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Cosmetics gears up to Latinas

07-Sep-2004

As the lack of of beauty products available to Latino women becomes increasingly obvious, cosmetics companies are increasingly starting to offer make-up lines for darker complexions. Cosmetics Design's Iordan Mateev takes a look at a number of companies offering products tailor-made for this category.

"Women come in many colours, but until now, make up did not," said former model Lubna Khalid, founder and CEO of Real Cosmetics, based in California, US. "Real skin is yellow, olive, golden, red, pink, brown, black, white plus all the variations, combinations and nuances in-between. Yet typical foundations derive from only pink and yellow undertones, which look artificial on most complexions," adds Khalid.

The Pakistani-American could never find a foundation shade to match her skin tone. Knowing this to be a common problem, she created make-up for all complexions.

Like-wise, make-up artist Monica Ramirez was also frustrated by the brands of cosmetics she has triet, until she came across the Zalia Cosmetics lines, which included cosmetics designed specifically for Latinas like herself. The products, including lipstic, eyeshadow, lipgloss, eyeliner and mascara, are formulated for the richer olive and yellow tones of the Latina complexion and gave her the inspiration to design her own cosmetics.

On 8 September Monica Ramirez will launch her Victoria's Secret Beauty line in New York. This adds to launches at leading department stores in Miami, Los Angeles and Dallas, which have all been targeted markets due to the large Hispanic population and high concentration of upmarket Latina consumers. Until recently the products were only sold in her own three stores at malls in New Jersey and New York and online through the Interenet.

The expectations of market growth in the US are supported by official figures. Latinos now make up about one seventh of the US population, almost 44 million people. Synovate Diversity, a Miami based market research company, expects that Latinos will reach 30 per cent of the US population by 2050. Of this approximately 13 million Latinas range between 12 and 49 years old, prime make-up-wearing years. The Census data also reveals that the average Latina living in North America is 26 and spends more disposable income on beauty than women from other ethnic groups.Avon, one of the world's leading cosmetics companies, is also paying special attention to Latinas with Salma Hayek becoming the new company's leading face. The Hispanic Oscar-nominated actress is playing the main role in the Avon's biggest ad campaign ever, which started last month.

"Salma's universal beauty will appeal to our broad and diverse customer base," said Andrea Jung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Avon Products, announcing the agreement earlier this year.

The companies focused on Latinas not only create new make-up lines, they put a great emphasis on the products name and packaging. Maria B. Cosmetics, another newly established company based in Los Angeles, names its products after accomplished Latina women, cities from Mexico to Peru, drinks like "mojito", and Cuban sayings.

Bonita Cosmetics, also targeting Latina women, builds its image by using colourful graphics and logo, and pink/purple holographic tube packaging. "Latin women love brightness and colour," said Rosemary Garcia, the company's founder.

But its not only Hispanic women that will embrace cosmetics lines specially created for Latinas. "Often when I like the lipstick of a friend of mine, I try it and I don't like it," said Nora Gouncheva who is a Caucasian woman with olive skin. "As I haven't found special cosmetics for my skin, when I go shopping I start trying on and wiping off many products from my face. Usually I give up before I find the products that suits my skin", added Gouncheva.

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