Uoma Beauty debuted in 2019 and took the makeup world by storm. The brand's inclusive imagery, incredibly diverse shade ranges, and dynamic founder Sharon Chuter immediately captured everyone's attention. Over the last three years, Uoma Beauty has gone on to win several awards (the brand's Drama Bomb Mascara won a Byrdie Beauty Award in 2021) and continues to find innovative ways to celebrate Black beauty (think: the Coming 2 America collab).
As the brand continues to grow, its staple product, the Say What?! Foundation has remained a best-seller. Though, as Uoma Beauty evolves, so do its products. The brand recently relaunched its Say What?! Foundation with a completely new formula. However, for Chuter, the relaunch is more than just updated ingredients and fresh packaging (although the sleek bottle and vibrant caps are pretty chic). "We focus on two things," Chuter says. "First, the quality, and [second], trying to do something brand new."
The Say What?! Foundation's 51 shades are organized into six "Skin-Kin" groups (you can find yours via the brand's 30-second quiz) that were developed based on the Fitzpatrick scale—Black Pearl, Brown Sugar, Bronze Venus, Honey Honey, Fair Lady, and White Pearl. Incorporating the Fitzpatrick Scale—which is used to classify skin types based on pigmentation levels—is a testament to Chuter's commitment to understanding her consumers' needs.
"For me, it started with the needs," Chuter says. "I started realizing that every skin color has a different need for their foundation because it is a skin product at its core. We tested it on a group of 300 diverse people to make sure the shades matched. We also tested for feedback around the performance and coverage. We know the performance we want, but it's always consistent work because the science evolves constantly."
The 2.0 version of the formula offers skincare and makeup benefits. The new formula is lightweight, hydrating, and fragrance-free. "We had to take out fragrance from the formula," Chuter says. "For our brand, if it doesn't work for one person, then it doesn't work for us all."
While the foundation has always been vegan and cruelty-free, selecting a refreshed lineup of ingredients was also important. The brand tapped different powerhouse ingredients for each "Skin-Kin" group—like tomato extract (found in the Black Pearl range) to shield the skin against UV-induced erythema and rose extract (found in the Honey Honey range) to help retain elasticity in the skin.
In addition to refining the ingredients, Chuter and her team made tweaks to the foundation colors. "The next thing we did was make some shade adjustments with the darker shades—we got a lot of feedback saying they were finding it too red," Chuter explains. "Now, it applies correctly on the first application, and we color corrected the shades."
While Chuter is excited about the foundation relaunch, continuing to make an impact beyond the shelves is always at the forefront of her mind. She introduced one of her most powerful initiatives in 2020, Pull Up For Change. Her non-profit organization aims to advance the economic well-being of the Black community and implores brands to be transparent about diversity within their staff. Chuter also runs Make It Black, a campaign that collaborates with buzzy beauty brands to transform their best-selling items with all-black packaging. Proceeds are then donated to the Pull Up For Change Impact Fund and distributed to Black founders.
Chuter's work to amplify diversity in beauty has made people of color feel seen in an industry that has historically neglected them. Her intentional moves are helping create a more inclusive future for every beauty lover. As Chuter puts it: "For us, people come first, and the products are a souvenir of that experience."