Atima Lui has a very deep, rich skin tone. As she tells me over the phone on a scorching July afternoon, her father was a South Sudanese refugee, which attributes to her skin's depth and undertone. “My skin tone comes from East Africa near the Nile River,” she states proudly.
But having that deep skin tone and growing up in the overwhelmingly white town of Topeka, Kansas, had a detrimental effect on Lui’s self-confidence and feeling of belonging in the world. “No one really looked like me growing up,” she says. “So I always thought I was the minority, right? That no one else looked like me, that I didn’t match beauty standards, and that subconsciously there was something wrong with me.”
Trying to shop for makeup in the beauty world, where deep-skinned women were not being catered to, certainly didn’t help. Up until Fenty Beauty launched in 2017 with 40 foundation shades that were heralded for their diverse range of deep and dark options, beauty brands that created makeup for skin as deep as Lui’s were extremely rare — and the brands that did cater to her, Lui recalls, had maybe one shade that sort of matched her skin tone.
The exclusion Lui and other women of color consistently faced — and are still facing today — when shopping for makeup eventually drove Lui to found Nudest, a company revolving around artificial intelligence that helps shoppers of all backgrounds identify their true skin tones so they can make more informed online makeup purchases.
Nudest just landed its first-ever brand partner, and by the way things sound, it won’t be long until Lui’s groundbreaking technology is considered a necessity across all digital beauty shopping platforms. Because Nudest does far more than just match skin tones, folks.
The way customers use Nudemeter on Spktrm's site is quick and easy.
When visiting SpktrmBeauty.com, users can click the "Match Your Skin Tone" button in the menu at the top of the web page. Nudemeter will direct them to a short quiz that asks how light or deep their skin is, how it reacts to sun exposure, what color their veins appear, what type of makeup coverage they prefer, and more.
After the quiz, users are asked to upload a well-lit selfie. As Lui describes it, "Nudemeter’s artificial intelligence balances the lighting in that selfie and predicts the color of your skin based on the neural network, which is fancy language for machine learning that has figured out how to understand the color of someone’s skin."
After analyzing users' quiz answers and selfies, Nudemeter provides statements with details about their skin tones and types alongside recommendations for specific Spktrm foundations in the shades that Nudemeter has determined to be their closest matches.