The Black-Owned Clean Brand That's Making Waves In The Beauty World

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Given the high prevalence of toxic "forever chemicals" in popular makeup products, per The Guardian, consumers are increasingly demanding clean beauty products. In fact, Statista Research predicts the global clean beauty market will be worth $22 billion by 2024. And with politicians on both sides of the aisle taking action by introducing the "No PFAS in Cosmetics Act," it seems that safer ingredient lists are becoming a priority. In the meantime, the good news is that there are plenty of clean makeup options currently available. Per Glossy, Sephora is a great place to shop for clean makeup, as it enforces strict guidelines for a product to meet its "Clean at Sephora" label. One such example is LYS Beauty.

LYS is an acronym for "love yourself," which refers to the brand's mission of making beauty inclusive and accessible, according to Essence Magazine. When it hit Sephora's shelves in 2021, LYS Beauty made history as the first Black-owned, clean beauty brand to be sold by the retailer, per Glossy. CEO Tisha Thompson founded the Atlanta-based brand in February 2021 and has already seen immense growth since its launch, per Fortune. Here's everything to know about LYS, which is already making waves in the beauty world.

Tisha Thompson went from marketing executive to successful entrepreneur

LYS founder Tisha Thompson studied accounting and was the first in her family to graduate college, as Fortune noted. While completing her studies, she worked as a makeup artist to save money. Then, upon graduation, Thompson was able to marry her passion for beauty with her education when she landed a job as an accountant at PÜR Cosmetics, per Fortune. She ultimately worked at the company for 15+ years, transitioning over from finance to marketing with the brand.

As vice president of marketing and innovation, Thompson worked on developing PÜR's clean beauty line, in addition to "support[ing] brand management and marketing," as she told Fortune. She cited her work with the company's 4-in-1 Love Your Selfie Longwear Foundation and Concealer as one of her highlights. After leaving PÜR in 2020, Thompson reflected on her time in the beauty industry and felt makeup products weren't designed with people that look like her in mind. "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," the entrepreneur told Essence Magazine. According to Thompson, research and development of formulas in the beauty industry have also tended to cater to more privileged, white demographics. Consequently, the needs of women of color have long been ignored.

Diversity is important in clean beauty

Tisha Thompson was disappointed in the lack of skincare-infused makeup that addressed the specific issues that people with darker skin-tones face. "I grew frustrated with the gap in the beauty industry and the lack of diverse shade ranges that were also formulated with clean ingredients," Thompson told Fortune. "I wanted to offer affordable makeup and skincare solutions that are uniquely catered to wide shade ranges as they target common skin concerns, like hyperpigmentation, visible signs of aging, blemishes, and enlarged pores."

Thompson further explained that ignoring the wellbeing of Black women can lead to the creation of "products with harmful ingredients and dangerous side effects," per Essence Magazine. As Scientific American noted, certain chemicals found in hair products targeted toward Black women have been linked to obesity, asthma, and premature birth. Furthermore, Time reports that several foundations, concealers, and lipsticks popular among the Black community scored low on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database. "If anyone was in need of clean cosmetics, it was Black women," Thompson told Essence. That's when she sought to diversify the clean beauty space by catering to a wide range of skin-tones with more financially accessible products, per Glossy

This stand-out LYS Beauty product is a skincare must-have

True to Tisha Thompson's mission, LYS' hero product is LYS Triple Fix Serum Foundation, which contains good-for-you ingredients including turmeric, ashwagandha, and moisturizing oil, per Insider. From Boomers to "Zoomers," this lightweight foundation provides a hydrated, naturally flawless complexion for people of all ages. One beauty writer at InStyle raved about its coverage, citing the soft filter-like effect on the skin and the way the foundation sank seamlessly into her skin.

Thompson told Fortune that she believed the foundation was a huge success because of the hard work that went into the product's development process. As she explained, the  company "tested this foundation on 150 different skin tones" and ensured that every skin type was taken into consideration. Before approving a product, Thompson prioritizes quality assurance by observing both the longevity of the product, as well as how her products perform on different undertones. "My personal life is just as diverse as the consumer base I'm targeting, so I'll ping my team, family and friends, influencers, industry professionals, etc., to capture real-time feedback on how the formulas are working against their most pressing skincare concerns," Thompson told Fortune. While most clean foundations tend to range between $35-$40, according to Glossy, the LYS foundation retails for $22 and is available in 35 shades, per Sephora.

LYS Beauty products are worth every penny

Based on the fan-favorite foundation, LYS Beauty expanded with the Triple Fix Full Coverage Brightening Concealer. According to Allure, the creamy formula is intended to brighten and highlight your skin, thanks to anti-inflammatory ingredients like ashwagandha and turmeric. Beauty writers at Allure tested out the concealer — which comes in 25 different shades — and raved about the full coverage formula. "Triple Fix meets all my concealer needs: it can camouflage blemishes, dark circles, and hyperpigmentation easily," and it "doesn't crease or cake," one editor noted.

Along with the foundation, USA Today recommends LYS Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush for a subtle flush, as well as LYS Beauty No Limits Matte Bronzer, for the ultimate sun-kissed glow. And even if you're a non-believer when it comes to primer, InStyle suggests trying the LYS Beauty Secure Skin Gripping Serum Primer. Created for those with acne-prone and combination skin in mind, the primer contains vitamin C-rich grapefruit extract, niacinamide, and a resurfacing AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) to brighten and hydrate the face. With Sephora's Beauty Insider Sale right around the corner, it looks like these LYS Beauty products might just have to go into our shopping carts.