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Be true to you: Mented Cosmetics redefines 'nude' with makeup for all complexions

 K,J, Miller (CEO) and Amanda E. Johnson (COO), founders of Mented Cosmetics. (Photo: Mented)
Show your inner glow, with a little help from K.J. Miller (CEO) and Amanda E. Johnson (COO), founders of Mented Cosmetics. (Photo: Mented)

Have you ever looked for the perfect nude lipstick? Amanda E. Johnson had been searching for three years when she finally vented her frustration to K.J. Miller, a friend and fellow Harvard Business School graduate. Zeroing in on the right neutral is a notoriously tricky task — but for Johnson and Miller, both Black women, "nude" meant something different than the makeup shades typically marketed to Caucasian customers.

“That was an ‘aha’ moment for both of us,” Miller told Yahoo Life. “We realized the opportunity was much bigger than just lipstick. Ultimately neither of us felt that there was a premium brand really speaking to our beauty needs as women of color.”

The pair’s business proposition seems simple: Every woman should be able to see herself in the world of beauty, no matter her skin tone. Yet Black women have been woefully underserved by the cosmetics industry, despite the fact that more Black, Hispanic and Asian women buy cosmetics than white women do. Johnson and Miller realized that if they wanted the industry to address women of color, they had to take matters into their own hands.

Mented foundation
Skin by Mented foundation in shade M40 is K.J. Miller's go-to. (Photo: Mented/Getty)

Meeting the beauty needs of all

That’s how Mented was born. Short for ‘pigmented,’ the cosmetics brand includes everything from eyeshadow and blush to foundation and setting powder — and lipstick, of course — for skin tones in various shades of tan, brown, red and pink. There’s certainly no shortage of shades in the quest for your perfect match, either. Skin by Mented foundation stick, for example, is available in 10 shades — many are in medium and dark browns with various undertones, such as warm, cool and even red. It comes with a brush, too, for $40 (would be $45, sold separately).

Those who know, know. And they are grateful. As one five-star reviewer wrote: "...It really does feel light on your face, yet has full coverage. I have hyper-pigmentation on my cheek and under my right eye. I feel like I don't need an extra concealer for this....Thanks for producing quality make up for people of color."

This buildable foundation comes with a brush for effortless blending.
$40 at HSN

The founders are so passionate about making sure each and every customer identifies the most precise shade that they’ve developed a 60-second online quiz to steer you in the right direction. If that’s not enough, you can always use the Shade Comparison Guide, which compares Mented shades to those by other leading cosmetics lines that cater to women of color, such as Fenty and NARS.

In fact, Mented’s inclusive mission was originally created for women of color, but the business has grown to serve anyone who wears makeup. “We’ve evolved beyond ‘women’ to really all people searching for a makeup line that celebrates and prioritizes diversity,” Miller explained.

Three tubes of lip gloss
A lip gloss trio. (Photo: HSN)

Make no mistake, though: Mented owns a very specific niche in the beauty category. If you’re looking for lipstick in a funky color or jewel-toned eyeshadow to make your peepers pop, you’ve come to the wrong place. “Our focus on nudes and neutrals for a broad range of skin tones is what truly sets us apart," Miller told Yahoo Life.

The brand is determined to be the go-to for women of color looking for makeup that blends — without having to physically blend shades to get there.

Ethically made, expertly formulated

Mented products aren’t just genius, they’re also kind and gentle. All Mented cosmetics are cruelty-free, vegan, paraben-free and nontoxic. So you can feel good about investing in a line of neutrals that will become the foundation of your makeup routine...quite literally.

Don’t be surprised if Mented cosmetics become an addiction, too. Miller and Johnson may be Mented’s founders, but they’re also two of the brand’s biggest fans. They truly get it.

“I cannot live without our High Brow pencil in Brow Down, our Send Nudes gloss and Skin by Mented foundation in shade M40,” Miller told Yahoo Life. Everyone will find their own favorites.

Mented lipstick
Johnson couldn't find her perfect nude lipstick shade, so she created it. (Photo: Mented/Getty)

One HSN shopper said of the three-piece lip set: "This is a fantastic lipstick. Love the colors on me and the creaminess. When I put it on it feels like it's treating my lips. It's truly a lipstick balm that makes your lips feel soft and beautiful. So far, I have been very satisfied with all of Mented products. Would highly recommend."

For Johnson, the search for the perfect nude lipstick is over; she’s developed it herself. The COO said the shades are a “unique blend of brown and pink to enhance your multi-hued lips.” Try one of Mented's deeper shades for $16.50 or buy a three-pack neutrals for $36 at HSN.

Long-lasting, lightweight and moisturizing neutral color for your pout.
$36 at HSN

Want to draw attention to your cheekbones or brows? The Mented Skin Silk Loose Setting Powder is there for you. Just set it and forget it. You'll get a gorgeous glow from this four-shade palette and an angled applicator brush to boot!

"I like my look to be natural," shares one shopper. "These colors are GREAT for that, but are also versatile and buildable to create a more dramatic look if I'm in the mood."

"I like my look to be natural. These colors are GREAT for that, but are also versatile and buildable to create a more dramatic look if Im in the mood," says one shopper.
$30 at HSN

Go ahead and browse Mented cosmetics at HSN to find your own truest shades. Oh, and if you don't want to pay all in one go, HSN will allow you to pay in installments instead. Plus, first-time HSN shoppers can grab an extra $20 off their purchase of $40 or more with code HSN2022.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.