Crush Of The Week

SHADE M | The Dubai-based cruelty free, halal, vegan lipstick brand you need to know

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After years of trying different lipsticks that would never really deliver -too sticky, too dry, not pigmented enough- we really thought we wouldn’t see the day we’d actually love to tint our lips.
Tested and approved, SHADE M is a Dubai-based beauty brand launched by Nour Khalife and Jolie Nubani, who met while working at L’Oréal. Together, they developed this unique vegan, cruelty free, halal certified, PETA approved brand that truly keep its promises. Trust us, eat the pasta and check yourself after: SHADE M doesn’t move!
We wanted to know a little but more about Nour, Jolie and the brand. Discover SHADE M.

Interview/Cynthia Jreige

Can you please tell us the story of SHADE M, how did it start and how did the idea come to life?

Nour Khalife: Let’s start by giving you a little bit of background about Jolie and I. We met over ten years ago while working at L’Oreal in Dubai. Between the two of us, we have over 18 years of experience in the luxury beauty space working for big multinationals like L’Oreal, Chanel and LVMH and on brands like Yves Saint Laurent, G.Armani, Benefit cosmetics and Chanel, both in the GCC and in the USA. 
Working in dynamic global luxury beauty brands and markets taught us so much about strategy, passion, leadership, growing a makeup business and also allowed us to identify market gaps! It was so obvious that there was a narrow scope regarding representation and development of products for ethnic women like ourselves, being both of Middle Eastern descent.
Recognizing this challenge, we wanted to create a makeup brand that speaks to women who have been overlooked by mainstream brands. That includes representation in both identity and ethos, insuring all women are able to experience products without sacrificing on quality and on their ethical requirements. As a result we decided to create Shade M, makeup made for every shade. A highly pigmented, clean, halal certified, vegan friendly and cruelty free makeup brand. We believe in everyone loving and owning who they are, being the truest form of themselves and proudly admitting, “I am my own shade!”.  The brand has a mission to drive this message into a global reality.


What is so particular about the SHADE M lipsticks? I’ve tried them and they truly stay on through dinner! It’s magical.

This is like music to our ears! We are so glad that you have liked our lipsticks! And yes they are really long lasting! Not only that, they are also non-drying and packed with pigments.
When we worked on the formulation of our Muse Matte liquid lipsticks range, we were obsessed with creating a lipstick that didn’t compromise on quality, ethics and product design. We have perfected a better-for-you formula that is not only clean (free from 15 toxic ingredients), but also halal certified, vegan friendly and cruelty free. With inclusivity and diversity in mind, we made it a mission to cover the best shades of nudes, pinks, reds, purples, and even silver. Now, the range offers 15 shades of highly pigmented and long-lasting liquid lipsticks, made in Italy, imbued with a non-drying matte formula, built with a custom technology to keep the moisture in and leave you with a non-transferable matte lip to last you the whole day.
The formula and the brand identity stole the hearts of many and helped Shade M Muse Matte liquid lipstick win the Pure Beauty London 2020 Gold award for the Best New Inclusive Makeup Product, only few months after its launch!

How has the brand been received by the public, and what were some of the best feedback?

We launched the brand in February 2020 through and we have just entered the Middle East. We are actually really overwhelmed by the overall response that we are getting! People are loving the texture, the colours and the performance of our Matte liquid lipsticks. They love how deeply pigmented, non-drying and long-lasting they are while still being Clean, Halal Certified, Vegan Friendly and Cruelty Free. The better-for-you promise while delivering on product efficacy is a major win with users!
For the lipstick lovers, they are over the moon that they can wear it under their masks without smudging!
Beyond that, women love our packaging and genuinely resonate with our mission to partner with female artists from around the world to collaborate on the design of our packaging.

How does living in Dubai influence your way of thinking business-wise but also how does it inspire you in terms of make-up creation?

Dubai is a cosmopolitan city where all ethnicities mix and where the beauty scene is extremely vibrant and competitive. It is where we learnt the business and the base of our knowledge that we have enriched with our international exposure to adapt our proposition to a Dubai but also a more global conscious consumer.
This also reflects on our makeup creation.

Who does what at Shade M between you Jolie and you Nour?

At Shade M we really work as a team and take main decisions jointly. Our partnership is based on trust, respect and transparency and really allows us to celebrate every milestone we achieve as well as address every point we need to improve on in all maturity.
For our business to function efficiently, we do believe in having separate tasks that we lead on. Nour Khalife is the co-founder and CEO and responsible of the management of all finances, logistics, legal and business development. Jolie Nubani is the co-founder and CMO and takes care of the operational and development marketing, PR and customer service.
We are a small team and we work enormously together. In addition to this, a big part of our strategy at this stage is to maintain a lean structure and leverage the power of freelancers and partners in our daily work.

What are the next plans for the brand?

We launched Shade M in February 2020 through, with a main focus on the US and UK markets, and also delivering to the GCC.
We have just crossed a major milestone with entering the GCC in February 2021 with a partnership with Faces in UAE. We will also launch very soon in KSA with Faces on which we are extremely excited about! A wider geographical expansion is planned gradually.
We will also be extending our catalogue with new launches. We have indeed started with lips, but our vision is to cover all categories gradually and have a full makeup catalogue. Stay tuned and follow us on IG @ShadeMBeauty

If you both had to choose one shade, which one would it be and why? I’ve particularly been loving Shade 4!

Shade No 4, Foxy is indeed a really distinctive color! It falls into our red category and has a terracotta undertone! Really beautiful.
Having worked on the development of all shades makes it difficult to pick our favourites as we learnt to fall in love with all!
Having said that, one really cool thing about Jolie and I is that we are so different and so compatible in many ways that it makes answering this question a bit easier.
Jolie is obsessed with nudes… and I am purely in love with red lips.
Our picks would be Desrose (No 10) and Nar (No 2).
Desrose (No 10) is our universal nude shade. It is without any doubt the perfect nude for every woman. You can’t go wrong with it and it seems to steal the hearts of every person who tries it. It’s our best seller.
Nar (No 2) is a power statement! It’s a warm red that goes with all skin tones. A safe, yet very seductive and strong shade. If you love red lips or want to experiment with more daring colours, then this is your perfect go-to!
That being said, we do believe though in self-expression and in wearing what makes YOU happy!

Nour Khalife & Jolie Nubani, founders of SHADE M