New products

Ring of Color Lipstick Has New Products After Rebranding

There are a lot of misconceptions about what beauty is supposed to look like in the makeup industry, according to Melissa Polanco, a 37-year-old Grand Rapidian of 20, who grew up in the Dominican Republic. The goal when she started her cosmetics company was simply to represent not just women of color — women like her — but everyone, for every skin tone.

“A lot of people don’t see faces that look like their own when browsing social media sites or looking at the ads that line the walls of national makeup retailers like Sephora and Ulta,” Polanco said. “You’re also not going to see a lot of brands that are owned by women and especially women of color. There aren’t a lot of makeup brands that are owned by Latina women.

So Polanco set out to change all that.

She started the makeup business in 2018 with her sister, Lissa Martinez, with no experience in product development. Polanco had gone to Grand Rapids Community College and transferred to MSU where she earned her degree in zoology.

She always wanted to have her own brand, so she and her sister got together to do some research and Googled: “How to start a business” and “How to form an LLC”. She researched makeup manufacturing companies and connected with a company in Canada to manufacture her products. Soon the couple were selling their trademark makeup at pop-up markets and even had space in Studio Park before the pandemic hit. They named the brand by combining the names of their two daughters and created “Ella’s Eve”.

“I was trying to celebrate diversity and that name, Ella’s Eve, just didn’t connect with people,” Polanco said.

So Polanco entered a local pitch contest and won a $10,000 marketing services prize from Palco Brands marketing. The brand marketing company has found a new name: Ring of Color.

“No pun intended,” Polanco said. “But it sounds good. It makes more sense because it’s just a circle to celebrate everyone.

Polanco has had no shortage of success in the competition category. She participated in Start Garden’s “100 ideas” competition and was selected two years in a row. She also won $5,000 in another Start Garden launch contest.

On March 31, she changed her name. This time alone. Polanco is now marketing its Ring of Color products directly to consumers and is in talks with an undisclosed online marketplace. His products can be purchased on his company’s website,, as well as

Ring of Color lipsticks are cruelty-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic. Shade range is limited and designed to look good on any skin tone

“The lipsticks are comfortable and don’t dry out. It lasts a very long time and you can wear it all day,” Polanco said.

The Ring of Color product line includes Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick, which “starts out as a creamy velvet and dries to a comfortable, non-drying matte finish. It comes in three colors: Killara, a red and orange terracotta; and Power, which she describes as a “toasted rose medium nude”. The third is Valentina, a warm and deep pink color. There’s also Vinyl Lip Lacquer, a hybrid formula that offers the shine of a lip gloss and the “full color” of a lipstick, Polanco said. Other colors include names like Fallen Roses, Sweet, and Truffle.

New products to be launched soon are vegan, cruelty-free and simply gorgeous: the first is called ‘Color Me Diamond Lip Gloss’, a vegan sheer gloss formula infused with shimmer and glitter for luscious lips. The product is available in two colors: Daria (baby pink) and Sierra (peach nude).

Polanco said the second is “Creamy Crayon Liners,” lip liners that outline, define and fill lips with a creamy, buttery-soft liner with emollients like coconut oil, fruit waxes and sunflower seed oil. The lip liners are available in Rosa, a nude “dusty” pink color, and Berry, a mauve berry color.