Back in December 2016, Phillips posted this photo of a DIY shimmer setting spray mixture she'd concocted to her Instagram page.
"I love mixing things. I’ve always been that type of creator," Phillips tells Revelist.
She used MAC Fix+ finishing spray and MAC pigments that would work for deeper skin tones to create the liquid magic.
"I assumed everyone was doing that anyway. I felt like this was something everybody did, so I didn’t really feel like this was something that new — but apparently I was wrong."
The photo went viral instantly and acquired 25,000 likes in about two days, according to Phillips. She probably wasn't the first person to DIY shimmery finishing spray EVER, but she was certainly the first to go viral doing it — and was definitely the first to create shimmer setting sprays especially for dark skin tones.
One week later, she debuted her beauty brand, Omglo Cosmetics (pronounced "Oh My Glow") — with her own line of custom made shimmer setting sprays.
She was no longer using MAC Fix+ finishing sprays and MAC pigments, but had done the work of hunting down a lab to make her own setting spray formula, found another vendor for pigments, and hand mixed the ingredients together to create something completely fresh.
Over a year after Phillips' launched her brand and her shimmer setting spray, MAC Cosmetics is introducing its own line of shimmer setting sprays — a mix that's suspiciously similar to the DIY method Phillips used initially.
These three Fix+ shades are Matte, Gold Lite, and Pink Lite. Revelist reached out to MAC Cosmetics for comment, but did not hear back by the time this story published.
Omglo Cosmetics' fans, who have watched Phillips journey from DIY to official brand, are very put off by MAC Cosmetics introducing these shimmer sprays for SEVERAL reasons.
First: MAC's three shimmer setting sprays seem to leave out colors that work for POC. This was one of the reasons for Phillips' viral success.
Second, the massive brand seems to have lifted the initial idea from Phillips' original viral idea and small business.
Finally, instead of working with Joelle — who seems to have had the idea first — MAC is collaborating with an entirely different makeup artist.
"Let the record show that @omglowcosmetics came out with this Illuminating glow mist first," one fan shared beneath Trendmood's post of the new MAC sprays.
"MAC can imitate her work all they want but they can't touch Joelle's hard work, shade inclusiveness, AMAZING customer service and entrepreneurship. #ShopSmall #GLOWDIVAS #OMGLO."
The brand's fans immediately began redirecting people in the comments section to Omglo Cosmetics.
"Guys go check out @omglowcosmetics," a user wrote. "They have something better and more shade ranges. Their products are vegan friendly and affordable."
They want MAC Cosmetics to know they are only playing "catch up."
"It's funny to see MAC having to catch up to @omglocosmetics," a makeup artist wrote. "Ladies just purchase it from them!!! No waiting and she makes it herself for you!"
Phillips herself isn't upset with MAC Cosmetics, but does want to highlight how this is yet another case of a big brand hopping over a Black woman — and leaving out dark skin.
"It doesn’t surprise me," she said.
"We’re always an afterthought. It would have been nice to have been reached out to by MAC. I would have gladly taken up the opportunity because I really feel like black women, especially in the beauty community, are always the last to be heard."
As for the alleged MAC "copies" of her spray, Phillips says she isn't worried at all — especially since MAC skipped over one thing that makes her original shimmer setting sprays so important.
"These shades I’m seeing aren’t for us," she says when asked if she's offended by MAC's new products.
"They were never going to make something for everyone, anyway. Now, my products are for everyone but I have shades specifically for women of color. I created them for us. The shades I’ve seen aren’t going to fit anybody past J.Lo. I would never be offended by that.”
To her credit, shimmery shades (like foundation) do often come *way* too ashy for dark skin. Nyma Tang had to use the smallest amount of the Amrezy highlighter because it was too light for her skin tone.
As a dark-skinned woman, there have been plenty of highlighters I tried because of how gold they looked in the pan, only to watch them turn into gray ashes on my face. Yuck.
Whether MAC did draw inspiration from Phillips and Omglow Cosmetics may never be known, but the timeline doesn't lie: A Black woman did it first.
Not only is Phillips a Black woman, but she's also an independent brand. She transformed her DIY products into a booming business, and it made my head spin.
The short version, so you know what it takes when you do it alone, is this:
She had to find hunt down a lab, find a vendor for the mixing pigments, seek out a college friend for a bottle design, spend two months tracking down bottles that would properly dispense the liquid *and* the pigment, and more.
This is also the part where I reiterate that Phillips *still* mixes her pigment and spray formula by hand in her own home for each bottle.
I'm exhausted just thinking about this, but that's why Phillips is an entrepreneur and I'm not.
MAC Cosmetics, a brand with the Estée Lauder machine behind it, has a huge international team making sure it runs daily like a well-oiled machine.
It's unfortunate that the brand overlooked Phillips and missed an opportunity to not only include a another Black woman on its business end, but also to serve products that will flatter people with dark skin.
But then again, that's why we have Omglo Cosmetics — a Black-owned brand serving Black people and Black skin the first time around. No ash and no afterthoughts.