How I Got Here

Working Mother, August/September 2018 | Go to article overview

How I Got Here


Balanda Atis

Manager, Multicultural Beauty Lab, L'Oréal USA

LOCATION East Orange, NJ CHILDREN Jade, 12, and Abigail, 2

If it's been easier to find a foundation shade that matches your skin tone in recent years, you might have this woman to thank. In 2007, Balanda Atis was working in the mascara division when a senior manager said their new foundation meant that everyone would be able to find their perfect tint. Balanda and her fellow chemists of color bravely spoke up. "We still can't find our shade," Balanda recalls telling him. "From that simple phrase, he said, 'If you haven't found a solution, then try to find one.'" Balanda then set off on a country-crossing mission, "measuring" people's skin tones and working nights and weekends until she had 20,000 data points. After making a breakthrough in stabilizing a pigment, Balanda developed dozens of makeup shades for people with deeper skin tones across the L'Oréal brands, including Lancôme, L'Oréal Paris and Maybelline, and got promoted to manager of her own lab. …

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