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Makeup Artist Renée Loiz Is Diversifying the Beauty Industry, One Makeup Cabinet At a Time

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If there’s anything that Renée Loiz has learned in her twenty plus years of makeup artistry, it’s that beauty has an impact. Quite literally, she’s touched countless people as a celebrity makeup artist preparing Los Angeles’s young A-listers for the red carpet, but more recently, her reach has expanded further than her brush could alone.

Amongst the angst and discomfort of the racial reckoning of 2020, Renée was compelled to do her part to increase visibility and access for Black-owned brands and creators. The result was Color May Vary, the most comprehensive Black-owned beauty guide to date with a mission to celebrate and highlight those that are often overlooked. What began as a fun research project fueled by a selfless desire to give back to her community is now a list of over 840 (and counting!) quality brands founded by people of color. In short, Color May Vary acts as a bridge between consumer, Black-owned beauty brands, and the beauty industry at large.

It’s important for us all to take a step back and ask ourselves, “How diverse is my beauty cabinet?” It’s likely that it could use an upgrade, and Renée Loiz is here to help.

Becoming a Makeup Artist

Renée’s ability to see the beauty in every shade is innate to her identity as the biracial daughter of a Black woman and a white man. She grew up in a small town in Wisconsin, and her pursuit of a fashion degree led her to a design school in Atlanta, where she ultimately found herself working as a makeup artist for MAC Cosmetics. There, she advocated for women of deep skin tones to embrace their color and fell in love with helping people of diverse complexions find their perfect foundation match. Her work in various communities across the country before landing in Los Angeles afforded her the opportunity to work with all ethnicities and shades, a skill that still serves her well to this day.

In order to go from store makeup artist to a freelance makeup artist working for advertisements and celebrities, Renée had to bet on herself. Her first piece of advice for aspiring MUAs? Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. “You just have to dive into it and take a leap of faith. It might be slow at first, but be persistent and keep going until you build your clientele.” Renée got her first national break by cold-emailing photographers and art directors to introduce herself and inquire about working with them. As she gained experience within the industry, her gift of being great with kids set her apart from the pack and ultimately established her as one of the premier celebrity makeup artists for young Hollywood.

To aspiring makeup artists, Renée also advises, “Never stop learning. There are so many classes out there from wedding to editorial and special effects—take them all. Learn how to do every skin color, and do research on where you want your career to go. Once you’ve decided on your lane, find mentors to work under to establish yourself in that particular industry.”

She also suggests, “Don’t be afraid to ask for advice. As a new artist, no one expects you to know everything, so don’t pretend to. Be confident, but it’s okay to admit that you need to learn. Even as a veteran, I always continue to learn so much from other artists and the younger generation. And to other vets, you should always be willing to learn and grow from those that come after you.”

The Birth of Color May Vary

When the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement put the beauty industry on pause, Renée found herself with more time than ever to focus on building her blog through product reviews and recommendations. Though this is work that she enjoys, she knew that she wanted to have a greater impact on her community. Her curiosity and love for research led her to explore Black-owned brands beyond the popular top five that she carried in her makeup kit. The result was a well-received list of about 400 brands that she shared with her Instagram following to overwhelming support. Soon, feedback to include more brands started piling in, and she knew that the guide that she was creating needed a platform of its own.

Renée and her husband Ben settled on the name Color May Vary to represent the diversity of beauty. The font came from Vocal Type, a young Black typographer that creates fonts that are a nod to old civil rights posters. And the blocks of color were inspired by the designs of the Gee’s Bend quilting collective, a small group of Black women in rural Alabama who have made history for their signature quilts. Every aspect of the brand was created with intention to pay homage to Black artistry. Now, with over 840 brands and counting, Renée’s work is able to highlight Black-owned makeup, skincare, body, hair care, wellness, nails, men’s grooming, and fragrance.

Finally, there’s a one-stop-shop to celebrate and amplify Black-owned brands that deserve representation. She also uses her platform to educate the public about Black beauty history by highlighting the movers and shakers whose stories have been left out of the mainstream narrative. While sharing Black stories has been quite the trend as of late, Renée has made it clear that she’s only getting started. This work is meant to introduce Black-owned brands to people of all backgrounds with the understanding that these products can have a broad and lasting appeal.

What’s Next for Color May Vary?

Renée is still practicing the makeup artistry that she is so well known for, but Color May Vary is beginning to take on a life on its own. It’s given her the platform and visibility to share her expertise with the masses, including a BIPOC makeup class that teaches artists of all backgrounds how to work with skin tones of diverse shades. Today, you can shop from the curated spotlights section, which features hand-selected product recommendations to add to your beauty routine, but the brand isn’t stopping there. You can expect to see makeup bags and other product collaborations coming soon to the Color May Vary store, and virtual wellness and beauty events coming in 2021.

Color May Vary has a vision to not only be a resource for the consumer looking to diversify their beauty routines with new products, but it will also act as a tool for business owners and artists to take their brands to the next level through education and brand development. Renée’s hope for the future of the beauty industry is to see more people of color behind the scenes on film and commercial sets, and more Black-owned brands featured in publications and retailers—not just out of guilt for the BLM movement, but as real inclusion and lasting opportunities. She also hopes that standards will be raised for MUAs and hairstylists to become experts in all shades and textures, no matter their background. To keep up with the growth of the brand, sign up for the Color May Vary newsletter (just add your email at the bottom of the home page) and follow Renée on Instagram to tune into the engaging and educational live videos.

Want more Beauty Through the Black Lens? Learn how Ndeye Peinda is breaking the stereotypical beauty mold, hear from Aja White about her experience as a Black influencer post #BlackoutTuesday, and learn about dermatologist Adeline Kikam's (a.k.a. @brownskinderm) strive for wellness in skin of color.

Feeling inspired by Renée’s love for beauty, and want to experiment with your own IPSY Glam Bag? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started. Already an Ipster? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and Twitter @IPSY.

About the author
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Kindra Moné
Kindra Moné is a writer and content creator who works with brands and magazines to create culturally relevant fashion and beauty content. She is also the founder of The Moné Edit: a community and podcast at the intersection of style and wellness.
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Article Last Updated November 25, 2020 12:00 AM