Photograph of Kiran Bhamra
Friday, the 27th of March, by Kiran Bhamra

Is the Beauty Industry Truly Diverse?

Diversity. A word used to describe, argue or explain how diverse beauty companies are in modern day society. In 2019 people of colour are not catered for by multiple brands for multiple products, but why is this?

 

fentybeauty.com

Diversity. A word used to describe, argue or explain how diverse beauty companies are in modern day society. In 2019 people of colour are not catered for by multiple brands for multiple products, but why is this?

The obvious product is foundations or concealers, the struggle to not look ashy or orange is real still to this day, but it doesn’t stop there. Bronzers, contour, blush and eye shadow palettes are still mostly catered for people with a lighter skin tone.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane… 1984 Mac Cosmetics was born, the founders Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo noticed a niche market in the beauty industry, which was vivid and rich colours, they also heavily focused in foundations for deeper skin tones. If you were a person of colour looking to buy makeup in the 90’s and 00’s Mac would be the go to.

Since then drugstore brands have added in shades to their foundation ranges to appear to cater for all however, the rest of their products would not cater for everyone. Fast forward to 2017 when Rhianna and Fenty Beauty came onto the scene and blew everyone out of the water. The first launch was 50 foundation shades that covered all skin tones from albino to the deepest of dark, there is a shade for everyone. Since then they have released multiple lipstick shades, 6 bronzers, 50 concealers, match sticks which are multiple use as a highlighters or eye shadows and the most recent 14 shades of an eyebrow pencil … yes …14! Fenty beauty has set the standard of inclusivity when it comes to makeup but why did it take till 2017 for people to realise this?

After the launch of Fenty many beauty brands stepped up their game when it came to bringing out a product that works for everyone, that isn’t a foundation. However, this is not always the case. Tarte came out with 15 foundation shades for the highly anticipated Shape Tape foundation, but it still catered for the few, not the many. The backlash against the release was intense, influencers pulled out from doing reviews and Tarte themselves having to come out with a statement themselves.

“ We want to let you know we hear you… You all know by now that we revealed our much anticipated shape tape foundation & the final shade range that we launched was definitely not representation of all of you. It may be too little too late, but we can assure you this was not meant in any kind of malicious way”

But after such an iconic launch with Fenty, why did they think it was acceptable for such a release?

The diversity debate will never be settled as there will always be a brand that misses a few shades or doesn’t cater for POC full stop *cough cough Tom Ford ahem cough*. But there are so many different conversations to be had about diversity, whether it is the product, advertising or people in the company, were just getting started!

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