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Max Factor Focuses on ‘Universality’ With Priyanka Chopra Jonas Color Collection

The colors in the new, limited-edition collection are meant to work on a wide variety of people, with formulations that draw on Coty’s extensive database of skin tones from around the world.  

LONDON — It’s a small world for Max Factor, which is focusing on people’s similarities — rather than their differences — with a new, limited-edition capsule of color cosmetics created with brand ambassador Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

The collection features lipstick, an eye palette and nail polish, the latter of which is made from a breathable, plant-based formula. The colors are saturated, rich and meant to work on a wide variety of people. The formulations are derived from parent company Coty’s detailed research and a database of tens of thousands of skin tones.

The Priyanka Universal Colour Collection launched in the U.K. earlier in January, and will roll out in Europe in the next months. In an interview, Stefano Curti, chief brands officer, consumer beauty at Coty Inc., said “inclusivity” lies at the heart of the new capsule, which took more than a year to research and develop.

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Curti added that the collaboration with Chopra Jonas, and the focus on cosmetics with universal appeal, is part of Max Factor’s ambition to raise its profile in the color arena. The brand is best known for foundation.

During an interview at The Ned in London, Curti noted that Mr. Max Factor, the company’s founder, made a name creating signature looks for Hollywood stars such as Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford and Lucille Ball, but “he always had the vision that every woman should have access to beauty. He wanted to give them tools to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.”

Chopra Jonas, an actress, producer, philanthropist and investor who became a Max Factor ambassador in 2021, was intimately involved in developing the new range. She decided on such details as the size of the typeface on the packaging, and came up with names for the products.

In a separate interview, she said the new collection may be small, but it packs a punch. “It’s universal, genderless, ageless and complementary to every skin tone,” Chopra Jonas said.

She appears in the campaign alongside four other models, and in one of the images they’re all wearing the same lipstick.

“It’s a collection that brings people together. Every color works on every skin tone, although they’ll look different on you then they will on me,” she said, adding that eye shadows can be applied with a light touch or layered, depending on the color of one’s skin or the intensity of the look.

Chopra Jonas also wanted the names of the products to evoke “feelings” rather than specific colors, so she called the lipsticks Wild Flamingo, Cool Copper and Café Latte.

In the past, she recalls looking at “nude” lipsticks and thinking “that’s not nude for me. It was a struggle,” she said, to discover the shades that worked for her.

This is Chopra Jonas’ first foray into makeup, and she said she’s hungry for more. “I wanted to add in blush, and makeup tools, too, but we had to keep it small, and stay focused on the universality” of the offer.

She and Curti said there will be more to come, and every move that Max Factor makes will be done in the name of inclusivity. “It is central to who we are,” Curti said.

The tilt toward diversity and inclusivity is paying dividends.

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The company said that in the first quarter of fiscal 2023, Coty’s Consumer Beauty division recorded its 10th consecutive month of share gains globally, and outperformed the market, with Max Factor and Rimmel among the highest achievers.

In the first three months, revenues in the Consumer Beauty division reached $526.6 million, generating 38 percent of Coty sales. The division grew 12 percent on a like-for-like basis. In fiscal 2022, Curti said that Max Factor grew in the strong double digits, well ahead of the global mass color cosmetics category.