Style & Shopping

Style File: Local Beauty Brand SOLSIS Brings Community to the Forefront

Founder Joyce Arias donates a portion of sales from her cruelty-free and vegan products to nonprofits that support underserved communities.
—Photography by Julie Hove Andersen

To red lip or not to red lip? If you ask Joyce Arias, founder and owner of Baltimore-based online beauty brand SOLSIS, it’s not even a question.

Sure, an understated lip color that flatters all skin tones is definitely a go-to. But for Arias, it’s red lipstick that really makes a statement and packs a punch. And it was a red lip—which she also sees as a nod to her Latina heritage—that propelled her beauty product journey.

Since she’s a marketing professional by trade, it didn’t take long for Arias to discover that Hispanic and Black women dominate the beauty category—in terms of spending.

“[But then] I started looking at ownership,” she says. There was a quite a gap. “We don’t see that representation. And that really drove me to say, you know what? I’m going to do this. I’m going to launch a beauty brand.”

As Arias began to research what might go into creating these products, she knew she wanted to make them right, and that meant using cruelty-free and vegan ingredients. It took a year, but by August 2019, she introduced her signature red lipstick, “Mamacita.”

For Arias, wearing makeup has always been a simple thing she does to feel empowered.

“I am not a professional makeup artist; I just happen to love makeup,” she admits. “You don’t have to be an expert, and you can experiment. I think that’s super important and is the heart of our brand because it’s for everyday women.”

To be clear, SOLSIS sells more than red lipstick. The line has expanded a lot in the past two years.

“Getting a lot of feedback fuels how I prioritize products. I’m listening to women in terms of what they like, what they want, what they can’t find, and then tailoring [my products] to that.”

This month, SOLSIS will introduce a much-requested new product line to its online shop: mascara. But it doesn’t stop there.

“I want people to feel connected to [the brand] in more ways than one,” Arias says.

She even crowd-sources her product names (a recent crowd pick was the name of her brown lipstick shade: “Spice Rum”). She also makes a point to donate portions of sales to nonprofits that are doing work that empowers and aids underserved communities. And listening to her customers extends beyond the makeup: During holidays and heritage months throughout the year, SOLSIS supports various nonprofits that the customers vote online to support.

Says Arias, “Giving back to the community is truly embedded into everything that we do.”