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How beauty brands failed women of color

How beauty brands failed women of color


Anyone into makeup — following Instagram beauty influencers, or just watching a bunch of YouTube tutorials knows that Rihanna’s
makeup line, Fenty Beauty, is blowing up. It dropped during New York Fashion Week in September of this year and since then the color-poppin’ highlighters, matchstixs, and lip gloss have created a buzz on social media. But the most notable thing about the line
is the range of foundation shades — there are 40 to be exact. And many of the deeper shades were sold out in stores and online within days of the launch. Which is bananas because how often do you hear about darker shades being sold out? For a long time, the beauty industry has neglected women of color as consumers. But our bad gal RiRi’s incredibly successful
makeup line has challenged the notion that the market for deeper shades isn’t profitable for cosmetic companies. It also raised an important question: Why haven’t most companies had the same kind of inclusivity or the success to go with it? Tiffany Gill: Well, the interesting thing about Fenty is that it’s not the very first time that
a beauty line has had expansive shades. That’s Tiffany Gill, Associate Professor
of History and Black American studies at the University of Delaware. Tiffany Gill: Before the Fenty Beauty line launched, Make Up For Ever, another cosmetic company that caters a lot to professional makeup artists, launched a campaign that also had a lot of skin tone inclusivity. Other mainstream brands like Covergirl, Revlon, Maybelline, and L’Oreal also attempted to cater to the broader market of complexions. But it’s quite easy to see where mainstream brands have fallen short. I went to several drugstores and a major department store and I saw a clear trend — there were 50 shades of beige to choose from. This is looks really pale. I’m not, I’m not that pale…I’m… But, the darker shades were limited to a handful of options. When I tried to match my own skin with the available shades of foundation, you can see how these few products weren’t going to
work for me. Is it really that hard to get it right? Tasha Brown, a makeup artist based in LA, who’s worked with a number of Hollywood stars, doesn’t seem to think so. Tasha Brown: As a makeup artist, it’s the same technique I would use that for anyone from Karen Elson to Alek Wek. I first look at the undertone of the skin, then I look at the actual shade range, and then I pick the correct texture for their skin
tone. So, there is no extra difficulty in understanding deeper skin tones. So it’s easy to find a foundation match if
you know your undertone — which is your underlying skin tone on a spectrum of cool to warm. But finding deeper shades that actually offer the right undertones for women of color has been incredibly hard. Maybe product development is where it gets really tricky? Al-Nisa Ward: Yeah…actually, It’s not very difficultto make deeper shades. What?? Depending on the base, all foundations have the same basic base. So for example, if we’re talking about a
standard foundation, which would be a water and silicone base, it’s an emulsion where
the water phase is surrounded by silicone. That basic emulsion would be the same. The only difference between a lighter
shade and a darker shade is the ratio of pigments. And all foundations contain the same four
pigments. It’s titanium dioxide, iron oxide red, iron oxide yellow, and iron oxide black. So you just play with the ratios of those
pigments to get to a lighter color or darker color. The trouble with finding the right shade isn’t limited to foundation. Tasha Brown: Yes, it’s not just foundation, you know!? It is blush. It is lipstick. Where it’s a beautiful color, but it’s
a light wash. And deeper skin tones tend to demand a little more pigment. It’s a problem that can be solved with an
understanding of darker skin tones. But overall, in 2014, only 18% of American
Chemical Society members were people of color. In 2015, Black, Hispanic and Asian, women made up 16.3% of workers in the personal care products industry. Tasha Brown: As a consumer, you want to have options in comparison. You want things to be easy. I want to be able to walk into a store and
see myself represented. Over the past few years mainstream beauty companies have been making an effort to be more inclusive. But why is it taking them so long to get it
right? Tiffany Gill: When it comes to beauty, they’re usually based on very narrow ideas of what constitutes beautiful. And even if there are a wider range of women who are demanding products, a wider range of consumers who want to see themselves reflected and are
willing to pay money to get these products. Many brands are unwilling to cater to them
in fears that it will damage their brand. In fears that it will make their brand less
glamorous, less beautiful if it’s attached to black women, if it’s attached to darker skin women. The beauty industry has a long history of
only catering to a very specific type of person. In the late 1940s, makeup for black women was available, but beauty companies still focused on skin lightening products for black women. Tiffany Gill: We begin to see, really in the 1970s, an attempt to begin to show a wider range of beauty when it comes to makeup products. It’s when the cultural movement “Black
is Beautiful” began to rise as a celebration of blackness in the African American community. Robert Williams, a leading figure in American psychology, wrote, “The Black-is-Beautiful movement and the all-out effort to instill
racial pride in black people have done much to neutralize and offset much of the damaging
effects of oppression from being black.” The movement, was not only a response to colorism in the Black community, but also the prevalent racism in wider American culture. That movement brought a change in the beauty
industry too — more products were being created for the black community. Tiffany Gill: And the wider range of products for black women came from a lot of black-owned companies themselves. Companies like Fashion Fair cosmetics, which was developed by the Johnson publishing company, which was the publishing company behind Ebony [magazine], for example. Drugstore brands like Maybelline had Shades of You in the 90s, Black Opal had products that catered to women of color starting in 1994, Iman began selling in discount retailers in 2004, and Covergirl had the Queen Collection in 2006. Then you had luxury brands like NARS, MAC, Bobbi Brown, Black-Up and Make Up For Ever offering even more shades of brown at higher prices. But it hasn’t always been a smooth ride
for all of these brands. L’Oréal faced controversy when it was accused of whitewashing Beyonce in its 2008 campaign. In 2016, MAC launched their “Vibe Tribe”
collection which at worst is cultural appropriation and at best is pretty culturally insensitive… …yep. While mainstream brands have missed the mark,
independent beauty brands have successfully filled the gaps. Brands like koyVoca, Cocotique and The Lip Bar all offer extensive products for women of color. The gap between mainstream and independent brands is also evident in the way they reach their audience. While major brands still turn to traditional
advertising on TV and in magazines, a lot of independent creators rely heavily on social media. Tiffany GIll: Social media has changed the beauty industry in tremendous ways. What is really interesting is that
if you go on social media there are lots of women some of whom are professionally trained makeup artists, some women who like make up who have huge followings. And they have followings of people
who will listen to what they say. And so it’s much more intimate than
having, for example, just a celebrity at the front of your campaigns, which is often what Covergirl, and L’Oréal and many of the big companies have done. Brands can try to copy Rihanna’s marketing but there’s more to it than that. Rihanna: “If I love it, I’m going to go
all the way to the end about it. And I dabbled in makeup before, but this is like my vision from the ground up. From the textures to the foundation shades, to the names… “Rihanna: I have a hundred percent involvement in this process.” Even if Rihanna’s makeup line doesn’t
live up to the hype over time, there’s no denying that Fenty is causing a much-needed stir in the beauty industry.

