Iman

Iman At-A-Glance

Strengths: One good water-soluble cleanser; outstanding topical scrub; the powders; good eyeshadows and lipsticks, in shades complementary to women with darker skin tones.

Weaknesses: Several products contain irritating ingredients; bar soaps; no products to successfully address acne without making matters worse; ineffective skin-lightening products; no reliable sunscreens; foundation formulas have become dated; the concealer; the Luxury Lip Shimmer.

The skin-care collection from Iman isn't nearly as comprehensive or helpful as the makeup. It is clear from the inconsistencies that Iman (or the people who created her line) is not up to speed on several key skin-care issues, not the least of which is sun protection. There are a few winners in the skin-care selection, but far more disappointments than there should be, and that weakens things overall.

For more information about Iman, call (877) 367-4626 or visit www.imanbeauty.com.

Iman Makeup

Iman's makeup debuted in 1994 and at the time was a formidable collection of products built around the needs of women of color, whether of African-American, Asian, or Latina descent. Although that is still the backbone of the line, the products haven't received much attention since the previous edition of this book. As a result, many of them have fallen behind by not keeping pace with formulary advancements, including newer pigment technology.

The foundation shade range remains decent, but the formulas are severely out of date, especially noticeable in the area of inadequate sun protection. Reasons to shop this line (if you can find it, but we'll get to that in a minute) are the silky-smooth face powders and the densely pigmented eyeshadows and lipsticks (though the lipsticks aren't for anyone prone to feathering, and the lip liner is too creamy to anchor lipstick).

Distribution-wise, Iman is no longer sold in department stores. Once a mainstay at JCPenney, the line was left looking for a home when this retailer disbanded its cosmetics department. Where is Iman sold now? In the south and in California you'll find it at select Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and Target stores. On the East Coast it's available at Walgreens and Duane Reade. Several states do not offer the product line at all, including Arizona, the Dakotas, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. It is occasionally carried in select Ulta boutiques. This uneven distribution isn't all that bad, however, because most of the major cosmetics players are ably serving women of color in the way Iman originally intended but for whatever reason didn't maintain.

Note: The products below are representative of what was advertised on Iman's Web site. Other Web sites, such as www.walgreens.com, offer additional Iman makeup items, but they are old stock and are no longer promoted on Iman's namesake site. In other words, buyer beware, because who knows how old those products really are.

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