The Lack of Inclusivity in the Makeup Industry
I’m all for new makeup from new brands and new makeup artists. Sephora is stacked with high end brands that come out with new products every month! And although there are hundreds of makeup companies in-store and online, there always seems to be one common mistake they make without fail: lack of inclusivity.
Influencers and beauty gurus have talked about the lack of shade ranges of different makeup products for years, and things really started looking up when Fenty Beauty (a makeup brand developed by the Queen herself, Rihanna) came out with an INITIAL launch of 40 foundation shades back in 2017 which have now been expanded to 50!
Just to put things in perspective, when Too Faced (another higher-end makeup company) first launch their popular “Born This Way” foundation back in 2015, they only released 12 shades. An article written by Bustle back in May 2015 stated, “[Born This Way Foundation] comes in twelve different shades, from the ultra-light Porcelain to the deep Caramel, so there’s truly something for everyone.”
Yes, 12 shades 100% includes all skin tones from all countries and totally doesn’t cater to only lighter skin toned people and exclude minority groups….note the sarcasm.
You know what I see? I see 6 shades for lighter skin tones and 6 shades for light-medium skin tones….ladies and gentlemen, that’s what the makeup industry considers inclusive! Catering towards two skin tones even though there are at least 3 other skin tone ranges on the spectrum that aren’t being represented! (one again note the sarcasm).
Granted, this was back in 2015 where the concept of inclusivity was foreign to a lot of makeup companies. And now Too Faced has expanded the shade range in this foundation line to 35 shades (which is way better than their initial launch!) But it is important to state that the Fenty Beauty Foundation launched only 2 years after the Too Faced one did; and Too Faced only launched more shades to their initial collection in 2018, after Fenty Beauty rose to fame.
Unfortunately, it is still a hard task for people with darker skin tones (and even super light skin tones!) to find certain makeup products that work for them. For example, a lot of darker skin tones typically have red undertones, but not all do! Yet many brands decide to make all foundation shades catered towards darker skin tones with red undertones even though many still have pink, golden and neutral undertones!
Foundation and concealer aren’t the only two products that feel impossible to hurdle, but products like bronzer and contour are difficult for even medium skin tone people to find!
I’m a medium skin toned girl who can never seem to find a bronzer color dark enough to sculpt her face. And many people use the defense, “but you’re already tanned! Why do you need bronzer?” And to that I respond with an eye roll.
The point isn’t that because we are already “dark” we don’t need to sculpt or warm our face. We still do! We do get pale after applying foundation and concealer, and some of us like contouring our non-existent cheekbones and jawline! But how are we supposed to do that with a shade that’s already the color of my skin, and for darker toned people, could act more like a pressed-setting powder than an actual bronzer.
Inclusivity is giving the same time and effort to all ranges of skin tones. Making 3 deep to dark shades and 27 light to medium shades in a 30 shade line of foundation or concealers is not being inclusive. Making 5 shades for each skin tone within that 30 shade line, however, is inclusive because you’re making an equal effort to cater to each skin tone!
It’s also not fair to say that all super light or super dark skin toned people can only have access to one foundation line from one company (like Fenty Beauty). That isn’t demonstrating inclusivity because while light to tanned skin tones are able to shop at every makeup brand and find a product that’s at least close to their skin tone, minority groups don’t have that same luxury.
It’s reaching the end of a decade and equality has come so far. It’s time for more makeup companies (luxury, high-end and drugstore) to start thinking about ALL skin tones and not just the primary ones. Even though it is hard to get a foundation, concealer or bronzer shade right for each and every person in this world (which is an unrealistic goal), putting in the effort to make the ranges equal is better than nothing.