100 thoughts on “How beauty brands failed women of color

  1. I may not be of color but I understand the struggle. Tons of brands also leave out the really pale shades. I'm probably the closest shade to white. I try to find something that fits me it's all too dark.

  2. And now, just use Fenty Beauty foundation and Jeffree Star Magic Concealers and boom, a pretty nice look for darker skin tones.

  3. Cover FX offered 40 shades of foundation waaaaay before Fenty. However, no one โ€œcelebratedโ€ Cover FX for this, but here comes a pop star doing the same and everyone is like โ€œthank you Rihanaโ€. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

  4. ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿป๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿผ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿพ๐Ÿค˜๐ŸฟโœŒ๏ธโœŒ๐ŸปโœŒ๐ŸผโœŒ๐ŸฝโœŒ๐ŸพโœŒ๐Ÿฟ

  5. Oop, look at those dislikes. Looks like someone was yet again triggered when it came to discussing race. Seems about white.

  6. Okay, I definitely agree with the main point of this video, it was just really weird when she said, "I am not that pale," like sis, there are people with that skin tone, that's why the foundation exists

  7. Beuaty brands didn't fail them. Beauty brands always look at what people want and the demand is what drives their production.

  8. What upsets me is the lack of darker shades in drug store ranges. Where I live, most brands will have a pitiful shade for poc, and whenever people ask for more shades, youโ€™ll always get someone saying โ€œgo shop at fenty or something!โ€ which is unfair as poc should be able to have an accessible and cheaper option and not be limited to a few brands

  9. Ikr, for medium pale people there are like a billion options. Find one that matches your undertone, then your shade etc… but for people not like this itโ€™s:
    โ€œHow bright do you want your brown? Oh, this is too red for your skin tone? Itโ€™s either this or too dark or too light sorry booโ€
    Honestly.

  10. why only WOMEN of color? what about men?

  11. Why didn't cosmetic companies make darker colors of makeup? Because African-Americans make up about 15% of the population, so there isn't as much money to make from them. It's not about racism, it's just about the $$$

  12. They didnt fail no one. Woman of colour failed them selves. There are many black brands apart from FENTY but people still wanna buy BRANDS and not indi brands.

