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For Its First-Ever Influencer Collaboration, Lancôme Debuts Lipsticks With Camila Coelho

We spoke with the super-influencer about growing up with the brand, and why authenticity has been the key to her success.
Camila Coehlo for Lancôme. Photo: @camilacoelho/Instagram

Camila Coehlo for Lancôme. Photo: @camilacoelho/Instagram

As common as the practice is, brands don't just align with influencers and celebrities on a whim. (Risk factors do exist, after all.) Just ask Lancôme, the iconic beauty brand that has held off on entering the entire world of influencer product collaborations altogether. That is, until it recently found the perfect partner in Camila Coelho.

The makeup brand confirmed via Instagram last week that it had teamed up with the Brazilian-born super-influencer to create L'Absolu Rouge, a collection of 10 limited edition lipsticks (ranging from universal neutrals to poppy pinks and sultry reds), available in both cream and matte finishes. For the collection, Coelho worked closely with industry legend and Lancôme Global Makeup Creative Director, Lisa Eldridge, infusing the 10 shades with her own personal touches inspired by her celebrated Brazilian heritage and world travels. Oh, and we can't forget the packaging: Each bullet is made ready for Instagram, with the bullets themselves shaped like lips and housed in red cases with gold accents.

It should be noted that with a self-titled beauty and style blog, two YouTube channels — one English, one Portuguese — with 4.5 million combined subscribers, and over 7.4 million Instagram followers, Coelho is a brand's dream on paper. But after speaking with her over the phone to chat about the collection, it's clear that her warm, sincere enthusiasm for beauty also had a lot to do with her being chosen as Lancôme's first-ever influencer collaboration.

Ahead, Coelho reflects on working with the legendary makeup company, keeping inclusion top of mind, and why listening to your followers is the most important thing an influencer can do.

How did the partnership with Lancôme first come about? How did you react when you found out it was officially happening? 

I screamed a lot [laughs]. My relationship with Lancôme started three and a half years ago. One of our goals when we started working with brands was to have long-term relationships — quality over quantity, because I believe that everything I talk about I need to love. So when we had our first lunch with Lancôme, I told them how I grew up seeing my mom use their products — especially the lipsticks and perfumes. After that, they contacted me and we started working together on YouTube videos, Instagram mentions and all new launches.

The second step of our relationship was traveling together: We traveled to a few places, the last [being] Cannes, where they launched a new mascara. On that trip, someone from Lancôme mentioned something to me about creating a line with them. But you never know if it's going to happen or not. Then the email really came in with the proposal and I just couldn't believe it.

It's such a huge deal not only because Lancôme is so iconic, but because they've never done an influencer collaboration before. What does it mean to you to be the first?

It's such a big responsibility because it's the first time that Lancôme has put someone's name on their product. For me to be chosen and to do it with such an iconic brand that I love is such a big deal and so important.

How involved were you in the early stages of the collection?

I was really hands-on, because if I'm creating a product, it needs to be me. It needs to translate what I like and the colors that I think will work. I was so happy that they were really open with that because they're very careful with their branding. I was super happy that I was able to create exactly what I wanted.

The Camila Coehlo for Lancôme range. Photo: @camilacoelho/Instagram

The Camila Coehlo for Lancôme range. Photo: @camilacoelho/Instagram

Can you share a bit about the process? 

The second part of it was going to South of France to the factory where I got to work with Lisa Eldridge. She gave me a lot of tips on colors and what works for the brand. It's important to have your background [in the product] but also keep the brand's DNA. But really, what I wanted fit the brand anyway, so it was easy. I really felt like I was just cooking products and trying a million colors. It's hard to choose only 10. For me, it was a like such an honor to have [Lisa] there because I admire her so much.

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Going in to the process did you already have an idea of what colors you wanted to include?

I did, I wanted to create colors that would work for every skin tone. That was the number-one thing, because I have followers from all around the world, and there's people with different backgrounds. One of the biggest things today that I notice is people looking for colors that will match their skin tone and, with lipstick, it's the same as with foundation. You can have the best nude lipstick, but if it doesn't work on fair skin and really dark skin tones, it's not versatile.

You also mentioned on Instagram that the lipsticks were inspired by travel and Brazil, where you're from. How did you manage to tie those ideas into the final colors?

I'm Brazilian, and a lot of people know I'm Brazilian. I'm very proud to be Brazilian. Living in the U.S., I always want to link my country to me because it's so special to me, and I have a lot of followers that are from Brazil. We did that with the names, like, "Copacabana" or "Ipanema Sunrise," which is a coral. 

Linking something to travel, which is [part of my] lifestyle, just makes sense. We have "California Burgundy" and "Parisian Nude," which is the chicest nude we have in the collection. Paris is a place I travel to often. I really tried to link [the shades] to places because people love that. 

The business of being an influencer has evolved so much over the last few years. How do you continue to differentiate yourself?

When I started eight years ago, I didn't expect for it to become my job at all. It was a time where there were [fewer] people doing it. It wasn't very respected — being an influencer wasn't a job back then. Today, it's [easier] for whoever's coming in because people know it works. But it's getting really saturated. How you stand out today and how you keep up is being really authentic and being real to your brand, and saying no. We say a lot of no's. I'm not going to work with a brand or talk about a product that I don't like or didn't work for me. I try every single product that comes in before I say yes to a deal. I need to love it to talk about it, and that's how you keep your followers' trust.

What are other ways you've built your relationship with your followers?

I talk a lot with my followers on YouTube and [Instagram] Stories. It's very important to stay personal. I have someone on my team that separates all the emails with suggestions and feedback, so I can read them every Friday and know what my followers are saying. It's really important to listen to your followers.

Since you're trying so many different products all of the time, can you share your everyday beauty routine?

If it's a normal day, skin care is a must: If you don't have good skin, makeup is not going to look good, your pores are going to be crazy. Every night, I'll do at least five steps, even if I'm traveling: cleansing, toner and essence. Then I'll do a serum, and even a mask sometimes. I love taking care of my skin. That's therapy for me. In the morning, my skin-care routine isn't so long, but I'll still do the toner and a lighter serum and always sunscreen. 

On a regular day, I'd say my makeup is lightweight, but also photo-ready, because I never know when I'm going to do a Snap or see someone on the street and take a selfie. My go-to is BB cream, and concealer always. If you have a good concealer on, it's going to hide everything that you want to hide. And then a shimmery blush, like a peachy blush and liquid highlighter on the highest spots of my face. And always lipstick. I'll also do mascara of course.

A lot of times I'll go out without mascara anything on my eyes, but that's the reason why I did lips with Lancôme because — and my followers know me for this — I always have lipstick on. You will never see a video of me without like a little something on my lips, even if it's a tinted balm or a lip liner only.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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