The Scoop: After earning her Cosmetic Science degree, Florence Adepoju launched MDMflow to offer nourishing beauty and skincare products for women of every skin tone. MDMflow, based in London, has found plenty of success with its unexpected lipstick colors, ranging from black to almost-neon pink. It also offers more subtle, classic shades so women can decide if they want to look eye-catching or more understated on dates.
When she was a teenager, Florence Adepoju worked at beauty counters in high-end London department stores. As a Black woman, she noticed that many of the products the stores sold didn’t suit people of all skin tones.
One day, the employees who worked at the makeup counter in her department store had the opportunity to visit the headquarters of a major cosmetics company. Once she saw how the products were made, she was confident she could develop a more inclusive beauty line of her own.
“I wanted to create products that let everyone express themselves through color without having to worry if the shade would be suitable or work for them,” Florence told us.
Florence, who has a degree in Cosmetic Science, launched MDMflow with the ultimate goal of creating a beauty empire, and she developed a product line that reflects her personality and what matters to her.
“MDMflow is an accumulation of all of Florence’s obsessions; the colors black and gold, hip hop, beauty, fashion, and science,” reads an excerpt from the MDMflow website.
Initially, the company offered black mascara and nine shades of lipstick. Now, MDMflow has expanded to provide a variety of makeup products, including Baume Flow, a lip gloss that women can also wear on their eyes and cheeks. Its Liquid Lipsticks have a glossy finish, and Semi-Matte lipsticks come in a variety of unique colors. The company still makes mascara, but it often sells out quickly.
MDMflow has amassed a dedicated following, and major London retailers, including Topshop and Harvey Nichols, started carrying its products early on. Celebrity Lena Dunham also supported Florence’s career by posting her picture on Instagram and placing a large order for the company’s blue lipsticks.
Today, MDMflow continues to grow its presence outside of the UK and help customers around the world feel more confident in their own skin — whether they’re on a date or at a board meeting.
Using Science to Develop Innovative Products
While in college, Florence realized she could use her love of chemistry and science to perfect her beauty line. She changed course to pursue a degree in Cosmetic Science at the London College of Fashion. Florence also wanted her cosmetics to represent her: a laid-back woman with a flair for street fashion.
According to an article in Teen Vogue: “The brand’s aesthetic is an ode to ’90s hip-hop culture (the gold metal tubing is inspired by chains that rappers wore throughout the decade) and the lipsticks are named after songs Florence listened to growing up, such as ‘Sweet Escape’ (Gwen Stefani) and ‘Bossy’ (Kelis).”
MDMflow began in Florence’s parents’ garden shed in Essex, England. Over the years, the products grew in popularity, but the ethos stayed the same: to create science-driven products that women feel comfortable wearing. That means MDMflow products are nourishing and non-drying, distinguishing them from other lip products.
That dedication and popularity have allowed Florence to expand the team behind the products.
“Because of the science focus of the brand, we develop products in-house. We plug in whoever we think can provide a specific service, which is different from your traditional brand. We feel like being agile can make us more responsive to changes,” Florence said.
Florence also leveraged her years of experience at the makeup counter to make lip products that women want.
“I would show a woman 20 different nude shades. She would like five but not be able to decide on one and then leave with nothing. I want my nude to be the solution,” Florence told Teen Vogue magazine.
Bright, Bold Lip Colors for Everyone
Florence thought younger women would be the company’s core demographic. But it turns out that women of all ages and ethnicities use the products to look great for dates or other occasions.
“We don’t think of someone in her 60s rocking a big pink lipstick, but older women love our bright pink. It reminds them of colors that were popular when they were younger,” said Florence. “Because of the formula, they don’t have to worry about it bleeding into their lips. And it’s a moisturizing formula, as well.”
Most lip products are designed for daily wear and look great on women of all skin colors, though the company also makes bold colors, including blue, orange, and pink. The Mas Marina Semi-Matte lipstick is a blue shade, while the Panther Classic is a bright, almost fluorescent pink.
“Wearing these bold colors helps with people’s confidence,” Florence told us.
Women who prefer more subtlety on their date night have plenty of options, too. The New Nude Liquid Lipstick is a neutral color, while the Empire State Liquid Lipstick is a rosy cranberry shade.
One MDMflow fan wrote a glowing five-star review of the Empire State product.
“The package of two small tubs of lip gloss and the Matte finish Empire State liquid lipstick arrived last night… I ABSOLUTELY love it!!! It compliments my skin tone!”
Its Baume Flow products offer subtle shimmering colors for more understated looks. Baume Flow is meant to be worn on lips and eyes, though some women use it as a highlighter, as well. MDMflow makes it from coconut oil and shea butter, so it is designed to be non-sticky and non-drying.
MDMflow: Big Plans for a Beauty Empire
Many women use MDMflow’s products to look good on dates. Many fans of the line say the company’s offerings make them more confident — especially because they are long-lasting and comfortable to wear.
“Our clients appreciate knowing that they’ll look the same as they did when the date started at the end. Women can sometimes have anxiety about how they look as dates. So, the quality of our product is important,” Florence told us.
Florence has even had women tell her they wore MDMflow on their wedding days — perhaps the most important makeup day of their lives.
Over the last year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baumes Flows have been big sellers for the company. Many women still enjoy feeling good for stay-at-home dates.
“They’re nourishing and light. If you’re at home and don’t want to have a full face, it’s not a difficult thing to quickly put on, she said.
Next up for MDMflow is expanding to areas beyond just lip products. Today, the company offers lip products and one mascara. However, Florence said the company is preparing for a big launch in the eye category in summer 2021.
Most people can’t say their childhood dreams came true, but Florence is on her way to achieving the beauty empire she always dreamed of. And women around the world love her products.
She’s also proud that she makes products for women of all skin tones.
“It gives me so much validation that I’m doing the right thing. People connect with our products; they make them their own. No matter what your skin tone is, our products will work for you,” she said.