How many times have you found yourself browsing the makeup aisle in your local drugstore only to find that you are unable to find a foundation that matches your skin tone? What about the times you browsed online and came across a lipstick that seemed as if it would be a great match only to later find out that it looks completely different on you compared to how it looks on the model? For many women around the world, these are not rare occurrences. In fact, these same women could probably describe in great detail how frustrating it can be trying to find makeup that actually complements their skin tone. While more beauty brands are beginning to offer products that do complement a variety of skin tones, it is hard to ignore the lack of different skin tones used in their ad campaigns. 

What happens when you get frustrated to the point where you decide to take matters into your own hands? If you are blogger and businesswoman Ofunne Amaka not do you only create an Instagram account geared towards showing swatches on different skin tones, you also create an accompanying app entitled Cocoa Swatches. Not only does this app feature an extensive look at lipsticks, highlighters and eyeshadows from various brands, it also features in depth reviews of said products and features beauty vloggers of varying skin tones. Simply put, it is a brown girl friendly app that finally shows how makeup looks on our skin.

My conversation with Ofunne proved to be the perfect balance of being insightful and inspiring. Keep reading to learn more about Cocoa Swatches!

Nai's Visions: I came across the Cocoa Swatches app after seeing the twitter handle Black Girl Tips share a tweet about it and I immediately thought, "this is amazing."  

https://twitter.com/blackgirlstips/status/705899744602648576

When you first created the Instagram page for Cocoa Swatches, did the idea of creating an accompanying app ever cross your mind? 

Ofunne: I created the instagram page because it was hard to find the newest makeup products for darker skin tones.I also wanted to show the difference between what certain lipsticks looked like on darker skin tones vs. lighter skin tones. At the time I wasn't thinking of an app, it blossomed on its own but I knew that I wanted to take things to the next level. 

Nai's Visions: After downloading the app and doing a bit of browsing (more like spending almost an hour looking at different swatches), I noticed how easy it is to navigate the app and the quality of the photographs are amazing. When you decided to take Cocoa Swatches to the next level, how long did the planning process take? 
Ofunne: I didn't actually create the app by myself. I used a few resources online to help me with the technological side of things. Using the technology that was available helped me create the feel of the app. I knew that I wanted to use a white background so that the products would show up better. Basically I wanted it to be a clean, easy to use app that not only showed products on a darker skin tone but also helped people make easy product purchases

Nai's Visions: Cocoa Swatches comes at such an important time where the conversation about representation is being held more frequently. One of my favorite things about Cocoa Swatches is the "Makeup Experts We Love" section that features beauty bloggers of different complexions. I think it's extremely important for women to be able to see makeup on those who share their similar complexion. In your opinion, why do you think parts of the beauty industry are still lagging behind in terms of including campaigns that feature an array of skin tones? 

Ofunne: It's a general trend across the board, like the #OscarsSoWhite, #BlackLivesMatters movements, and the general media. The media has always centered on whiteness being beautiful and I don't think anyone in those positions were pressured to change that before. I think we need to have our own spaces in order to continue celebrating ourselves, in addition to infiltrating the spaces that are pre-existing. It's a matter of complacency too. We have a society that has operated a certain way for a long time so the idea of changing is a slow process for some.

Nai's Visions: Speaking of skin tones, it's no secret that colorism is a world wide issue. Do you feel this issue will always be present or do you believe there is a way for diversity to become more accepted as time goes on? 

Ofunne: It's hard to say to say if I think things will change. Even if one aspect may change, another aspect may be present in another space. I do think every little step is important and counts. Every little victory should be celebrated. Like you said, representation is being talked about more frequently and it's only a matter of time before it's seen as normal. 
 
Nai's Visions: You've been featured on sites such as Cosmopolitan, Essence and Teen Vogue. Has the positive feedback you've received from debuting Cocoa Swatches surprised you in any way? What are you hoping to accomplish with the Cocoa Swatches brand?  

Ofunne: I think it surprised me because of the speed it was accepted. It seems the publications that you mentioned and more recognize that this app is needed. On the other hand, I wasn't surprised about the overall positive feedback the app has been receiving because of the feedback I've been getting from the IG community.
 

As far as expanding Cocoa Swatches, it's all kind of new. My main focus right now will be solidifying the brand. I do know that I want to feature models of other colors instead of myself [being more inclusive] and I want to start working with brands that are cognitive of the colorism issue. I also want to focus on talking about undertones more because I think this is also overlooked. Two women may be similar shades but their undertones could be completely different and knowing about that could truly benefit women when purchasing makeup. I think those are things that can be tackled easily and can help Cocoa Swatches reach out to large audiences.

To get the latest updates about all things surrounding Cocoa Swatches, be sure to follow both Ofunne and Cocoa Swatches on their social media handles:


IG: cocoaswatches
Twitter: CocoaSwatches
IG: OfunnaAmaka
Facebook: OfunneAmaka
Tumblr: Ofunne Amaka 
Twitter: OfunneO
www.ofunneamaka.com
www.cocoaswatches.com