Bina Khan was working as one of Pakistan's premier aestheticians and bridal makeup artists when the pandemic broke out in March 2020. Like many others, her salon quickly shut down, leaving her wondering what the next move was for her 25-year-long beauty career.
“We often describe it as our life raft during the pandemic,” Khan says of her brand, Just B Cosmetics, which she launched alongside her co-founder Madiha Chan in 2021. Khan had met Chan as a bridal client, and despite living on two different continents—Chan is based in the US and Khan splits her time between London and Pakistan—the two stayed close. Khan’s expertise in the beauty space, coupled with Chan’s work as a lead engineer at Google, made for the perfect pair when it came to launching the range of five dual-sided lipsticks.
Khan set her sight on lipstick first, since she considers it "the purest color you can give on the face." In addition to spreading joy through color, Khan wanted to represent her South Asian heritage, and create the perfect lipstick for every skin tone. Below, the founder shares with Byrdie what inspired the collection, tips on how to achieve the perfect lip, and more.
The brand launched with five dual-ended lipsticks, each including a liquid matte and a satin glaze in slightly different shades. The Just B Cosmetics Lip Spectrums ($38), are just that—a spectrum—and are designed for each side to be worn separately, or together for a custom shade and texture.
Khan wanted to share her experience of playing with different textures with her customers. “I just wanted to deliver the ability for people to make those colors and play with texture and tone,” she says.
Over her 25 years as a makeup artist, Khan saw a huge gap in the beauty landscape. “Nobody was specifically speaking to brown skin, or South Asian skin,” she says. “If I wanted to do a pink lipstick for my client, I would have to mix four or five pink lipsticks—even from companies that I respect and love.”
Khan highlights the importance of representation when it comes to offering shades that work for all brown skin tones. “We wanted to create a product that showed people that we saw them, and appreciated their beauty. It's not about leaving anyone out.” Making customers feel seen and validated no matter their skin tone was her top priority.
Khan also wanted to deliver a product that allowed people to have fun, be creative and express themselves through makeup. “You know, when you get that right color, it puts a smile on your face. Even when no one's looking at you, you're just thrilled by it,” she says. “That's a beautiful gift to be able to give to someone.”
Lip Spectrum comes in five shades, ranging from a rosy mauve to a bright magenta. Each shade was meticulously created to be flattering on deeper skin. For example, the pale pink shade Not Just Pink offers a refreshing departure from the usual warm, sometimes orangey tones present on the market that don't flatter melanated skin. Instead, Khan chose to offer cooler pink tones to help compliment brown skin, making it one of Just B’s bestsellers.
This is no accident—Khan worked closely with her manufacturer for the most inclusive colors possible. The founder even created her own samples for colors that needed multiple rounds, like the pink shades Monday and Kashmiri Chai. “It really made a lot of sense to me that, wow, it's taking them a long time to get this… That's why it's not [already] on the market,” Khan said of the shades.
How to wear Lip Spectrum
“It's totally up to you to create what works for you,” says Khan, though she does have some professional suggestions. For a juicy finish using the Not Just Pink duo, the founder suggests applying Sundays, the matte fluid, as a stain first, and then adding Mondays, the glaze, as a finishing touch.
It may feel counter-intuitive, but you can also switch up the order in which you apply each shade. When using the Not Just Red duo, Khan likes to first swipe on Poison Apple as a buttery base, then lays the matte Ruby Slippers on top, starting from the center of the lips and moving outwards. This creates “a comfortable yet mattifying seal” to last all day long.
Whether you’re looking for a lipstick for everyday-wear or want to experiment with shades and textures, Just B offers a wide range of combinations to make each shade work for your skin tone or shine preference.
Neither formula dries your lips, but effectively stays on all day. Gone are the days of endlessly reapplying lipstick after each meal, drink, or just as the day goes on. Here, pigments are rich, yet comfortably stay on the lips, making you forget you have any lipstick on at all.
The full collection is available to shop online in the United States, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.