Enialē Cosmetics founder Linda Elaine spoke to us about the beauty industry's lack of inclusivity
The announcement of Fenty Beauty’s 40 shade foundation range set the internet ablaze, and rightfully so. While Rihanna’s multi-use Match Stix, Killawatt highlighters, and sheer-but-not-too-sheer Fenty Glow Bomb lip gloss deserve its newly acquired fandom, it was surely Fenty Beauty’s expansive Pro Filt’r shade range that earned RiRi a place beside (or above, depending on how you look at it) beauty’s biggest giants.
Fenty Beauty came out of the gate with shades on shades on shades, giving a jolt to the industry as blinding as a Trophy Wife highlight. And she made it look easy. No BS about the darkest shade needing to sell out before she could add deeper colors here. Rihanna promised the “Fenty Face” would work for everyone and she delivered.
Why is it so hard for established brands to recognize the importance of something our girl RiRi set as priority uno? Something that indie brands like A.P.D.G. have always done flawlessly. When a 100-year-old brand finally decides to add a few caramels and browns to their lineups, do they even deserve the patronage of WOC at that point? How much praise do beauty brands deserve for doing what they should have done a long time ago? For what they are supposed to do?
To continue the conversation about beauty brands being more inclusive, we chatted with Enialē Cosmetics founder and beauty vlogger Linda Elaine about her new beauty line and why Fenty Beauty is merely a drop in the bucket compared to what women of color are due.
HelloGiggles: The beauty world is abuzz with all things Fenty Beauty. How does that resonate with you as a beauty vlogger?
Linda Elaine: To be honest, I am absolutely happy and excited for Rihanna and her collection! I was just as happy and eager to try it when I heard about its release. As a beauty vlogger, staying current with the newest beauty launches is important but it’s nothing as amazing as being hype to try something you’ve been waiting patiently for!
HG: It seems like established brands seek praise for expanding shade ranges or becoming more inclusive, would you agree? Do the big name brands who have only recently started catering to women of color deserve our support?
LE: I feel when the major companies start releasing one or two deep shades they want this huge hype for it; when really there are still so many shades that are being missed! In my opinion, it’s hard to say if we should not support at all, but I do think that we should be careful who’s bandwagon we jump on. The moment they do start to expand their color selection.
For decades, women of color have been left out when it comes to high-end and drugstore products and I think it’s unfair of mass beauty corps to try and bank on women of color all of a sudden. The opportunity for these major corps has been there, so it’s a slight slap on the hand for those now trying to expand shades when they’ve been out for years or decades!
HG: You recently launched Enialē, an inclusive beauty brand of your own. What inspired you to take the leap from vlogger to entrepreneur?
LE: I am super ecstatic about Enialē! I got sick of thinking, “Wow I wish that this cosmetic line had this or that” when I had the knowledge and passion to start my own line. One of my biggest things when it comes to makeup is loving your actual features and simply using makeup to enhance them.
One of the things I struggled with most when doing nude lips was finding the perfect nude shades that complimented my skin. I felt like big brands were constantly dropping nude shades, but they were only for a certain shade range that did not include my complexion. I got sick of mixing two and three lipsticks to get the color I desired, so finding nude shades for women of color was a huge driving factor. My collection features three nude shades fit for an array of complexions. My goal is to let everyone feel included in the beauty world! We all should be able to find colors and shades that complement our skin tones.
HG: What made you choose these specific shades as part of your first launch?
LE: So, my three nude shades: Elaine, TiffanyLee, and Cinnamon were chosen so that people from a huge palette of complexions could rock a classic nude. Whether they dress it up or down, I wanted everyone to have that perfect nude without it looking ashy or just not fit for them. As for my bolder colors, I feel that everyone who loves makeup should have a bold red. Red to me screams independence and confidence and CherryLee embodies that completely. CherryLee has the perfect undertone to compliment a mass of skin tones and that’s what makes me super stoked about it!
Alexandria is a smoky purple and I’ve always had a hidden love for purple lipstick but what makes this shade different is that it has this mysterious factor but it’s also still classy. Lastly, Teresa is my pretty in pink color; one of my favorite colors is pink so I knew that I wanted to have a pink that could be approved for day or night, classy or sexy. I feel the six shades are a mix and someone can find at least one shade if not all that tickles their fancy.
HG: The colors are absolutely gorgeous and designed to suit a variety of skin tones. Why is this so important right now?
LE: It’s so important because for too long so many people of color have been left out of the beauty world. I find it shocking that in the year of 2017 women and men of color find it so hard to find their matching shades or shades to complement their complexion. I definitely have to mix at least two foundations to get the perfect color and that’s absolutely annoying. It’s such a huge motivator for my line to make sure people like me don’t have to bend over backward and spend more money in order to find the right shades. I definitely want everyone to feel beautiful and included.
HG: Some people don’t seem to get that even with big name brands adding shades and brands like Fenty that are inclusive at its core, there’s still a need for more brown-skin friendly makeup.
LE: I definitely think there’s a huge need. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of formulations of makeup that I absolutely love but their undertones are just wrong. Yes, you can add two, three, or four new shades for women of color but if they’re too orange or too muddy then it just doesn’t work. The effort is there but it’s just not fully thought out. I believe being a woman of color, I can understand the undertone struggle just a bit more. I’m the girl who can’t even be properly matched by Sephora’s color match system, I’m also the girl who has a strong yellow undertone but can only find orange undertone foundations for my complexion. I am also the girl who could not find a nude lipstick for years until Enialē.
HG: Back to your brand, Enialē. How does your experience as a vlogger help you as the creator of this new cosmetics brand?
LE: Being a vlogger has helped me a ton with my own line just because I’ve tried and reviewed so many lines, it’s insane. I know exactly what I want for my own and what I don’t through trial and error of other lines. It’s almost as though trying the other brands was a test run for my own. How can I make something even better and what is it that I feel I lack in my makeup bag.
HG: What’s next for Enialē? Can you give us a hint as to the next release?
LE: I am beyond thrilled to share my next release. When I started Enialē, I said I’d release things in the order of things that I love most. So lipsticks were first. At this moment, I am working on the eyelash collection. I think that eyelashes completely change a face. You can go from natural to dramatic quick. So my obsession for lashes has to be mastered for the next collection.
HG: Lastly, any advice for aspiring YouTubers or anyone who’d like to create their own cosmetic line?
LE: I’d say to first follow your passion and follow your wants and needs. Don’t let anyone deter you from doing what you want. If you have a product, stand by it, and make people see why it’s something you’re so passionate about and how they can fall in love too. The sky is truly the limit.