A French ethnic beauty brand will make its foray into the US cosmetics market with the launch of a new dedicated website to be unveiled December 1.

Black Up is a high-end, professional cosmetics line targeted towards women of color. It offers 11 shades of fluid foundation, six hues of pressed powder, 36 highly-pigmented eyeshadow colors and 26 lipstick shades, along with various nail varnishes and makeup brushes and tools.

The brand was created in 1999. It is sold at 172 locations in France, primarily through multi-brand French beauty retailers like Sephora and Marionnaud. It also boasts some 171 sales points elsewhere in Europe (Spain, Netherlands, UK) and in Africa (Ghana, Cameroon, Angola, South Africa, Nigeria).

Black Up briefly entered the US cosmetics market in 2003. The line was sold through the American department store Macy's at its Herald Square location in New York for about a year and a half before it was discontinued.  

Other ethnic makeup brands currently available to customers in the US include L'Oreal's HIP High Intensity Pigments line and IMAN Cosmetics. L'Oreal's ethnic makeup line was launched in 2006 and features highly-pigmented blushes, metallic eyeshadows, colorful eyeliners and several shades of foundation. It is available through drugstores and mass-market retailers.

Somali-born ex-supermodel Iman started her line of skincare and makeup - IMAN Cosmetics - in 1994, after realizing that there was a dearth of quality beauty products for women of color. "When I started my cosmetics company, I wanted to be the black Estée Lauder. I knew that there was a potentially huge niche market in cosmetics and skincare for women of color," Iman told Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Her line is sold in the US through mass-market retailers like Target and Walmart, as well as internationally in Canada, France, UK, Africa in department stores.

Shop for Black Up cosmetics from the US starting December 1: http:// blackupcosmetics.com

Shop the French-based Black Up e-store now at: http://estore.blackup.com

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