“My gray hair is like my new unibrow, I never in my life thought that I’d have gray hair so publicly,” Shari Siadat tells me over the phone. The 40-year-old mother of three has spent the past year formulating TooD, a beauty brand designed to be ageless, genderless, and multipurpose. Launching today, the line’s 10-shade range of Brow Color Creams with names like “Push/Pull” (an aquatic green), “Brother/Sister” (a holographic opal), and “Asleep/Awake” (a mauve-y purple), are also wearable on lips, lids, cheekbones—or, for our interview, on Siadat’s silver roots that she stopped dyeing during the pandemic. “I’m free of everything that made me feel like I wouldn’t be worthy or that I’d be expired because I had gray hair,” she says. It’s admittedly been quite a trip.
The daughter of Iranian immigrants, Siadat spent her youth in Maryland, Florida, and New Jersey soaking up suburban culture and asking her mom for permission to tweeze her natural unibrow. After decades of grooming two very distinct arches to fit into America’s “Euro-centric” beauty codes, she got tired of trying to look like a different person rather than seeing her own heritage represented on magazine covers and television screens. She started writing a children’s book where the hero character was a little girl with a unibrow, and discussions gave Siadat the idea for TooD. “I told my book agent ‘I have a really good idea of a complementary product that I want to bundle with the book,’” she says of envisioning colored paints that could be applied “like a superhero mask.” Her agent encouraged Siadat to put the book on pause and shared the contact of a cosmetics lab.Photo: Cass Bird / Courtesy of TooD
In the hyper-saturated beauty landscape, Siadat wanted to make sure she wasn’t adding more dangerous chemicals to the mix. “I was not aware until I became pregnant how toxic pretty much everything I owned was–I went to the lab with a list of ingredients that I’d researched online myself,” she remembers of her “NO list” of endocrine and hormone disruptors. “I said, ‘this is what I can’t have in a TooD beauty product.’” She laid out color palettes, explained a texture that she wanted for the hero formula, and asked them to go and build it. That was August of 2019, and now, she’s tight (like weekly phone calls tight) with the same Long Island team who formulated the color creams, along with a lab in Tennessee that creates TooD’s Turn It On Soap Brows, and an Atlanta company for the brand’s reusable silicone Magic Swab. “Every product is made in the USA and I’m very proud of that,” says Siadat.Photo: Cass Bird / Courtesy of TooDPhoto: Cass Bird / Courtesy of TooD
Even with the line in production, she’s researching what’s next. “I think it’s important to not rest and pat yourself on the back,” she says of a responsibility to continuously research better, safer ingredient swaps. “As technologies advance, we always have to be going back to the lab.” For now, since the term “clean” is a “wild west” for brands, Siadat has again used industry research to her advantage. “We are working within the Sephora, Ulta, Credo, and Goop clean standards as a baseline on our formulations,” she says, adding that the company is globally compliant within regulations for Canada, UK, EU, and the Middle East. It all plays into her promise of creating an intergenerational product, one that won’t worry her if her daughters smear it on their lips (and accidentally eat some of it), or her mother wears it on her eyelids. The Brow Color Creams gain buildable metallic payoff from ethically sourced mica powder, raising a good question: if a tiny brand can figure out how to avoid the mineral’s cycle of child labor and unfair wages, why shouldn’t Big Beauty?Photo: Cass Bird / Courtesy of TooD
In Siadat’s dream world, TooD offers a way of playing up, rather than tamping down, natural features that have historically been stigmatized. “We’re all animals with hair on our bodies, there’s no shame around it. What creativity could emerge from it?” she asks. Coppery, golden shades like “Real/Fake” and “Sun/Moon” have an effect similar to dimensional highlights on strands, and the bolder pigments are sheer enough to layer and create entirely new hues on skin. “It reminds me of being in school when I would mix all of my watercolors together and my mind would blow when I’d see a new color come out of them,” Siadat says with a laugh. She even chose the lip-gloss-esque applicator for its familiar ease of use, “so you could apply it to your brows, your lids, as highlighter, as lipstick, in your chest hair,” she says. “We really believe in makeup for everybody and everywhere—it’s for you to decide where you want to put it.”