    Why are people gonna make these Brands richer? Make ur own people richer man wtf lol

  13. Its business 101 though… supply and demand… some white areas wont have dark shades which is shady because even if it dont sell keep it there for that one black girl to make her day!! Thats why online sales are bigger nowadays lol

  14. Watch me come out with my own makeup brand with all dark foundations and say "I'm coming out with the light ones later because the dark People had to wait for their shade to come, so now the light people will wait like they had to."

  15. My mom says another huge problem is certain stores don't stock make up for darker skin women even though major cosmetetics companies make them. We went to a Walmart one day & there were next to no foundations for minority women stocked & thers are always black coming to shop at this particular Walmart

  16. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘Œ

  17. Why don't people of color simply use this gap in the market and create a make-up company that does cater to people of color? Isn`t it better to make money from it than complain about it?

  18. Sorry but the fondation by Miss Rihana Fenty is indeed full of dirt. It has 4 different types of silicons in it. Good luck with the acne breakouts and skin gets more and more sensitive.
    Go for organic foundations or brands like Khiels, Fresh, Bare minerals, etc…
    Or even Clinique and Estรฉe Lauder are all very good brands. Also Avรจne, La Roche Posay are 2 great and safe french brands. Also you have Sisley but most of their products contains essential oils and youโ€™ll have to check first if youโ€™re not allergic to it. Then you have La Mer, La Prairie in a much higher range of price. These are very expensive products but the quality is not arguable.

  19. And donโ€™t just make the makeup and sell it online ๐Ÿ˜ก๐Ÿ™„. We want to match ourselves in store too or be able to go in store and browse. Stop making black people feel like after thoughts.

  20. ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

  21. wait that graph to cool to warm tone looks wrong… am I wrong? the red look more mauve/purple/cool at the bottom where it says "warm" and the "cool" tone has a more yellow undertone.

  22. It's not just the black people. Being a Asian Pacific Islander, I'm tan and every makeup company somehow thinks tan people are orange or yellow, like are you fr?

  23. jesus christ they are businesses not human rights companies.. you arenโ€™t entitled to makeup and not entitled to makeup that matches your skin

  24. 7:23 cultural appropriation is not an inherently bad thing, it's literally just borrowing something(often superstitial) from another culture, it's only when it's insensitive &/or perpetuates racism in some way that it's bad

  25. ๐Ÿ˜‚ women of COLOR. What color are you talking about? I have never seen a black charcoal woman in my life, and nither a white snow one, or a sunflower yellow one. Which one is the color of a woman of color? Please give me an straight answer

  26. It's just not where the money was and it's already tricky to cater to Caucasians for foundation, let alone if you expand to other races. Then you gotta stock 50+.

  27. For me it was so upsetting because white women bought before me dark shades that fit me and all I got left was bunch of white foundations ๐Ÿ˜ž at least bring enough makeup cheese why make me walk away with no makeup!

  28. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฟ

  29. A really really light foundation is also really hard to find, they are always too yellow. This makes me literally too white๐Ÿ˜‚

  30. What it is- โœ‹๐Ÿปโœ‹๐Ÿปโœ‹๐Ÿปโœ‹๐Ÿผโœ‹๐Ÿผโœ‹๐Ÿผโœ‹๐Ÿผโœ‹๐Ÿฝโœ‹๐Ÿพโœ‹๐Ÿฟ
    What it should be- โœ‹๐Ÿปโœ‹๐Ÿปโœ‹๐Ÿผโœ‹๐Ÿผโœ‹๐Ÿฝโœ‹๐Ÿฝโœ‹๐Ÿพโœ‹๐Ÿพโœ‹๐Ÿฟโœ‹๐Ÿฟ
    Everyone is equal

  31. The shade ranges in most modern beauty brands are not always up to par, but you have to go admit that it has gotten better throughout history. There used to be like 15 shades…. if that, to choose from.

  32. Me and my mom went to the drugstore to buy foundation. I couldnโ€™t get a shade of the one we wanted to buy because the darkest shade was my moms. And Iโ€™m not even close to dark on a color spectrum.

  33. If the companies donโ€™t cater, then they donโ€™t. The companies arenโ€™t required to make darker shades.

  34. ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿป๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿป๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿผ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿพ๐Ÿค˜๐Ÿพ๐Ÿค˜๐ŸฟWe โค๏ธ a shades!

