How Latina Entrepreneurs Are Changing the Face of the Beauty Industry

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A wave of Latinas is taking the reins of the beauty industry. Between influencers, consumers and owners, Latinas are looking to broaden and boost corporate respect for one of the largest consumer demographics in the United States.

As Bloomberg explained, in 2020, Latinos spent 13% more than the average shopper on beauty and personal care products, according to research firm NielsenIQ. And more and more Hispanic Internet personalities and companies are getting the message across, from influencer Mariale Marrero and her 6 million Instagram followers to Treslúce Beauty, a makeup brand launched in June by Latin artist Becky G, which ranks No. 5 on the Billboard chart.

“This growing prominence in the retail space has accelerated a push to dispel media portrayals that often ignore the diversity and evolving identity of Latinos,” Bloomberg explained. “Hispanics boast a wide range of skin tones and hair types, which means that no single commercial approach can meet all beauty needs.”

According to analytics firm Nielsen, Hispanic representation in content across all platforms in the beauty industry was 6% in 2020, even though they make up nearly 19% of the U.S. population. And when Hispanics appear online or in a magazine, they are often portrayed as “exotic,” according to Deyanira Rojas-Sosa, an associate professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

Native Americans and Afro-Latinos, in particular, are underrepresented in personal care and makeup ads, said Danielle Alvarez, founder of public relations firm The Bonita Project.

Despite the rise of Hispanic-owned brands, they remain a small part of the beauty market. In a recent panel of Latino entrepreneurs conducted by think tank Ready to Beauty, 88% said improving access to capital was critical to expanding the sector. But some entrepreneurs have grown tired of waiting for investors.

“I think many people are going ‘well, what the heck?’ I might as well just do it myself,'” said Margarita Arriagada, who served as Sephora’s chief merchant for nine years.

It’s all about authenticity

The lack of representation and absence of bilingual content in advertising campaigns in the beauty industry appears to be a key gap in the industry and one that Latina entrepreneurs are determined to fill.

A survey conducted by cultural analysis firm ThinkNow revealed that nearly half of Hispanics are looking for that kind of authenticity. 

Beauty shoppers rated diversity in skin tone offerings as very important when making purchasing decisions. A significant number gave value to brands that highlight people of all shapes and sizes and companies committed to inclusion.

Giants like Sephora have decided to take matters into their own hands and drive diversity in their campaigns. Today, Sephora has a pool of influencers of which 79% identify as people of color, up from 51% in 2020.

Estee Lauder Companies Inc. said it recently held internal panels and classes aimed at retaining Hispanic talent. And Ulta Beauty Inc. invited Latino founders to share their stories with employees. Even Target Corp. launched a collection showcasing Latino-owned brands for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Yet, the void is still there. As long as women of color are not in all decision-making structures, the message will continue to feel mimetic and inauthentic.

That’s why the work of empowered Latinas like Julissa Prado (Rizos Curls), Dulce Candy, and Becky G, among many others, is more important than ever.


With information from Bloomberg.