Meet Live Tinted, the empowering beauty brand that began with a viral YouTube video

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Live Tinted has made waves in the US thanks to its innovative, multi-use formulas – and now, the brand has finally arrived on UK shores. We spoke to brand founder Deepica Mutyala about the viral video that kickstarted her journey, the brand’s inclusive products and tips on how to use them.

On 12 January 2015, Deepica Mutyala uploaded a five-minute YouTube video, in which she uses a red lipstick to cover her under eye circles.

Fast forward six years and that video is sitting just shy of 11 million views, Mutyala has launched her own beauty brand, Live Tinted, and we’re logging onto a Zoom call to mark the brand’s arrival in the UK on Cult Beauty.

“It was an absolute whirlwind,” Mutyala tells stylist.co.uk, reflecting back on when she posted the now-infamous video. She explains that the beauty trick is something she had already been doing for a couple of years before after learning about colour correction from a make-up artist.

“Then in January 2015, I posted my second YouTube video,” she says. “I filmed it on my iPhone – vertically instead of horizontally – like I had no idea what I was doing, clearly.

“But it didn’t matter because I was sharing a tip that people from all over the world clearly valued. I don’t think anyone was speaking to it because I do think it’s something that’s predominantly a focus for people of colour, and even though dark circles are common across the spectrum, I think the beauty industry traditionally has ignored this.”

The desire for videos offering advice on hyperpigmentation was clear and from there, Mutyala realised that she had found her niche. “I was looking for a sign to take my next step in my career – I was working in the corporate side of the beauty industry – and I quit my job. I was like, I can have this 15 minutes of fame, or take that 15 minutes of fame and turn it into my dream career. And so that’s kind of what I did.”

On breaking into the beauty industry

Before launching her own beauty brand, Mutyala worked solely as a beauty influencer for three years. Over that time, she became a source of inspiration for many South Asian girls and women, who rarely saw themselves represented in beauty campaigns.

“I just kept thinking of the 16-year-old Deepica who grew up in Sugar Land, Texas, and thinking I never saw myself in a beauty brand campaign,” she says. “I never saw myself with products that worked for me. And I think all of that is a huge reason that waking up and taking selfies was something that was really uncomfortable for me.

“But I did it because I was the token brown girl on so many beauty brand campaigns, which is annoying, but at the same time, it was progress, right? When we grew up, that didn’t even exist – there wasn’t a token brown girl.”

On the beginning of Live Tinted

“It’s kind of crazy because I’m back in Texas now and I find old random doodles,” says Mutyala. “I thought the name of the brand was going to be Deep Beauty, because I liked the double meaning with my name, but also representing deeper skin tones.”

But when it came to actually launching this brand, Mutyala didn’t want this brand to be about her.

“I really wanted it to be about a larger community and I really loved the name Live Tinted, because it felt like a lifestyle and a mantra.

“Also, everybody has a tint to their skin. It wasn’t just about deeper skin tones – it’s inclusive of deeper skin tones, which was important to me – but we all have a tint to our skin across the whole spectrum. And I wanted to make sure that we were inclusive of truly everyone.”

On the brand’s commitment to inclusivity

What strikes me most about Live Tinted is the way it’s rooted in a community. So much so, Mutyala listens to community members’ wants and needs during product development and these people are the faces you see in the brand’s campaign imagery.

“After being a beauty influencer, I recognised that there wasn’t a space where you could discover different faces and hear their stories,” says Mutyala. “At the time, I felt like nobody was discussing colourism and through talking about these topics, I learned that things like colourism aren’t specific to the South Asian community. It was quite ignorant for me to even think that honestly, but I only knew what I knew.

“I always also felt like fair was beautiful but going through this experience and building the community, I realised that so many different communities are impacted by similar issues. We would have Black women and Latino women, people from every race joining in, and saying: ‘Wow, I also felt this way.’

“It was just we found this common ground of coming together around topics that I think are specific to a certain community of people that nobody else was discussing.”

On launching her first product

Interestingly, though, when it came to launching her first product, Mutyala didn’t jump on colour correction straight away. The reason? Once again, she didn’t want the focus to be on her.

“When the video went viral, I had a ton of brands asking me to create a colour corrector with them,” she explains. “And so when we started Live Tinted, my natural inclination was, it makes sense to create a colour corrector. But again, I didn’t want this brand to be about me and my story, so we went and polled our community.”

But even then, there was an overwhelmingly clear answer: hyperpigmentation and dark circles.

“That was kind of the sign I took to say: OK, between my viral video that has 10 million views and thousands of comments and then three years later, we have this community of 100,000 people telling us that this is their number one beauty concern, we need to create the solution,” she says.

Thus, Live Tinted’s Huestick, £22.50, was born, a multi-use stick that can be used to colour correct as well as adding colour to your eyes, lips and cheeks. Notably, the brand recognises that pigments can appear differently on different skin tones and makes a conscious effort to display the product on different complexions.

When I asked Mutyala about her favourite Live Tinted product (a question most brand founders tend to dodge), she has an answer: “It has to be the Huestick in Origin.”

“We named it Origin because red is such a cultural colour to so many different cultures but also because it originated from my red lipstick story from the viral video,” says Mutyala. “And that’s just my baby because that video changed the trajectory of my entire career.

“I always knew I would start my own beauty brand but the path that I went down to get here is so surreal to me, and I’m so grateful for it. So I think Origin is always going to have a special place in my heart. Plus, I truly think it’s the most beautiful red. It’s so wearable and not intimidating.”

On the brand’s pledge to sustainability

Alongside its pledge to being fully inclusive, Live Tinted makes a conscious effort to be as sustainable as possible, improving its efforts day by day. And refreshingly, it’s transparent about its efforts, too. On the brand’s website, the FAQ page delves into information like the source of the mica and pigments used in its formulas, something you don’t often see being discussed so openly.

The brand’s commitment to sustainability can slow down production but for Mutyala, it’s worth it. “We did not want to create just another product  – there are enough products in the world,” she says. “Everything is so intentional, it has such a purpose behind it.

“Our products are also vegan and cruelty-free and we’re working towards trying to be as eco-friendly as possible. As a small brand. it’s hard, but it’s important. And so, if that means taking a little longer to launch a product, I’m OK with that. I want this to be a legacy brand that really makes an impact in this industry.”

Where to buy Live Tinted in the UK

  • Live Tinted Huestick

    Live Tinted Huestick

    Alongside her love for Origin, the product that represents the birth of the brand, Mutyala also has a soft spot for her Huestick in Rise (pictured above). “It this beautiful terracotta orange that I don’t feel like exists at all from any brand and I’m so proud of it.”

    Shop Live Tinted Huestick at Cult Beauty, £22.50

  • Live Tinted Unity Balm Gloss

    Live Tinted Unity Balm Gloss

    Much like the Huestick, Live Tinted’s Unity Balm Gloss is multi-functional. As well as layering perfectly over your Huestick, you can use it as a skin salve. “I use it on my cuticles to keep them nourished,” says Mutyala. “It also works as a beautiful face gloss on the days where I’m wearing no make-up.”

    Shop Live Tinted Unity Balm Gloss, £19

  • Live Tinted Hueglow

    Live Tinted Hueglow

    What I’d describe as ‘dream skin in a bottle’, Hueglow is a serum, moisturiser and highlighter in one. “I wanted a skincare-first serum that created a glow on your skin,” explains Mutyala. “It has a high amount of squalane inside but also, micro shimmers that give a very subtle shimmer and glow.” All you need for future Zoom calls.

    Shop Live Tinted Hueglow at Cult Beauty, £32

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Main image: Live Tinted

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