Premium Beauty News - When you speak of Be+Radiance, you prefer using the term healthy make-up rather than clean make-up.
Aïmara Coupet - Clean to me doesn’t mean much. It’s simply about choosing ingredients that are healthy for the environment and people. The same goes for organic and natural, many things in naturalness can harm the skin.
We also hear a lot about skincare make-up, but what is it really? Silicone-based products, a petrochemical mineral oil, to which a few drops of hyaluronic acid and a couple of good ingredients have been added. It doesn’t respect the skin and provides no benefits, on the contrary. It’s only marketing, and it misleads consumers.
Healthy make-up means that it is really good for the skin and does not offset the effects of our beauty routine. It should be part of it and not just a cosmetic cover-up. This is tomorrow’s make-up and this is the process Be+Radiance is part of.
Premium Beauty News - More and more probiotic-based skincare products are appearing on store shelves. You have integrated them into your make-up formulas. How did you become aware of their potential?
Aïmara Coupet - In 2018, during a Premium Beauty News Day, I met a doctor in biology who was presenting his work on probiotic encapsulations and their benefits to the skin. His goal was to maintain the probiotic bacteria alive. These encapsulations were very complicated to integrate into cosmetics, but not impossible in make-up products. My foundation was not on the market yet but I was already thinking of developing powder blushes and illuminators. This is how we ended up formulating them with probiotic encapsulations. Our face oil also contains them and users are delighted with them.
Studying microbiota is fascinating. We realise how important it is to not impair its balance. However, we do this daily by using active ingredients such as retinol, for example, which are ultra-aggressive and have a disturbing effect rather than a healing effect.
Premium Beauty News - You are particularly committed to inclusive beauty. Why is that?
Aïmara Coupet - My mother is from Martinique and has black skin. Throughout my childhood, she never managed to find lipsticks or foundations suited to her skin tone on the stands of leading luxury brands. So I was faced with this issue from an early age, but it was only when I came to Black Up that I realised how much of a problem to women it was.
Darker skins have completely different skincare and make-up needs, but this difference is not acknowledged and the market wants to stick to a one size fits all approach. Let’s take the example of silicone: if lighter skins may benefit from the occlusion effect they provide, this is less true for melanin-rich skins. I also have in mind sunscreens and nacres that tend to make darker skins look grey. Shadows and highlights are not worked in the same way because curves and reliefs are different. The same is true for the lips.
Premium Beauty News - With Fenty or Huda Beauty, it seems that progress has been made on the subject of inclusion?
Aïmara Coupet - In my opinion, there is clearly a before and after Fenty. There were already a lot of foundation shades available from MAC, Estée Lauder, Clinique or Lancôme. But Rihanna has really revolutionised things by thinking equitably about the needs of all women. This is the first time that a launch was done with a range built in a rainbow and not shade extension. The same goes for textures, which were also designed for both matte and dark skins. Rihanna adopted an inclusive approach from the start and that is what makes her brand so successful. Huda Kattan undertook a similar process with Middle Eastern women.
Premium Beauty News - Today, a lot of brands advertise ranges of 30, 40 or 50 foundation shades. Is this the inclusion you’ve been hoping for?
Aïmara Coupet - In the wake of Fenty, all the brands wanted to offer ranges of 50 shades or more. But that’s not the point.
Today, we need to have a real understanding of the differences in the structure and needs of the skin. That’s inclusion and that’s my vision for the future. The day when we will come up with ranges that are thought through to the end to take into account the specificities of all skins, then we will be inclusive.
It’s complicated to get people’s attention on the topics surrounding diversity and inclusivity. In all development teams, non-Caucasian skins are under-represented. We are far too Caucasian-centred. Very little has been invested in understanding the needs of melanin-rich skins. Dark skin is an extraordinary medium, you can do magnificent things... as long as you have the knowledge and the will to do so.
Premium Beauty News - Your cucumber water foundation only comes in 17 shades?
Aïmara Coupet - What is important to me is equity. My rainbow is quite proportionate. There are ranges with more shades than mine, but less choice for coloured skins. It’s not logical. Besides, finding one’s shade is a debatable notion in make-up. You don’t look for a product that matches your skin tone, but rather the right shade to correct your flaws and make your skin look even without it looking too flashy. We don’t want to conceal our skin, we want something that will unify, correct, give radiance and blend well.
Premium Beauty News - What are the prospects for Be+Radiance?
Aïmara Coupet - A seed fundraising in 2020 allowed us to launch the powders and the probiotic oil, and also to beef up our teams, especially in R&D. After two years, our concept has been validated but we need the means to go further. We have been working for a few months on a new seed survey to expand our range and distribution, particularly to enter the North American market.