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It used to be that there were only a handful of beauty brands that held a monopoly over what we bought and wore on our skin, hair and nails. Now, you can find hundreds of indie brands and imports from around the world by simply scrolling through Instagram.

And though it can be overwhelming to navigate all of the options at times, the upside is that we have way more choices available to us. More choices allow for better customization and products that actually cater to our needs. 

Gone are the days when you couldn’t find a foundation that matched your skin tone (thank you, Fenty) or a nude lipstick that didn’t wash you out. In fact, it was the search for that elusive nude lipstick that led to the start of Mented Cosmetics, a cult beauty brand co-founded by KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson in 2017. 

In this episode of "The Glow Up," we took a trip up to Mented’s offices in Harlem to hear their story. From KJ and Amanda’s meet-cute moment during a student-run variety show at Harvard Business School to their first round of pitching investors to fund their debut collection of nude lipsticks, we got a firsthand look at what it takes to start—and sustain—a beauty brand in 2019.

Watch now and tell us who your favorite brands are in the comments section. 

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