According to a 2007 article in Hispanic Business Magazine, it was predicted that by the year 2050, one quarter of women in the US would be Hispanic. And with their economic power and numbers on the rise, Latinas represent a very lucrative market for the beauty business. Beauty companies began taking note of a rise in spending on personal care products by Latinas during 2000-2009. Latina women spend three times more on beauty and cosmetics per month than non-Latinas, according to Lili Gil Hispanic marketing expert for Huffington Post/Latino Voices.
While major cosmetic companies devised plans to pursue this market, independent niche beauty lines started to be developed. Maria B Cosmetics was created by Latina entrepreneurs Mina Trujillo and Esther Nunez and launched in Los Angeles in 2003, with 30 shades of lipstick as well as multifunctional makeup products. In August of 2004, Zalia Cosmetics was introduced to the market by Monica Ramirez, a first generation American of Peruvian descent. She had been a beauty contestant winner and later became a professional makeup artist. Like many women of color and makeup artists, she became frustrated by having to use products that didn’t flatter Latina skin tones on herself or her clientele. Also in 2004, Gabriela Hernandez from Buenos Aires, used her art & design background and inspiration from her glamorous grandmother to launch Besame Cosmetics. With product presented in 1940s-inspired makeup designs, the line wasn’t particularly aimed at any ethnic market, but the deeper lipsticks colors attracted a strong Latina following.
In 2007, makeup artist Suzi Picaso created Suzi Q Cosmetics. Picaso also had a difficult time finding products that worked on the skin tones of her clients. Her independent line was picked up by a few Wal-Mart locations in California, but it seems that a lack of sales, mostly due to a lack of advertisement and exposure (very little advertisement dollars go to Hispanic and other ethnic markets) those lines weren’t able to flourish.
During this period, Venezuelan Model/actress Patricia Velasquez (Anck-Su-Namun in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns) was supposed to go into collaboration with a company to create a cosmetic line called Calma, which didn’t get off the ground (the potential investor was involved in a lawsuit two years later for investment scams). Velasquez currently has interesting hair care line called Taya Beauty that utilizes ingredients from the rain forest and is sold on HSN.
Several mainstream beauty companies started courting the Hispanic market with more shades and products for Latina women. Avon used Mexican actress Salma Hayek and Cuban American actress Eva Mendes in campaigns, while L’Oreal hired Mexican actress Eva Longoria and Spanish actress Penelope Cruz as brand ambassadors.
Nuance Salma Hayek
For Nuance, her beauty line sold exclusively at CVS/pharmacy and CVS.com, actress Salma Hayek wanted to utilize family beauty secrets like an exotic ingredient called tepezaohuite from a tree in southern Mexico and northeastern Brazil. Nuance was launched with skin care products and now has introduced makeup products, including Flawless Coverage Mineral Foundation and Flawless Finish Liquid Foundation, as well as nail lacquer.
Motives For La La
Actress/TV personality La La Vazquez-Anthony (star of VH-1’s reality show La La’s Full Court Life, which follows her life with husband Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks), teamed up with makeup artist Loren Ridinger, (creator of Motives) to create Motives For La La, a line of makeup to meet the needs of women with darker skin tones. The line includes foundations, eye shadows, lipstick and glosses, blush, and more.
It will take more than just identifying and marketing a product as being specifically for Latinas or putting a Latina face on a brand to attract this lucrative market. Latinas are brand loyal and those brands have to be of quality as well as be functional. But now that more companies are using Latina celebrities for advertising campaigns, perhaps there will be a rise in more lines for and perhaps by Latinas, this time with more investment dollars behind them.