In 2014, L’Oréal Paris opened the Women of Color Lab in Clark, New Jersey to create cosmetic products for women of color. Chemist Balanda Atis, who created foundation for Lupita Nyong’o's Lancôme campaign, now heads the lab.
Atis, who grew up in a Haitian community in East Orange, New Jersey, joined L’Oréal in 1999 as a researcher and gained patents for products she created in the mascara lab.
Despite L’Oréal's attempts to cater to women of color throughout the years, Atis found the new formulations to be too pale for darker women. In 2006 Atis began to work on creating foundations for women of color as a side project. Once she presented her research to L’Oréal she began to work full-time on this project and created more than 30 new shades for women of color across L’Oréal’s brands.
You can read the entire interview here.
Photo: Benedict Evans