HOW SHARON CHUTER’S BEAUTY BRAND UOMA IS TAKING DIVERSITY TO THE NEXT STEP
UOMA, WHICH MEANS “BEAUTIFUL” IN THE NIGERIAN LANGUAGE IGBO, WAS BORN OUT OF FRUSTRATIONS CHUTER WAS HAVING WHILE WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY
What does beauty look like post-Fenty? It’s a question the industry has been pondering over the last few years. When Rihanna’s game-changing brand burst onto the scene in 2017 with the now-famous 40 shades of foundations, it caused a seismic shift in the industry, a defining moment that we won’t look back from. But where do brands go from there? What was the next step? For many, it was releasing increasingly larger ranges of foundation shades – a shade range war which, although not in itself a bad thing, boiled diversity and inclusivity down to a single-issue topic. But inclusivity is about more than just how many colours of foundation you have. And Sharon Chuter knows it. That’s why she is going beyond that with her new beauty brand Uoma.
Uoma, which means “beautiful” in the Nigerian language Igbo, was born out of frustrations Chuter was having while working in the industry. A beauty veteran, who has spent her career working with some of the biggest companies in the industry including at LVMH as Head of Corporations for Benefit, Chuter became increasingly dissatisfied working to build brands that didn’t care for nor cater to her as a woman of colour. “I was working with companies and I couldn’t use 85% of the products,” she says. “I understood the impact that has on people. Even for me sitting there, it’s only a while before you think something is wrong with you. Why can’t I use those products?”
Eventually, Chuter decided enough and enough and broke out to launch her own brand inspired by the rich cultural history of her home country, Nigeria, and with an expansive product lineup that accommodates all skin tones going beyond just foundation – although her foundations are something special. In the world of beauty today, it isn’t easy to bring out something truly new – it’s all been done before. Chuter, however, has done it with Uoma’s foundations which combine cosmetics and skincare to create a product tailor-made for your skin and your skin concerns. The 51 shades of foundations are grouped into collections with different formulas that address issues women across that range profile share. The fair-toned foundations, for example, are formulated with microalgae extract, which helps soothes redness and hypersensitivity. Olive shades contain rose hybrid extracts to stimulate elastin induction and reduce sebum production since olive skin tones are commonly oily, while the darker foundations contain ingredients to address hyperpigmentation and skin dullness.