Jasmine Glass wants a revolution. In the whitewashed, cisgendered world of mainstream beauty, it may seem like an impossible task to break the centuries-old toxic tropes and stereotypes consistently pushed by advertisements and Instagram influencers. But Glass is more than ready to shatter the outdated ideologies through two pulsing veins: first, her cult-favorite publication GLASSBOOK, and, most recently, the launch of her inclusive makeup range SPKTRM Beauty.
The latter—which launches their first product today—is the antithesis of everything we’ve been conditioned to know about beauty. Starting off with a 50+ foundation shade range, a vegan formula, and a genderless campaign, it’s clear that SPKTRM is about to shake the industry to its core.
Below, we talked to Glass about SPKTRM, the toxic stigmas of beauty, and more.
Via Osvaldo Ponton
Via Osvaldo Ponton
Why did you decide to create SPKTRM?
“I have been focusing on showcasing a broad representation of beauty through my publication [GLASSBOOK] for several years now, and seeing such a positive response from people who felt undervalued or ignored by the publication-sphere. I just feel like brands should represent the people who purchase their products and make them feel seen and valued. We’re really missing a lot of opportunities to celebrate all kinds of beauty. I see so many beauty ads that look entirely interchangeable.. And then there’s the retouching aspect; I personally have been negatively impacted by viewing heavily retouched imagery for so many years. It really contributes to this unattainable beauty standard. When I started seeing signs of aging or the fact that I still, at 33 years old, have not beaten acne and still have breakouts, I would feel so bad about myself because I never saw them in imagery. I just thought about how great it would be to start normalizing real skin and how it could help people feel better about themselves. That’s what inspired me to launch my own brand.
We’re trying to show a different perspective of beauty and how it can be by expanding shade ranges and no retouching. I’ve noticed a lot of teenagers beginning to follow us, and I always try to remember what incredible pressure they’re under in their formative years. I’m trying to provide an outlet for them to be comfortable in their own skin.”
How would you describe the aesthetic of SPKTRM?
“Radical. It goes against the grain in so many areas, and we just try to do a lot of things differently.”
In the age of the influencer, we say we’ve gotten more progressive, but in reality, we’ve gotten worse. So much of Instagram is tiny waists and FaceTuned faces. There’s so much more that needs to be done.
“Right, and I do get excited when I see the progress in certain areas, but I also feel like there are certain things that shouldn’t have even been a problem in the first place. Look at shade ranges, for example. We should’ve appealed to everyone from the get-go; it shouldn’t be such a groundbreaking revolution for brands to cater to everyone’s skin tone. There’s always this bittersweet moment of ‘oh yay, it’s happening,’ but there’s always this internal conflict that this shouldn’t have even been a problem to begin with.”
What’s so interesting is how rapidly these changes are coming. Back in the ‘90s and early 2000’s, makeup was so limited. With all of this, how do you see the beauty industry evolving?
“I can’t speak on other brands’ motivations, but I do think that when people feel like they’re considered an afterthought to a brand, the damage has already been done. It seems a little inauthentic when a brand does something just to avoid getting called out on social media. However, inclusion is happening, and I’m glad it is.
“One example of white privilege is that I wasn’t even aware of this problem a few years ago, and now that I’ve seen it I can’t unsee it. I go into drugstores and it’s infuriating when you look at how many varieties of the similar shades available to Caucasian people, and then a single deep shade. It’s really appalling, and there are still too many brands who think this way. People should have access to the products they want to buy, and I hope more brands will provide the things customers not only want, but need.”
“I just feel like brands should represent the people who purchase their products and make them feel seen and valued.”
Another dilemma people are bringing up is that brands pat themselves on the back for expanding their shade ranges, but only focus on adding more shades for white to tan skin tones. They’ll have 50+ versions of the same shade of white, and still leave darker skin tones on the back burner.
“I’ve seen brands do this, and I’ve seen the backlash that comes with it. I don’t know how many people are in the room when these decisions are being made, but it’s a little surprising that they’re releasing shades this way. I think that’s when it’s important to have people of different backgrounds involved. I didn’t want to make decisions for women of color, so I partnered with makeup artists from different backgrounds to build out our shade range. You hear about white women building out shade ranges for women of color, and the shades become completely off because they only think about pigment and not undertones. I learned a lot from working with these makeup artists, and it was a great experience that I think anyone creating a complexion coverage line should experience. It’s good to know when you’re going to hit the mark for everyone you’re trying to provide for.”
How do you think people can educate themselves on all of the wrongdoings going on in beauty, and how can people help change them?
