Be beautiful, Be you

Emolyne Ramlov, founder of the eponymous make-up brand, talks inclusivity and bringing a colour boost to your bridal beauty

emolyne in a black and gold top
Credit: Tim McBaj

Born in Uganda and raised in Denmark Emolyne Ramlov discovered a passion for make-up upon entering her teenage years. Until the age of 13 when she moved to Europe she hadn't been permitted to wear make-up, which in Africa was seen as a distraction from studying and an unwelcome beginning to a flirtation with the opposite sex. So, it was a complete culture shock for her as she sat alongside her new classmates to find them in full beat and looking glam. "I went home and said to my mum: 'We need to talk!' She took me shopping and I filled my basket with as much make-up as I could. I needed to catch up and I haven't stopped since," she tells us.

County Wedding Magazines' beauty editor, Kelly Andrews, met up with Emolyne to discover more about her journey from passionate teenager to creating her very own make-up brand.

What was the inspiration behind Emolyne? As my love for make-up grew I visited plenty of big stores looking for products to suit my skin tone, but couldn't find the right ones. They had two to three reds perhaps, but none that I liked or were complementary. As I grew older I realised that this was a problem across a lot of different product ranges. There was no single brand offering a matching lipstick, liner and nail polish, so I thought: "Well, I'm just going to do this then!"
I use a lot of reds and nudes myself, so it made sense to start there, making sure that no matter the skin tone someone would be able to get at least one of each. I created 15 reds and 15 nude shades and even then I wasn't sure if I should stop! The range has five colours for light, five for medium and five for dark skin tones. It allows people to pick a different colour for different seasons, as our skin tone changes throughout the year. I also created a kit to save my customers time, meaning once they discover their perfect shade they can easily find the matching products.
When it came to naming this huge range of shades I wanted to be able to tell a story while keeping the brand personal, so I immediately thought of Africa. It was a way of honouring my place of birth and bringing the whole story together. Plus, I knew I could never run out of names if I looked there for inspiration! It's our first anniversary soon and there's been so much to learn over that time. Covid made things difficult as we actually went into lockdown around two weeks before launch. But we'd worked so hard for two-and-a-half years and I didn't want to delay. It was a risk, but luckily it went crazy. Black Lives Matter came along and as an inclusive brand headed up by a black woman there was a lot of interest in what we had to offer. Everything happens for a reason.

two arms with different skin tones with lots of colour patches on them

Tell us more about the ideas, ethics and beliefs the company is founded on. I wanted this brand to be for everyone, no matter their gender or race – if you're into make-up this is the place for you. The selection is big enough that everyone can feel included, which was the key.

How do we achieve that perfect marriage between skin tone and make-up shades? The easiest way for us was to put models on our website covering as many different skin tones as we could. That way customers can see whose is the closest to their own and how each shade looks on her.

Tell us about your own beauty regime. I keep it simple. I wash my face every morning and evening, as well as steaming to open the pores, which allows serums to absorb more effectively. I use serum everywhere – hands, face, neck. These are the areas that start to show signs of age once you reach 40, so it's important to look after them. A dermatologist once told me to use serum on my dry hands, and up to then I'd always thought it was just for the face, but I've never looked back. Ole Henriksen's Truth Serum is my favourite, and not just because he's a fellow Dane!

What are your make-up bag must-haves? Uganda, Casablanca and Abuja are my favourite Emolyne shades. But it's like being asked about my favourite child – they're all my babies! I mainly wear a nude during the day for meetings, and in the evening I prefer reds. I'm particularly into red oranges at the moment. I always carry a nail polish with me too – Cameroon is versatile and works for all skin tones. And tissues... a mum can't work without a tissue!

pencil nail varnish and lip stick in glitter boxes

What's your top wedding-day make-up look? I'd go for something light depending on hair colour and skin tone. Keep it simple, elegant and clean to keep focus on the eyes. You want your new spouse to see you sparkle. For light skin tones I'd recommend Luxor, Eritrea or Ciaro. For medium tones Tanzania, Kampala or Uganda work beautifully. And for darker tones Nairobi, Asmara or Marrakech are all perfect.
Begin by using your favourite moisturiser, I'm a fan of a thick formulation in the winter. That serves as a base for the foundation and concealer. Then, keep building the look until you're happy. Don't start too strong as it's hard to take anything back once you've gone too far.

What advice would you offer a bride who might not be used to wearing make-up but who wants to step it up for the wedding? I'd tone it down, don't use too much. A little colour makes the lips pop, and match that to the eyeshadow for an on trend monochromatic look.

What's the one make-up secret you wish everyone knew? Moisturise properly before you do anything else. That'll give you that all-important glow and sets your make-up for long-lasting perfection. It was essential to me that our lipsticks last so you don't have to keep topping it up throughout the day and that's particularly important for a bride.

What's your proudest achievement so far? Definitely having the brand recognised for inclusivity. I love to see people go on the website and realise just how much choice there is, and hearing them say they just don't know which to choose. The other thing for me was being able to make the products vegan and cruelty-free. I wanted to educate people to care about what they put on their skin, so this makes me really happy.

Is there anything you'd still like to achieve? So much! Every day we listen to our consumers and what they want. So, the next phase for Emolyne Cosmetics is incorporating more skin tones for them, as well as including more models they can identify with. I also want to grow the product categories while staying within the 15 reds and 15 nudes concept. Look out for our pop ups too. Our original plans for these had to be cancelled due to Covid, but I still want somewhere for people to experience the range in real life, so they'll be coming soon.

Find your perfect match at

three lip liners on pink background

Kimberley Hall Wedding Show


Ravenwood Hall Hotel Wedding Show


Sprowston Manor Wedding Show


Kesgrave Hall Wedding Show