Tisha Thompson is the creator of LYS (Love Yourself) Beauty, Sephora’s first Black-owned “clean” beauty brand. Clean beauty and skincare is a rising trend, as consumers are becoming increasingly aware of potentially harmful ingredients that were once widely accepted in the beauty industry.

To be considered “clean” by major retailers, brands must be formulated without phthalates, formaldehyde or formaldehyde releasers, oxybenzone, octinoxate and other potentially unsafe ingredients.

According to Sephora’s website, Clean at Sephora “is focused on transparency in formulation and sourcing and the avoidance of certain ingredients. When you see our Clean seal, you can be assured that the product is formulated without specific ingredients that are known or suspected to be potentially harmful to human health and/or the environment.”

In addition to being a clean brand, LYS Beauty is also cruelty-free, vegan and affordable, with each product priced under $30. Thompson was inspired to create her own cosmetics line after spending almost 20 years in the beauty industry.

She got her start as a makeup artist, and later worked in branding and marketing for beauty brands after college. 

“I spent [the] majority of my career focusing on product development, [and] building and creating assortment [strategies] in the complexion space, primarily in clean [beauty],” Thompson said. “I also focused on marketing and social media, and for me, it was also a big priority to make sure that women of color were at the forefront and being seen within marketing campaigns in the beauty industry, especially in clean. And as a plus-sized woman, for me, it was even more important to also show range in terms of women and their body shapes and type because you just always saw, especially in clean, really light fair skin, [but] you never really saw Black women at all, and definitely never saw plus-sized Black women.”

Working in beauty ignited a passion in Thompson to diversify the industry, which is why she created LYS Beauty. She sees clean beauty as an important shift, because she doesn’t see some traditional ingredients as necessary anymore.

To Thompson, clean beauty is more than what a brand keeps out of their products, but it’s also what they put in.

“As a brand, we take it a step further,” Thompson said. “We focus on also putting good-for-you ingredients in the formula. We focus on prioritizing things specifically that target women of color, like hyperpigmentation, sensitive skin, uneven skin tone, acne prone skin – like things that really affect and concern us more so than fine lines and wrinkles.” 

LYS Beauty products utilize select ingredients for additional skin benefits. Their Triple Fix Serum Foundation comes in 35 shades, and includes ashwagandha to combat skin stress, turmeric as an antioxidant, and avocado oil for moisture.

As a brand looking to change the beauty industry, even the packaging at LYS Beauty is unique. As a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Thompson scattered the organization’s symbol, which represents change, throughout the product design and packaging. 

LYS Beauty’s packaging is also made with recycled materials to support sustainability. Although the company is still relatively new, LYS Beauty is scaling quickly. Thompson looks forward to continuing to expand into more global markets in the future.

“It’s crazy to think that we’re just in our second year of business and we are expanding pretty rapidly,” Thompson said. “We currently are in over 350 Sephora stores, [and] we are sold globally; [we’re] now in the UK and Australia. We just recently announced our launch with QVC. So it has been a whirlwind of a year and a half.”

Bria Suggs became a General Assignment Reporter for The Atlanta Voice in August 2021. In 2019, she earned 2nd place for Best Entertainment Story at GCPA. In SEJC's 2020 Best of the South Awards, she placed...