Renee Denis and Arlene Cadogan established cosmetic company Melanin is Beauty


(from left) Freshmen Renee Denis and Arlene Cadogan launched Melanin is Beauty, a cosmetics business, two years ago. The LLC seeks to empower people of color–especially women–and to help them love and be proud of themselves and their skin.

By Natalie Rydzewski

Freshmen Renee Denis and Arlene Cadogan launched a startup nearly two years ago in the name of beauty. Their cosmetics business, Melanin is Beauty, seeks to empower people of color–especially women–and to help them love and be proud of themselves and their skin. 

Cadogan and Denis named the company with a specific purpose in mind: “We [thought that since we] are both Black female women, and we know a lot of people that are uncomfortable in their skin, and we want them to feel comfortable.” 

Melanin is Beauty sells lip gloss, lip scrubs, lotions, body scrubs and lip oils. Made for everyone and featuring natural ingredients, the products stem from original recipes. 

Some of the main ingredients in these products are shea butter, which helps moisturize and calm the skin. Another common ingredient is Vitamin E oil, which also moisturizes and helps prevent flaky, drier skin from occurring. This beauty line is animal-cruelty free and vegan. 

To build recognition for their company, the girls travel to events where they sell their products. They also depend on word of mouth and their Instagram account: 

The duo was featured and recognized by Methacton’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Task Force in the fall of 2020 and received a flow of support from them. Melanin is Beauty also had the opportunity to be a part of the DEI’s Juneteeth event where they sold and advertised their products. 

Part of the company’s purpose is making other women of color feel happy and great in their skin. The other part is having fun together. The girls enjoy making and experimenting on products and designing new ones.

Interacting with customers and sending out affirmations on their Instagram page also help them accomplish their goal of making people feel confident and in control. One of the most recent affirmations reads, “I am proud of myself.” 

Cadogan and Denis feel especially passionate about their affirmations. 

“Repetition helps boost confidence with anything, and you’re supposed to say it twice a day, every day. There is a new one every week.” The new affirmations appear every Sunday.  

The duo said that students their age who want to start a business should do so with full force, with full-fledged effort and should not feel discouraged by others’ success in business. 

Cadogan and Denis became an LLC with the help of a lawyer who would help give their business more credibility, stability and legal support. 

They said they experienced a few setbacks with inventory and product creation, but research, as well as trial and error, helped to produce success. 

Melanin is Beauty can be found at The company’s next promotion event will be on May 1, from 1-4 at Amen Ra Temple #158 & Amen Ra Court #225 in Norristown, PA.

Photographs are a must for this piece. While you can provide photos of their products, you should stage two or three photos of them standing with their product, and of them working on their products.