“I think with social media, there’s really no excuse to not be educating oneself. For me, I Googled a lot of different beauty blogs to see the general opinions about different brands and what they were missing. But I will say that with my experience launching SPKTRM, the lab and cosmetic chemistry side is not set up for new brands to launch easily unless they have a lot of funding, which I did not have. I called labs all over the globe, and the pricing was overwhelming. It’s hundreds of dollars for one shade, and you have to purchase thousands of them. It’s hard to get things going financially with just 10 shades, let alone 50. It’s not easy at all, but I firmly believe that it’s all worth it.”
How did the concept of your gender-inclusive campaign come to light?
“I identify as queer, and I’ve been part of the LGBTQ+ community for quite some time. I’ve been around a lot of people who don’t identify and cisgendered women but who still use makeup and cosmetic products. Those products are very important to them for parts of their identity and how they show themselves to the world, and I just feel like there is really no excuse to not be inclusive of these people. It just felt like a natural decision to me. By excluding them, you’re missing an opportunity to connect with people who can be very loyal to your brand. It’s a lose-lose situation on both sides to ignore different demographics.”
Via Osvaldo Ponton
Via Osvaldo Ponton
Even straight men are interested in beauty now, but many times they get shamed for being vocal about their intrigue in cosmetics.
“That’s toxic masculinity at work. It’s not my first priority to destigmatize the cisgendered male’s use of makeup, but it’s on the list.There’s no limit to my vision for inclusivity. I really want anybody who wants to be part of this to be a part of this. I know a lot of people are interested in seeing acne in beauty ads, and that is something I want to explore in my next campaign.”
Acne positivity has become a huge aspect in social media.
“I find it so relieving and empowering that this is happening. I feel that my endgame would be for people to all feel beautiful and self-accepting. I want them to think of makeup as enhancing their natural beauty, not covering it to accept themselves. I hated makeup for a time and I resented having to put it on because I would sit and focus on everything I considered a flaw. Once I worked on a lot of self-healing and self-acceptance without makeup on, that’s when I really started to enjoy it as part of my self care routine.
“I have OCD, and all of my compulsions are related to skin-picking; I also twist my hair constantly. Self-love was a long process for me, especially since I had a hard journey growing up. I had a lot of trauma, and I didn’t do any healing for decades. But over the last couple of years I have committed myself to all kinds of education and tools to help me find happiness on the other side. So that’s become a big mission to me: No matter what anybody’s going through, I want them to be able to find the tools they need, surround themselves with the right people, and unfollow all of the Instagram accounts that make them feel like shit about themselves and replace them with people who inspire them. It’s important for all of us to have a self-love component so we can all excel.”
What’s next for SPKTRM?
“We’re launching with one product per month throughout the year. We’re starting with products that we find are most-needed and aren’t fully supplied by other beauty brands. That’s why we’re starting with our foundations first, and then expanding into concealers. I’m also going to communicate with our first supporters and see what is most of interest to them, and take it from there. I’ve also just been accepted for an accelerator that is going to prepare me to lead a TEDtalk.
“I’m going to share a lot about my journey of being a homeless teen and a high school dropout to where I’m at now, and I hope to inspire people who have great ideas but haven’t yet ignited them. There was a really long time where I felt like my life wasn’t going to be any better, but I never gave up hope. I was dealing with abuse from the time I was a kid until I was 28 years old, all from different people; people who not only didn’t support me, but actually tried to squish my spirit and tell me I was not worthy of success. They would tell me that I was an idiot, that I would never amount to anything, and I had to push back against that. I couldn’t let it become my truth, and I feel like everyone shouldn’t let the backlash of other define who they are. I don’t think I succeed at this all of the time, but you have to know and decide that you’re worth committing the time and effort of healing. Therapy, if you need it, meditation, getting away from toxic people and substances or whatever you’re using to numb the pain… Once I started doing that and really focusing on starting my future in a healthy way, and learning to love myself, things changed pretty rapidly. I’m a very happy person now, and I don’t regret anything I’ve experienced because it gave me that beautiful perspective of what things can be like on the other side. I’m just exceptionally grateful that things are working for me; that I’m getting support; that I’m making progress. It all feels pretty surreal sometimes, but just really wonderful.
“I just want to continue to produce content that pushes back against rigid, unattainable beauty ideals. We’re going to be producing a social impact video series, one per month starting in February, with the first one focusing on the disability community. After that, ageism, racial diversity, and for each project we’re going to connect with different consultants like Jillian Mercado. We just want to hit the mark with what conversations these marginalized groups feel like they need to have.”