into her makeup bag and explore and express myself through fashion, makeup and music. Growing up, I never really saw people who looked like me represented, especially when it came to ads for beauty brands,” says the singer and actress, who was also the youngest CoverGirl to date at 15 years old (she’s now 24).
“My inspiration for Treslúce came from wanting to put more diverse faces at the forefront of beauty. Being Mexican-American, my Mexican heritage was also very much an inspiration. I wanted to highlight it in a very special way, along with all the other beautiful Latinx cultures within our community.”
The name is a made-up word inspired by the Spanish language: “The ‘tres’ is inspired by my lucky number 3; I live by it still and it’s also a very spiritual number for me because it represents the mind, body and soul,” says Becky G. And “luce” comes from a slang term to compliment someone’s appearance, “like you look really good in that,” she describes. In collaboration with beauty brand incubator Madeby Collective, Becky G created six color cosmetic products (more to come in the future) that are infused with Latin-sourced art and ingredients—one being blue agave sourced from Jalisco, Mexico, which helps soften the texture of the skin. Ranging from $8 to $35 and housed inside electric blue and yellow packaging, the products include faux lashes, 15 shades of liner that can be used on the eyes or lips, a brush set, and the hero product, “I Am” Shadow Palette.
Shades by Shan is another Latinx makeup brand making waves in the community. “My Mom—also known as Mamaberries—inspired me to start my own company and always instilled a love of entrepreneurship in me from a young age—I followed my passion for makeup,” says Shan. “Latina women and the Latinx community are known to be digitally savvy shoppers who find beauty in everything that encompasses our culture, including the colors we use in our art, music and clothing—we are clearly not intimidated by bold colors!”
Shan includes some of these vivid hues in her collection, but also caters to the everyday essentials. “Latinx beauty consumers come in all different skin tones, from fair to deep, consequently making it difficult for them to find the correct undertone for their skin,” she says. “We take into account different Latinx skin tones and give consumers the accessibility of color cosmetics, including Lip Liners, Liquid Lipsticks, Glosses and Complexion (pressed and loose) powders, to suit cool, warm and neutral undertones.”
Other brands on our radar are PDL Cosmetics, founded by Panamanian actress and activist Patricia de Leon and inspired by her Latina ancestors, sisters and friends; and Elaluz, the brainchild of Brazilian fashion and beauty influencer Camila Coelho (the Lip & Cheek Stain is a summer staple).
Latinx consumers also value good skin care, and often view it as a ritual passed down from other female family members. However, according to several Latina brand founders I’ve interviewed, skin-care brands aren’t generally marketed toward their demographic. Christina Kelmon and Ann Dunning, cofounders of Vamigas—launching at Nordstrom and HSN in August—say this is the number-one reason they felt compelled to launch their own brand: “Clean beauty hasn’t really been targeted at Latinas,” says Dunning. “Many studies have found that Latinas, who as we saw, buy and use more beauty products, have more hormone-disrupting chemicals in their bodies. Latinas show higher rates of things like infertility and breast cancer, too, which could be due to our higher rates of beauty usage. Latinas also use more anti-aging creams and body lotions, many of which contain phthalates, parabens, phenols, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and even things with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and arsenic.”
Kelmon and Dunning wondered why there was no clean beauty brand really speaking to them. “That’s where Vamigas comes in: We want to truly own that huge gap, with products that speak to Latinas and are healthy for them.” The lineup ranges from $24 to $34 and highlights botanical ingredients used in ancient Latin America from Maya, Aztec, Andean, Mapuche, and Inca territories. “Our next launch is our Maqui Berry Oil, which is truly a hidden powerhouse Latin American ingredient,” says Kelmon. “We are in love with it because, like our cofounder Ann, it’s 100-percent from Chile, and has a higher antioxidant value than any other known and marketed superfruit right now, so you can imagine how it protects against free radicals.”
In addition to antioxidant-rich formulas, Latinx consumers also tend to use more hyperpigmentation-fighting products. Mexican-American makeup artist, vlogger and influencer Desi Perkins launched DEZI Skin earlier this year with a vitamin C serum to combat this, noting dark spots are a big concern in the community. “We also have a complex in our formulas called Youth Juice, which is actually a little piece of me and my heritage,” she says. “There are so many fruits that I had growing up, especially in Mexico, and they have so many antioxidants, so I wanted to pay tribute to that with Mexican plum fruit, dragon fruit, acai berry, tamarind, mango, soursop, guava, and avocado extracts.” The brand’s next launch, Dew Me Over Face Mist, is coming July 15.
While all hair types are found within the Latinx community, Babba Rivera, CEO and founder of Ceremonia, says her research has found that Latinx consumers over-index in their search for products that help combat frizz and dryness, and this has been further confirmed by her customers. “They also spend more on hair-care products than any other demographic,” she adds. “According to the research we looked at, they actually spend 46 percent more.” Like Kelmon and Dunning, Rivera was also inspired by innovation in clean beauty, but notes the hair category is still very behind. “The skin-care industry has come so far, but when it comes to hair care, we still very much have to compromise on performance in order to steer clear of sulfates, parabens and silicones.”
And on a more personal level, she says the journey she’s been on with the brand has allowed her to reconnect with her roots, which she hasn’t “always carried with pride. Growing up as a Latinx immigrant in Sweden, I never saw myself represented in anything, and I’m realizing today how the lack of representation in my upbringing made me subconsciously neglect my own Latinidad. Today as a mother, it is more important than ever for me to ensure I’m playing a role in creating a world in which my own daughter can be proud of who she is and her roots. With Ceremonia, we want to create representation for Latinx and celebrate the richness of the Latin culture, beyond the stereotypes. We utilize the power of superfruits and plants native to Latin America for all of our formulas, and we pride ourselves in tapping into emerging Latinx talent both in front and behind the camera, as well as within our own corporate team across every department.”
Non-Latin founded beauty mainstays have also joined the Latinx conversation: Clinique announced its new global brand ambassador, Mexican actress Melissa Barrera, earlier this year—you may know her from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical-drama In the Heights (she joins Emilia Clarke in the role). “I am also deeply honored to be the first Latina representing the brand globally,” she says. “Our culture is so multidimensional that one face could never be representative of the entire breadth of Latina beauty, but I’m thrilled to add my voice to this conversation, in both Spanish and English!” Sephora also announced Melinda Solares as its first Latina beauty director in March, and late last year Smashbox hosted its first-ever “Jefacon” to amplify Afro-Latina voices.
And this is just the beginning.