Chelsea Amadi-Emina starts doing a client’s makeup by remembering tutorials stored in her memory. She then analyzes cheekbone placement, the distance between eyes and brows, lip type and nose shape before matching a tutorial to the face.

Amadi-Emina, a senior information science major, founded AfroLuxe Glam Shop — a brand that allows her to explore her passion for makeup and bring affordable, luxury cosmetics to the Black beauty community.

“I love experimenting on people’s skin and seeing what colors work together,” Amadi-Emina said. “My goal is just to have every African American woman just feel beautiful and luxurious in their skin.”

AfroLuxe Glam Shop started in 2020, following Amadi-Emina’s frustration with her local beauty supply store.

She would peruse the store for products to practice her budding makeup skills, but was often met with a lack of options. She either had to work with foundations that were two shades lighter than her complexion, blushes that made her skin look pale or eyebrow pencils that never showed up on her skin.

Amadi-Emina hopes her brand can limit others’ failed experiences with makeup that doesn’t match their skin tones.

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Her work features soft, natural makeup looks that are popular among students who have photoshoots, birthday dinners and proms. She said she does makeup with no eyeshadow, shimmer or pearls to enhance natural beauty and promote confidence.

Emmanuella Coffie, a customer and student at George Washington University, got her makeup done for her birthday. She said Amadi-Emina made her feel beautiful and like she was “that girl.”

Amadi-Emina’s makeup sessions are often a collaboration with her clients. She films the makeup process and creates social media reels of each step and every product she uses — much like the makeup tutorial videos she watches and is inspired by.

Most of the products she shows in her videos are from her cosmetic line and are outsourced from vendors. They include lashes, mascara, loose powder, lip liners and blush palettes that complement various skin shades.

Ida Caternor, a senior public health science major, has purchased an array of items from Amadi-Emina, including lip gloss and blush.

“I’m actually dark skinned and the colors that she chooses for her palettes, even her blush palette, for example, it matches my skin so well,” Caternor said. “In the current makeup world, it’s pretty hard nowadays.”

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Amadi-Emina’s products also include homemade organic and vegan lip gloss and lip balms. The glosses are infused with vitamin E and dried rose petals. She said hand-making the products allows her to have a personal connection with her business.

She watches homemade recipe videos to craft her handmade products. She said making them is daunting because it entails getting the right consistency, sanitizing and putting the glosses into tubes, which is often an all-day process. The current consistency of her gloss took two years to perfect.

Being a full-time student and business owner is not an easy task for Amadi-Emina, especially because of her involvement in various school organizations including the African Student Association and Afrochique dance team. But choosing what to prioritize helps her manage the balance.

“I really do believe that if you want to be good at something and you want to do something to your full extent, you can’t do everything at once,” Amadi-Emina said.

On average, she gets 10 to 15 clients per month and takes clients only during the weekends. Amadi-Emina said client reviews make her work worthwhile.

“When she first did my makeup, it was still pretty good but I don’t think it compares to what she can do now,” Keren Barnes, a senior public health science major, said. “She’s really worked hard.”

Amadi-Emina promotes her brand through promotional photoshoots that spark her creativity and content creation side. She also has brand ambassadors who are beauty influencers that create content for her business with products she sends to them.

She hopes her products will one day be shelved beside Fenty Beauty and Juvia’s Place and become an accessible way for the Black community to feel confident.

“You’re beautiful in your own skin,” Amadi-Emina said. “Your skin, especially being a Black girl, is luxurious.”