Lip Service

Dessa and The Elixery: a first in Minnesota celebrity/brand collaborations

Talk about a rock-star product: The Elixery, a PETA-certified cosmetics house led by chemist Karoline Wells, teamed up with hip-hop phenom Dessa and Emmy-winning makeup artist Crist Ballas to create a lipstick.

That’s a (pretty) mouthful.

Ballas and Wells worked to create the perfect red for Dessa’s olive skin. “Every year or so, I wander home with a shade of lipstick or blush that would be best worn by a blue-eyed Norwegian milkmaid,” Dessa says.

There’s a reason it’s hard to find colors in this range, Wells says: it takes “a lot of extra formulating.” And yet, “Dessa” is universally flattering.

Dessa and Wells’s similar views on social justice and feminist issues add power to the project. “Karoline is a businesswoman with a conscience, and a dedicated scientist with an uncompromising standard of excellence,” Dessa says. “It was heartening to discover an independent cosmetic house that I could support philosophically.”

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Profits from Dessa’s lipstick will go to the Power Within Campaign by CARE, which educates young women. “It seems to be a great return on investment,” Dessa says.