  35. You have 6M subcribers… So there is no point in having the comments activated. You have become a multinationational news industry…no time VOX POPULI๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

  36. Sad really that you sleep and do not realize your true self. ONLY when you can look at your Self in the mirror and see how dazzling that you are will you see it in others. HOW do you do that? You wake up and recognize that there is NO DUALITY HERE. There is ONLY ONE. There is no separation here. All duality and the idea that there is a you and a me is but a concept only. THERE IS NO SEPARATION divisive one. I wish you will wake up. Namaste divine one. Wake up and know that you can see a world of color and acceptance when you REALLY want it to be there. I wish you well

  37. ok but the makeup companies just make lighter skin tones because they're more popular and will sell better its not because they hate black people…

  38. I low key feel like the drugstore brands (covergirl, maybelline, etc.) legit do have darker shades (for what they usually sell anyway) but they're not on all stores or they sell them online. I remember seeing a covergirl bb cream with a darker shade at one store but not others. My theory is that they check the demographics of the neighborhoods where the stores are located or whose shopping in these stores and make their decision on whether to stock said products that way. They can also not carry as much as the darker shades as the lighter ones so they sell out and dont bother to restock frequently.

  39. Why do we keep begging white people to do for us what we can do for ourselves? This is a business oppurtunity. Someone could start a makeup manufacturing company in Africa and make a killing.

  40. If I can't get snow white I doubt there's gonna be dark brown shades.
    Can't cater to minorities like pearly white people and darker brown people. Only nyx got my shade.
    They just want to sell as much as they can, so they leave out the rarer shades to make more $$$$

  41. ummm fenty slayed๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป the๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป shade๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป range๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป PERIODT

  42. Victimhood. Perpetual victims. Next thing you'll see is them criticizing the SKY because it's blue and not black. Foh.

  43. Well, black women and black people in general wanna feel empowered so why don't one of them start a make-up manufacturing empire? They can ask richer than thou, Oprah for a loan to get started.

  44. I live and was born here in the Netherlands. I have a light brown skin. I'm from Indonesian descent. But I'm glad that I use brands like Black up, black opal. Because their foundation are way better than Maybelline, L'Orรฉal etc

  45. ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป
    ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿผ
    ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฝ
    ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿพ
    ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿป๐Ÿคš๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿพ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ
    ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿผ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿพ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ
    ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿพ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ
    ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿพ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ
    ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿคš๐Ÿฟ

  46. Iโ€™m incredibly pale so makeup that is as light as me is only just being made.
    But my main problem is that every foundation Iโ€™ve seen/tried is made opaque, and my skin isnโ€™t opaque, my skin is translucent, I can almost see though it and most of my veins are visible. So when I put on opaque foundation it looks really unnatural and almost like Iโ€™m wearing a mask.

  47. Though Iโ€™m Latina and not a makeup person, my sister struggles to find foundation for her skin tone. When she finds something close to skin color it just turn out very orange or the too light or dark then what she expected or turned out.

  48. Well in 2019 now, theres a brand I forget what they're called, but they have extremely pale colors and then goes to extremely dark colors and all in the middle

  49. I always have to try the lightest of the lightest shades but I always see a limited amount of darker shades itโ€™s so easy to make but companies just wonโ€™t do it for some reason itโ€™s sad

  50. ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฟ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿฟ

  51. Cosmetic products are always being sold in a wrong way. Those BA recommend something not suitable for you. Except for what is mentioned in the video, we often find that some western products are totally TERRIBLE/ too greasy to use. They just not fit in the very warm, even hot climate here in Asia.

  52. this is a very relevant subject but its doesnt surprise me that there as less minority women in companies if they are minorities, it's what the name stands for

  53. Why are there so many pale people complaining in the comments? We know yโ€™all canโ€™t find your color too, but at least you have some options

  54. lol at all the white women who decided that this video which is focused on beauty brands that failed women of color is where they must take a stand over white people issues.

  55. I think the darkest skinned women also are less likely to need to buy concealer because their skin tends not to show common blemishes as readily as fair skin.

    I wish they would have touched on that: the extent and variation of demand across race and skin shade.

  56. 2:50 I see the difference between the warmest deep and the coolest deep, but is there supposed to be a difference between the warmest fair and the coolest fair? I don't see it

  57. Wave hello to the 10K fragile and racist white people who disliked this video…. because FACTS hurt and white people were never mentioned in this video and black women were… like a bunch of times.

    PSA…shore up your egos… it's only going to get worse….

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