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Women of color deserve more options

Posted on 10.11.2017
Graphic by Juliana Rohrmoser

Graphic by Juliana Rohrmoser

For years, the makeup industry has been lacking in a range of shades for those with darker skin. If you walk into any store that sells makeup, such as Ulta or Sephora, you will find few shades for those who have darker complexions. People of color are often neglected by the makeup industry when it comes to matching a foundation to their skin tone. I have noticed that African American women still have a limited number of options in foundation as compared to the total number available on the market.

The lack of  foundation shades is nothing new within the makeup industry; it has been a common practice for years. Companies often claim that they will provide long-lasting
foundation for women of color, but they often fail to do so by providing only one or two darker shades. Companies neglect people of color all the time by not providing a solid range of shades  and not enough people are talking about it. Even when companies do demonstrate diversity, it often seems like not a lot of effort was put forth.

For example, certain makeup companies produce a full-coverage foundation with twenty shades and only include two or three darker shades.   This seems extremely unfair to me.

However, Rihanna’s new line, Fenty Beauty, seems to be changing the industry. Rihanna worked on her line for two entire years to include such diversity. Her line includes more than 40 foundation shades, and half of which are darker shades.

“Fenty beauty was created for everyone: for women of all shades, personalities, attitudes, cultures, and races,”  Rihanna said on her website. “I wanted everyone to feel included. That’s the real reason I made this line.”

No company has ever made quality foundation range for those with darker skin. Not to mention a foundation that matches most, if not all, undertones.Undertones can be tricky when matching a foundation to your skin, which limits foundtion options even more.

“I wanted things that I love. Then, I also wanted things that girls of all skin tones could fall in love with.” Rihanna told the Refinery29.com, “In every product I was like, ‘There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl; there needs to be something for a really pale girl; there needs to be something in-between. There’s red undertones, green undertones, blue undertones, pink undertones, yellow undertones—you never know, so you want people to appreciate the product and not feel like, ‘Oh that’s cute, but it only looks good on her.”

I believe Rihanna did just that. She created a foundation that is now flying off the shelves because of its inclusivity which was long overdue.

Erin O’Neill,  senior director of Fenty Beauty Management told Cosmopolitan, “It [the line] wasn’t about coming up with the largest number of foundation shades, but about providing an assortment that filled in gaps that met the needs of as many people.”

The brand is receiving massive positive feedback on all social media platforms and has seen a wide range of approval from many makeup artists and celebrities.

Nneoma Anosike, a model for the brand, expressed her approval on Instagram and said, “The beauty world for people of color has welcomed yet another brand that goes into
understanding that we melanins have different undertones and shades—not just three, but multiple! We have amazing brands representing us, yes, but not enough.”

I’ve noticed that many companies often advertise and meet the needs of those with lighter skin and overlook women with darker shades. I hope the positive feedback received from black women on Fenty Beauty sends a message to the rest of the beauty industry and they will follow suit.

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