How Deepica Mutyala is Changing Beauty Standards
I think it’s time we all realize what’s unique about us is what makes us beautiful. There is no one else that can take that from you.
by Alexandra Perron
Deepica Mutyala is not your average beauty influencer. She spent years working in the beauty industry, with jobs at L'Oréal and Birchbox before stepping into the influencer world. What started as a way for her to share more about her beauty routine has turned into a inclusive beauty community, @livetinted, that is now 60K strong. “I was inspired to create content by my own life experiences and feeling like there wasn’t anyone who looked like me speaking to girls who looked like me,” says Mutyala. As soon as she started posting, she started hearing from women about how her story was inspiring them. “[S]howcasing my culture unapologetically and speaking to my beauty concerns as a South Asian women makes them more comfortable in their skin. It also makes them feel like they can go out there and create a career path they didn’t once think was possible because there wasn’t anyone they previously saw doing it.”
This week she’s taking the next step and launching her first product, Huestick. Inspired by feedback from the Live Tinted community and a video she made showing how she used red lipstick to cover dark circles under her eyes, Huestick is a multi-stick and color corrector that will be available in three universal shades. It can be used to add color to lips, cheeks and eyes, or to correct hyperpigmentation, dark circles and spots. We caught up with the influencer turned entrepreneur to hear more about building a community and working to change the industry’s beauty standards.
What inspired you to start Live Tinted?
These women who reached out to me while I was building my career as an influencer are a core part of the driving force in launching Live Tinted (@livetinted). I wanted to build a community bigger than myself. I wanted there to be a centralized hub where you could see all different standards of beauty in one place and realize you’re not alone. Me as one person pushing to do that didn’t make sense because I can only authentically speak to my own beauty concerns. By launching a digital community where we highlight individuals in the #tintfam from all walks of life, both beauty enthusiasts and newbies, we are able to really show a spectrum of shades. Launching this community on Instagram is only what made sense. People want short form digestible content. We treat every post on @livetinted as if it was a blog post and keep all the engagement and community conversation on IG itself.
And how would you define your mission?
The whole goal of launching @livetinted was to build more positive, inclusive beauty space online and hopefully translate that offline. We want to move beauty standards forward.
How have you seen the beauty industry evolve in the last year? Do you think it’s becoming more inclusive?
I do - whether it’s because brands feel like they have to whether they want to, that I’m unsure of, but you know what? At the end of the day, progress is progress. Maybe brands are jumping on the bandwagon now or maybe they truly recognize the importance. Either way, the shift that is happening is leading to change.
What impact have you seen Live Tinted have on the beauty industry?
I feel so fortunate that the @livetinted community is so positive. Everyone knows that our voice only stands for that. Even when we are calling out brands that may not be doing inclusivity best, we make sure that our perspective is constructive. We want to move beauty standard forward so that sometimes means challenging what’s out there but always in a positive constructive way.
With the launch of your first product, how has your own background in the beauty industry and the input of your community had an impact on its development?
It’s been everything - I knew since I was 16 that I wanted my own beauty brand. I’ve shaped every career decision in my life around one day making this dream a reality. I’ve been able to see the beauty industry from every angle - on the corporate side, then as an influencer, and now taking these learnings to cultivate Live Tinted.
Starting my career at L’Oreal USA was amazing — it’s the biggest beauty company in the world. I was surrounded by incredible marketers and got to understand what it takes to get a product from conception to launch. Then, being an early employee at Birchbox really helped me understand what it takes to build a brand in a scrappy way. It was all hands on deck there. No matter what actual your job was, you would have your hands on all parts of the business. It felt like my version of business school. I first learned steps into product development during my time there which was really exciting.
After that, being an influencer, I’ve been able to work with virtually every beauty brand I’ve ever dreamt of working with. It’s been surreal and an incredible experience. I’ve also been able to touch and play with all of these amazing brands’ newest launches. I feel like I’ve learned so much about what it takes to make a quality product, but Live Tinted isn’t about me and my experiences. We build everything based on what the Tint Fam tells us they want and that’s exactly what happened in creating the Huestick.
Consumers are smart. Brands need to give us more credit.
What do you think brands could be doing better in terms of inclusion, diversity and innovation?
I just find it to be so interesting when brands hero out the fact that they are inclusive or clean or cruelty-free. After being on the corporate side of the industry and then moving into the influencer space and now that I’ve gone through this process personally to build Live Tinted, it feels like it should just be the standard, not the brand positioning.
Consumers are smart. Brands need to give us more credit. Build from a genuine place not just to check a box. Listen to consumers and react. I feel like big brands have so many layers that they aren’t able to do this enough. I feel grateful and hope to build Live Tinted out to be a brand where everyone is always listening to our community in every piece of the building process.
What is your personal beauty philosophy?
It’s evolved over the years, but these days, I would say, don’t let anyone else tell you what’s beautiful to you. Set that bar for yourself. I’ve had so many girls come up to me and say they don’t mind the bump on their nose, the freckles on their cheeks, the random acne scar on their face, but they never felt like it was okay because of what the media showcased as the ideal standards of beauty. I think it’s time we all realize what’s unique about us is what makes us beautiful. There is no one else that can take that from you.