It’s no secret that the world of beauty is becoming more inclusive, however even with 40+ shades of foundation people with olive skin tones are still struggling to find their perfect match. In steps in biochemist Farah Naz. Struggling to find an affordable foundation with the right tone herself, she set about developing her own line. The formula featuring yellow and gold pigments was an instant success. Loved by celebrities from Adele to Britney Spears and makeup lovers alike, the line has finally landed in the Middle East thanks to Boutiqaat. We speak to the founder about her secrets to success.
How did you become a biochemist?
I trained at the Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine.
How did you come up with the concept for EX1 Cosmetics?
I was on the quest for the perfect foundation and couldn’t understand why despite shade extensions, foundations were always too pink or orange for my olive skin. Research confirmed it wasn’t just me, and that 78% of women are unhappy with their current foundation. In search of answers, I traveled to the home of color cosmetics: Italy. I visited every lab in the region and what I discovered was alarming. Brands have been using the same orange and pink pigments for years, blending them from light to dark. Being a biochemist prompted me to innovate and I decided to create a completely unique blend of yellow/golden pigments which are designed to be like skin-on-skin.
How long did it take to perfect the formula?
It took two years of blood, sweat, and R&D (research and development), testing the products on thousands of women until I finally felt the formula was “the one.”
Why is inclusivity in beauty so important?
Every woman has the right to self-esteem. While the industry has the right intentions with inclusivity, at a scientific level you can have a range of a hundred foundations and never get a perfect foundation match if the pigment base is wrong and it doesn’t match your skin’s undertones.
What has been your biggest obstacle to date?
In the past, we’ve faced huge challenges in meeting production schedules. When Adele, Britney Spears or Cardi B are seen wearing your products, keeping up with demand just isn’t possible.
What has been your biggest success?
We’ve had some amazing moments, being nominated for a slew of awards including Best New Brand by British Vogue and our list of Hollywood A-list and supermodel fans is now off the scale. Without a doubt though, the biggest success will always be the touching emails we get from everyday women who write to tell us that their foundation search is finally over thanks to EX1, or how they are so glad they found us in time for their wedding day. I love making life a little more beautiful for other people.
What advice would you give to a beauty entrepreneur?
Have an unwavering belief in yourself and your vision. Believing comes before seeing.
What is next for EX1 Cosmetics?
Watch this space for new products! My philosophy has always been to take an old problem, add a big idea and some great technology, and watch the magic of innovation unfold.