Polished Looks for All Skin TonesLynette Smithon August 24, 2021 at 12:49 pm

As a college student in Chicago, Rachel James coveted the vibrant nail polishes she saw modeled on social media. But the posts also vexed her: The lacquers looked great on white hands  —  but would that be true for a Black woman like her? Inspired, she began mixing her own colors, using her friends as test subjects to determine how the shades worked against various skin tones. Pear Nova’s flagship suite of polishes, BrwnGrlMgc, was born. Ranging from the milky beige Frida Be Free to the bronze-brown glitz of Cleo F*ckin Patra, the four nudes flatter all  —  yes, all  —  skin tones. “The success of that collection was the stamp of approval we needed,” says the 33-year-old, who’s expanded the line to include a kaleidoscope of colors. Sales more than doubled last year, a feat that can be credited not only to the pandemic  —  which had people polishing at home  —  but also to Oprah Winfrey, who featured four hues in December’s “Favorite Things” list. Look for a holiday collection this fall: In it, James surprises by ditching clichés for turquoise and rose gold. 2150 S. Canalport Ave., Pilsen

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