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Honing in on Hue

Jan/06/2024 / by team-seema

How one influencer transformed her color correcting hack into the first South Asian brand sold at Ulta

Deepica Mutyala used to spend hours wandering store aisles in search of makeup matching her skin tone, only to find white models. She vividly remembers resolving to one day create a brand that would change this. Her family laughed it off, more concerned about her studies, but Mutyala remained steadfast.  

After college, Mutyala built a path in beauty, starting her career through marketing roles at industry giants like L’Oreal and Birchbox. A breakthrough came at Birchbox when a makeup artist put something red under her eyes that felt like lipstick, but it was a color corrector. “While this artist was telling me a lot of reasons these two products were different, what I heard was essentially nothing,” said Mutyala to First Round. “I’m always thinking about how I can simplify this space.” 

Soon after, she shared a simple hack on YouTube—using red lipstick to cover dark undereye circles. The video quickly exploded in popularity, amassing millions of views. Unwilling to represent someone else’s brand forever, Mutyala co-founded Live Tinted in 2018 with her cousin. 

They began by launching an Instagram community celebrating diverse beauty voices, rapidly attracting nearly 100,000 passionate members. Mutyala surveyed them about their biggest beauty obstacles and used the insights to develop Live Tinted’s debut product, a multipurpose color-correcting stick called Huestick.  

The Huestick’s 2019 launch was an immediate smash success, selling 10 times projections within days. Over 1 million units have now been sold. With celebrity backers like Bobbi Brown, Live Tinted has expanded into new products, becoming the first South Asian-owned brand to sell at Ulta. “”A lot of people that don’t feel like they’ve been represented, which is why we decided to call the community Live Tinted,” she explains. “The concept is we all have a tint to our skin and that unites us. I wanted to come together around a shared experience.”

“Deepica Mutyala has built a brand that celebrates diversity and brings together communities. Plus it’s just so chic.” -Mindy Kaling

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