Siblings Aleena, Allezeh and Naseeha were born in Los Angeles, raised in Dubai, and are ethnically Pakistani.
The trio identify as citizens of the world, and are armed with the mission to enhance cultural awareness through beauty. With this vision, they have created an authentically inclusive brand for anyone who loves makeup - irrespective of skin tone, gender, ethnicity or age. Cue CTZN Cosmetics.
CTZN aims to redefine inclusivity by focusing first and foremost on empowering individuals around the world to simply feel seen by the beauty industry. The brand has launched the beauty industry's widest nude lip collection with 25 shades of nude (from a warm beige to a dark fudge brown tone) and won the Allure Best of Beauty for 'Best Neutral Lipstick' two years in a row.
They explain that a customer may find their correct lip shade at another brand, but it will be labelled a 'dark brown lipstick' - whereas we recognise that shade as your 'nude'.
Aleena says: "On a personal level, my sisters and I always had to mix lip shades to find the correct nude matches! Up until very recently, we have all been conditioned to think of nude as only 'beige' - which is why even beauty assistants often do not suggest the correct shades for customers of colour when they ask for nude lipsticks. The beauty assistants are searching for the industry definition of nude. Our passion is to change that moving forward - your nude is not my nude - and that is the whole point."
CTZN approaches everything from a global perspective so we did not need to customise shades - it has curated these 25 shades keeping all regions in mind from the very beginning. "We have noticed that Nudiversal Los Angeles is a fan-favourite within GCC!" adds Aleena.
Evolving beauty standards
The trio want to change that inclusivity within beauty is not only in reference to women of colour but also all ethnicities, ages, makeup preferences, and beyond; that 'nude' is not just one colour - everyone's nude shade should be equally accessible and easy to find.
"We also want to shift the emphasis of inclusivity from just large shade ranges to deeper-rooted factors such as having a diverse team behind the brand. Having a range of employees from different backgrounds as a soundboard for concepts and innovations is truly the backbone necessary for preventing cultural insensitivities or unintended mistakes that lead to cancelling culture in this industry," Aleezeh reiterates.
"We also want to shift the emphasis of inclusivity from just large shade ranges to deeper-rooted factors such as having a diverse team behind the brand. Having a range of employees from different backgrounds as a soundboard for concepts and innovations is truly the backbone necessary for preventing cultural insensitivities or unintended mistakes that lead to cancel culture in this industry," Aleezeh reiterates.
Goals for women in the GCC
Their goal is primarily empowering customers of colour in the region to feel included, welcomed and authentically considered in an industry that has underrepresented many demographics.
For CTZN, the opportunities are endless. "You won't just find your perfect nude lip shade. As we grow the collection, you will find your perfect shade in every category you seek for your makeup collection!"
Anyone who has grown up wearing makeup can connect easily to beauty consumers. The brand is able to understand, for example, that sometimes the nude lip shade the wearers want will depend on how heavy their eye makeup is that day, or that when they are tanned after spending time in the sun their makeup shades may differ. It also understands that makeup preferences vary depending on personality type!
"We love connecting with our CTZN Family more than ever, which is why we encourage community members to direct message us selfies on Instagram for a personalised shade-matching experience, where we get to chat about what they are looking for," Naseeha states.
The trio have launched CTZN Gold - a universal gold eye shimmer that flatters all skin tones. One magical shade for all. They have another really exciting collection currently being developed that is another 'need' for someone's makeup kit. Stay tuned!