Monika Deol is intent on expanding the makeup market for medium skin tones.
The Canadian television personality is set to launch Stellar, the makeup line she founded, at Sephora in the U.S. and Canada next week. Stellar is aimed at serving women of all skin types, with a special emphasis on those whose tones fall between light and dark. Deol’s hero product is the Stellar Limitless foundation, designed to cover the skin tone spectrum in just 22 shades.
For Deol, who is of Indian heritage, the matter is personal.
“There aren’t many brands addressing medium skin tones in an informed, authentic way,” Deol said. “We’re still being told, ‘If you buy both these shades and mix them every day you’ll get your color, or mix this shade with that color correcting powder.’”
According to Deol, medium skin tones are an underserved consumer group when it comes to makeup. “Medium skin tones are two-thirds of the world’s population — covering East and West Indian [women], Latinas and Hispanic women, Afro and Afro-American light to medium women, Filipinos, Chinese and Middle Eastern women.”
A Sephora shopper herself, Deol found through her own observations that prestige brands “did a really good job” of building out shade ranges for light and dark skin, but there was a lack of options in the medium category.
You May Also Like
Deol noted that the need is greater now more than ever for more inclusive ranges of makeup, as more women who fall in the medium skin tone range take a vested interested in prestige makeup. “Twenty years ago my mom only bought Revlon and Maybelline…she wasn’t interested in expensive makeup, and culturally, nice Indian girls didn’t even wear makeup.”
But as makeup accelerates in the beauty industry and social media offers women everywhere access to YouTube tutorials and product reviews, there is more interest than ever. “We’re a financially and culturally emerging demographic,” Deol said.
Stellar will launch in 29 Sephora doors next week, all high-traffic locations in major markets, including four doors in Canada — Toronto and Vancouver — as well as Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Las Vegas, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., Boston and San Juan. The products are available for purchase now online at sephora.com.
Though foundation is Stellar’s star product, Deol included other items in the line, products she calls “the essentials for a polished look.” The idea with each item, from lipsticks to blush, is that they are designed to work on all skin tones.
“When you’re a medium-skin-toned person, you have pigment in your lips and especially with nudes and pinks, you’ll swatch this awesome shade in store and think, ‘Oh this shade is gorgeous, I have to buy it,’ and you’ll try it on at home and go, ‘Wow — how did I turn into Malibu Barbie?” Deol said. “Our lipsticks are formulated to be high pigment and true to color.”
In pricing the line, Deol aimed to keep costs affordable, in line with her inclusive strategy. “I love Tom Ford lipsticks, but my daughters won’t buy them, they’re too expensive,” Deol said. She designed Stellar to be an affordable luxury. “I am passionate about really good makeup. Our payoff is like a top-tier brand.” Foundation is retailed for $38, concealer, $27; face powders, $30; mascaras, $22, and blush is $25.
Deol is relying on a grassroots effort to market Stellar, beginning with influencer outreach, though she maintains she does not want to go into paid promotion. “I don’t believe in paying people. If I know you are paid to say a product is amazing, I don’t believe you.”
Deol herself is a public face of the brand — she is planning on putting in time at each Sephora store, training sales associates herself. “I was at the Robson [Vancouver] store for 10 hours yesterday,” she said. “It’s really important that the cast at Sephora understands the products and DNA of the brand.”
Deol is already working on spring and fall launches, which include contour kits and eye shadow palettes, and the more ambitious challenge of expanding her shade range to 50, rounding out her offering for light skin tones. “What I’m learning from being in stores is that people with super fair skin have issues finding the right shades,” Deol said. “I would love to have 50 shades of foundation that cover the spectrum really well.”