As a Black beauty editor, one of the most fulfilling parts of my job is connecting with Black beauty founders and speaking with them about the powerful work they're doing to make the industry more inclusive. Last week, I excitedly hopped on a Zoom call with Ami Colé's founder Diarrha N'Diaye-Mbaye. Taking note of the fact products targeted to Black women often include toxic ingredients, N'Diaye-Mbaye created Ami Colé to provide clean beauty products that celebrate melanin-rich skin.
The Senegalese-American beauty aficionado has been diligently working to bring the brand to life for the past two years—fine-tuning formulas, growing her team, and building a presence on social media. Along the way, she's secured over one million dollars (making her one of fewer than 40 Black women who have done so) in pre-seed funding from investors including Imaginary Ventures, serial entrepreneur Katherine Power, editor in chief of The Cut Lindsay Peoples Wagner, Venture Capital Fund Greycroft, HB Fit founder and author Hannah Bronfman, former Glossier president Henry Davis, and Debut Capital.
Today, Ami Colé is making its debut with three hero products: Skin-Enhancing Tint ($32), Lip Treatment Oil ($20), and Light-Catching Highlighter ($22). During the product development phase, consumer feedback was of paramount importance and helped N'Diaye-Mbaye land on the final formulas and packaging. In line with Ami Colé's mission to be a better-for-you beauty brand, the entire product lineup is vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free, hypoallergenic, gluten-free, and non-comedogenic. However, the efforts to be conscious don't end there as the brand's packaging uses earth-friendly materials like 100% bioresin (sourced from sugar cane), post-consumer recyclable (PCR) materials, and PET resin.
During my chat with N'Diaye-Mbaye, we took a deep dive into what makes each product special. And as soon as my samples arrived, I put them to the test on my face. Ahead, learn more about Ami Colé's products and read my honest review of each.
What It Is: Available in six flexible shades, the Skin-Enhancing Tint evens skin tone and delivers a satin-glow finish. "It's light-to-medium, so you can still build it up, but it's not sheer like a lot of the skin tints out on the market," N'Diaye-Mbaye says. "It has skin-loving ingredients like baobab seed extract, hibiscus extract, and [pumpkin seed extract] to really make sure we're thinking about skin health as well."
My Review: "When it comes to complexion products, I tend to stick with tinted moisturizers and light-to-medium coverage foundations. So, this was right up my alley. I dabbed on a light layer using my Beautyblender, and the product blended seamlessly into my skin. During my meeting with N'Diaye-Mbaye, she mentioned how she worked tirelessly to ensure the Skin Enhancing Tint's undertones worked with Black and Brown skin. Her work paid off because the shade Medium 1 works beautifully with my complexion. It feels lightweight and breathable on my face. And I love the luminous finish it leaves on my skin."
Lip Treatment Oil
What It Is: "It is a very cushiony lip treatment that acts as a lip gloss as well," N'Diaye-Mbaye tells me. "It's a very universally-flattering shade." In the formula, baobab seed extract works to moisturize your lips, camellia oil delivers long-lasting hydration, and passionfruit seed oil acts as an antioxidant.
My Review: "Lip care is an integral part of my beauty routine. I have an arsenal of scrubs, balms, treatments, and glosses. I love that this product is a hybrid of a conditioning lip oil and gloss. It adds a beautiful wash of rosy, taupe to my lips. The shiny yet non-sticky finish makes this lip treatment oil even more noteworthy. Needless to say, I've met my new go-to lip product."
What It Is: The Light-Catching Highlighter is infused with baobab seed oil and golden light-reflective minerals that add an instant glow to the high points of your face. You can apply it seamlessly on both makeup-free skin and over makeup. "It's really like a glaze for the skin," N'Diaye-Mbaye adds. "It has a clear base, and it's just so beautiful on the skin. We're really all about trying to create the best version of your skin."
My Review: "I love glowy skin, and as of late, highlighter balms have been my illuminator of choice. When I applied the Light-Catching Highlighter over the Skin-Enhancing Tint, I immediately noticed how it melts into the skin to create the most natural highlight. While taking selfies indoors, the effects of this highlighter balm were subtle—but I could see that it gave my skin an overall boosted glow. However, when I went outside and let sunlight hit my skin, the golden light-reflective balm really made my skin glisten."