These are our Complexions

Image provided by Nyedouth (Destiny) Matuet (second-to-the-left on the top row.)

Image provided by Nyedouth (Destiny) Matuet (second-to-the-left on the top row.)

Imagine working in a store, advising customers on which products they should use, but none of the products you’re selling cater to your needs. That is how 24-year-old Nyedouth (Destiny) Matuet felt working as a makeup artist in department stores in Calgary. 

“I worked at an all-white makeup counter, and it seemed black people didn’t come here until I was working there,” Matuet says.

Her frustration turned into inspiration for her makeup company. Founded in 2016, Complexion is designed explicitly for dark-skinned women -- by a dark-skinned woman. (I took out ‘of colour.’ 

Working as a cosmetologist made Matuet realize there weren’t many products available to women who looked like her. 

“I got to learn more about makeup. I saw the other side of it, being dark-skinned and even being Sudanese, I feel like people don’t understand the difference,” she said joking that “there’s dark skin and then there’s Sudanese.”

From there, Matuet decided she'd need to change this. She had already started her YouTube channel in 2014 to market herself as a new makeup artist and to expand her makeup kit. She also was building her following on Instagram through her platform on YouTube. 

“I thought ‘ok I’ll put myself out there get some free stuff’ because that was initially my goal,” Matuet says. 

YouTube has become a favourite entrepreneurial tool for aspiring makeup artists to gather a following and build a network with other established makeup companies. For example, Nigerian-American YouTuber Jackie Aina, whose on-camera persona and energy has gained her a following of 1.8 million YouTube subscribers after eight years of beauty vlogging. Aina recently collaborated with Artist Couture on her highlights “La Bronze” and “La Peach.” 

Internationally-known and Canadian-based makeup artist, Tami El Sombati thinks YouTube has become the epicentre for many beauty entrepreneurs. 

Image provided by Nyedouth (Destiny) Matuet

Image provided by Nyedouth (Destiny) Matuet

“Without a doubt, the products used in their tutorials will be bought, so why not create your own?” she says. 

That is exactly how Matuet felt. Thus, beginning her journey to becoming an entrepreneur by using YouTube and Instagram to build her brand. 

“I thought I would work hard on YouTube for a year, blow up and then a company is going to want to collaborate and I can come with a dark skin makeup line, and they’re going to help me, they’re going to fund me,” she says.

Having already been on YouTube for two years, she only noticed her followers grow once she focused her energy on trying to build her brand for her company. However, two months into her new-found social media popularity, Matuet hit a roadblock. She wasn’t getting the attention from the makeup companies she had hoped. 

“I thought ‘if I do everything I am supposed to do, but nobody gives me that chance, then what I am supposed to do? I wasted two years trying to be enough, for someone to think I’m not?’” she says.

So she decided to go solo.

Read the full article in the "Naturally Radiant" issue here.