Is The Beauty Industry Failing People of Colour?


Buying a foundation when you’re not white is a very difficult and frustrating experience. As a student, I can’t always splash out on more expensive brands that offer matching services so have to rely on local drugstore brands such as Loreal, Rimmel and Maybeline. It is almost humorous how the majority of shades are so much lighter than my skin- and I’m mixed race. Black people stand no near to no chance finding a foundation, concealer or even a contour shade sold by the drugstores or even many of the high end beauty retailers. 

However, since the release of Fenty Beauty, which featured 40 shades of foundation on its first release, it is like brands have finally realised people of colour exist. Only a week or so after Fenty was released, Mac were bringing out adverts with many black models as if they had always been so celebratory of all shades. Fenty definitely must be applauded for planning and releasing a full spectrum of shades in one go, as is seen on their advertising it is inclusive of models from all ethnicities, sizes and looks.

Why is it that so many brands get away with ignoring such a large part of society? Such a large part of the makeup economy? Inclusivity must pay off as Fenty had huge success with most shades selling out online and in stores. Any public uproar on the lack of diversity in makeup is responded to with a promise that they will release more shades as soon as possible.  Twitter, Instagram and Facebook seem to be the only way that this type of injustice is recognised even though many brands happily display their 30 shades of white/porcelain/snow/powder in shop windows and advertisements (as can be seen in the Yves St Laurent foundation shades which feature 12 white shades with 2 designed with darker skinned people in mind.

(Yves St Laurent foundation shades)

There is also the slightly less obvious ignorance in the makeup industry where shades of products such as lipstick are designed purely and solely for lighter skinned people. Recent backlashes include disgust over the Kim Kardashian Beauty's choice of model to represent the 'deep dark' product, a model who is no where near a 'deep dark' skin tone. Kim was accused of legitimising and replicating colourism by completely cutting out dark skin women. However, the product still sold out and Kim Kardashian Beauty made $14 million in 5 minutes. So why would KKB ever decide to appeal to all tones when they're making profits of that size?

 (Official images of Kim Kardashian Beauty shades medium, dark and deep dark)

Personally, I will be making sure that I support inclusive brands that remember that black people wear makeup too and you should as well!  This is 2017 and the makeup industries ignorance should no longer be tolerated.

What do you think?

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