To gear up for our Summit21 Conference this year in Atlanta, 21Ninety has scored exclusive interviews with some of this year's participants.

Created out of a need for more diverse shades and less toxic ingredients in the beauty industry, RANGE Beauty was born, says founder Alicia Scott.

The brand is all about female empowerment, encouraging women to express themselves through makeup, while still allowing their real skin to shine through.

Read 21Ninety's exclusive interview below:

Photo: RANGE Beauty

21Ninety: Can you give us a little of your background? What inspired you to create RANGE Beauty products? What was the vision behind the name?

Alicia Scott: I grew up in love with the fashion industry — I knew I wanted to design clothes and be my own boss. Once in my senior year of high school, though, my vision changed, and I no longer wanted to create the clothes, I wanted to be a buyer for them. I went on to attend Virginia Tech for Fashion Merchandising and Design. After graduation, I moved to New York and found myself in the opposite job as an Account Executive for an Australian Fashion showroom, where I was selling the lines to buyers for stores such as Nordstrom, Barneys and Neiman Marcus.

While working in the fashion industry, I noticed a reoccurring pattern with models of color not having a wide variety of shades for their skin tone. At this same time, I also saw my sad cosmetic collection and how it was too lacking products for my skin tone. 

I would venture to drugstores hoping to come across a brand made with my sensitive skin, warm yellow undertone, and brown face in mind but always left empty-handed. I lived on a NY budget and couldn’t justify spending $30+ on a higher- end product that may have had slightly better shade variety but often contained the same skin irritating ingredients as the drugstore brands. I knew I wasn’t alone and needed to create a solution instead of waiting for these cosmetic giants to do it for us. 

The name RANGE Beauty came from wanting something that described my thought process for the brand accurately. I was creating clean beauty for the forgotten shades, so a range of skin types, shades, and people had access to a variety of products in a full spectrum of shades that are often missed.

Photo: RANGE Beauty

21N: How long have you been creating these makeup/beauty/skincare products?

AS: I first began my research and development in 2014. I was very particular about the manufacturer I wanted to use, and it took me some time to “date” them before I found my match. My first order was only $150 worth of ingredients to test out and play with which is crazy to think of but I’m grateful for that low MOQ (minimum order quantity)! I did a very soft launch of the company in May 2017 with only 16 shades at the time and no marketing. I underwent some rebranding and then fully relaunched August 2018.

Photo: RANGE Beauty

21N: What kind of work goes into the process of creating them? What ingredients are used?

AS: A lot of work went into understanding what ingredients shouldn’t be used and why. With having sensitive skin, I knew there were specific products that didn’t agree with my skin like anything that contained fragrance or talc. My face would break out and become irritated, which I just took as an allergic reaction. Once I went deeper into researching ingredients, I found out that they weren’t just skin irritants but also are linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and reproductive damage. 

Not only that but the products marketed explicitly towards the group with the most substantial buying power in the beauty industry, Black women, contain the highest levels of toxic chemicals. That’s what prompted me to want a clean beauty line and making sure our ingredients are deemed low hazardous as categorized by the EWG. 

For example, our True Intentions Hydrating Foundation contains French Clay, which is a natural oil absorber versus using talc. My favorite ingredients we use are antioxidants such as Green Tea and Vitamin E, which help protect the skin from environmental stress, reduce inflammation, and have anti-aging properties. I wanted a hybrid skincare/makeup line, so while you’re wearing our products, they are nourishing and protecting your skin as well. Some ingredients on our no list are parabens, talc, sulfates, synthetic dyes or fragrances.

Photo: RANGE Beauty

21N: Which ones were the most fun to create? Any customer favorites?

AS: Our True Intentions Bronzing Primer was fun to create and are also a customer favorite! I found a lot of primers on the market left a weird cast on my face or dulled my skin before foundation application. I created the primer with melanin in mind. It warms your skin tone and evens it out while hydrating your skin, leaving a natural glow. We can’t keep it in stock! I enjoy coming up with the names for shades too. That’s fun because I was overseeing mocha and espresso used to describe our skin color, and then the shade wouldn’t even match the name! I love how different our names are and I’ve had customers say thank you for paying attention to that detail.

21N: What do you think makes your business/platform unique over others like it?

AS: RANGE Beauty is unique because we are affordable, high-performance clean beauty for the forgotten shades. I’m able to draw from personal experience when creating products and when interacting with our customers or soon to be customers. I genuinely want to educate people of color that we have to do better about what goes on our skin while providing an alternative at an accessible price point because natural should not be a luxury, it’s a necessity.

Photo: RANGE Beauty

21N: What do you hope to gain from Summit21 this year?

AS: I’m excited about the whole event! It’s my first time attending and I’m so looking forward to being surrounded by the beautiful and powerful energy from all the speakers and attendees. To be in a positive space created and centered around women of color creators and entrepreneurs is rewarding in itself.

21N: Is there anything you wish to teach/inform the Summit 21 audience about?

AS: I cannot stress the importance of checking ingredients on beauty products enough. My primary mission is to bring more awareness to the health risks toxic chemicals cause in people of color specifically. Beauty products tend to be used daily, and our skin is our largest organ, so we have to treat it as best we can.

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