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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.

Comments (100)

  1. Plot twist:

    This video was sponsored by Fenty

  2. Dark skin =/= Black.
    Asian, Latinx and African people can have dark skin.

  3. Why women what about men?
    Beauty is for everybody

  4. why tf she talk like that.. esp at 4:02 "sooolved" omfg

  5. This is also a problem for olive skin from pale to dark olive. My face looks weird compared to my neck.

  6. the fact that i got a skin whitening ad on this vid…πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

  7. πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ŒπŸ»πŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ‘ŒπŸ½πŸ‘ŒπŸΎπŸ‘ŒπŸΏπŸ˜πŸ˜

  8. 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.

  9. I have to mix a light foundation with a dark foundation and walla

  10. 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?

  11. jesus christ they are businesses not human rights companies.. you aren’t entitled to makeup and not entitled to makeup that matches your skin

  12. 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

  13. πŸ˜‚ 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

  14. Thousands of whites
    Hundreds of light brown
    Ten dark brown
    One black

  15. Why do I watch this I am a 15 year old boy

  16. And it's all tested on animals and made with palm oil. How woke πŸ™„

  17. 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+.

  18. 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 😞 at least bring enough makeup cheese why make me walk away with no makeup!

  19. If you're dark skin why bother puttin on make up? I won't make a difference anyway

  20. White is also colour tho

  21. Wow Wow, Wow…
    If he is the example of what I'm supposed to be as a Man… I rather just not existπŸ˜”

  22. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏπŸ‘πŸΏ

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

  24. What it is- βœ‹πŸ»βœ‹πŸ»βœ‹πŸ»βœ‹πŸΌβœ‹πŸΌβœ‹πŸΌβœ‹πŸΌβœ‹πŸ½βœ‹πŸΎβœ‹πŸΏ
    What it should be- βœ‹πŸ»βœ‹πŸ»βœ‹πŸΌβœ‹πŸΌβœ‹πŸ½βœ‹πŸ½βœ‹πŸΎβœ‹πŸΎβœ‹πŸΏβœ‹πŸΏ
    Everyone is equal

  25. 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.

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

  27. If the companies don’t cater, then they don’t. The companies aren’t required to make darker shades.

  28. 🀘🏻🀘🏻🀘🏼🀘🏽🀘🏾🀘🏾🀘🏿We ❀️ a shades!

  29. You have 6M subcribers… So there is no point in having the comments activated. You have become a multinationational news industry…no time VOX POPULIπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  30. 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

  31. Blush? Since when do blacks visibly blush?

  32. 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…

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. Thay woman in thumbnail is looking really cool

  36. 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 $$$$

  37. give me the INCLUSIVITY!

  38. πŸ’ͺ🏻πŸ’ͺ🏼πŸ’ͺ🏽πŸ’ͺ🏾πŸ’ͺ🏿

  39. ummm fenty slayedπŸ‘πŸ» theπŸ‘πŸ» shadeπŸ‘πŸ» rangeπŸ‘πŸ» PERIODT

  40. Black people have so many unnecessary issues.

  41. I’m Indian and a medium tone. I mix 2 foundations to get my colour.

  42. I prefer the term chocolate and vanilla people

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

  44. Nature failed black women beauty, LOL

  45. 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.

  46. 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'OrΓ©al etc

  47. The answer is pretty obvious to be honest

  48. 🀚🏻🀚🏻🀚🏻🀚🏻🀚🏻
    🀚🏻🀚🏻🀚🏻🀚🏻🀚🏼
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    🀚🏻🀚🏻🀚🏼🀚🏽🀚🏾
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  49. I’m incredibly pale so makeup that is as light as me is only just being made.
    But my main problem is that every foundation I’ve seen/tried is made opaque, and my skin isn’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 I’m wearing a mask.

  50. I wish you could use the color dropper for foundation lol.

  51. Though I’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.

  52. 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

  53. I got a fenty beauty ad at the beginning of this video πŸ‘€

  54. Well who needs makeup anyways we all look great

  55. What about the extremely pale

  56. I always have to try the lightest of the lightest shades but I always see a limited amount of darker shades it’s so easy to make but companies just won’t do it for some reason it’s sad

  57. πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ🏻πŸ’ͺ🏼πŸ’ͺ🏽πŸ’ͺ🏾πŸ’ͺπŸΏπŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ‘πŸ½πŸ‘πŸΎπŸ‘πŸΏ

  58. 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.

  59. 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

  60. Why are there so many pale people complaining in the comments? We know y’all can’t find your color too, but at least you have some options

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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

  64. 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….

  65. just use your own doodoo as makeup. it will work just as well.

  66. Honestly I'm just watching because its in my recommendation. I'm 21/black and have never ever worn makeup. But I learnt a lot I guess, didn't know before now that this was a problem.

  67. As a dark skinned Indian women, I never found any foundation that matched my skin tone, I use MAC now which I bought from London, we don't have Fenty in India yet πŸ™

  68. Was this sponsered?

  69. it's great that they're including darker skin tones in makeup, but I still can't find a foundation light enough for me XD

  70. Because white people which think they made this country fail to acknowledge and show remorse for the physical and psychological abuse of anyone who is not white.

  71. Also goths (and a few monster cosplay / amateur movie makers) like complete white and complete black shades. (-;

  72. A simple way to put it 40 shades is very hard to stock everywhere at traditional brick and mortar store.

    RiRi's fame, allowed her to use e-commerce to source every color without the cost of distribution. This also does playout the fact that Millenials are getting into their Queens and buy substantially more.

    Minority are becoming more popular now.

  73. They don't want us to have it !!! Lol its always been that way! Come on.. you are smart , you know the science of it , so make your own!! I mean really…if they don't see you being worth it then see yourselves being worth it to do your own thing

  74. I want to cry of happiness knowing that me and all my sisters of all color in the world is able to have a make up match❀❀❀

  75. I am a light shade of brown but I could never find a shade my skin tone because third were to dark until I found fenti oh by the way I am ten my family loves mackup I live in Korea

  76. If you think a brand doesn’t have your shades, consider it as a business opportunity.

  77. ✊🏻✊🏻✊🏼✊🏼✊🏽✊🏽✊🏾✊🏾✊🏿✊🏿

  78. I really like Korean beauty products and I'm quite pale Asian but my undertone is too yellow and a lot of Korean beauty products are still too pale:(

  79. Why do women even need to wear make up?I guess it's something I will never know

  80. Black women naturally have better skin so y'all didn't need it πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  81. everyone’s acting like makeup is only for women

  82. We don't make makeup for anyone darker than Beyonce.

  83. πŸ’ͺπŸ’ͺ🏻πŸ’ͺ🏼πŸ’ͺ🏽πŸ’ͺ🏾πŸ’ͺ🏿

  84. Funny how white people dont even wear the right shade nowadays, it’s always so yellow, doesn’t match the red, pink undertones… (James Charles)

  85. idk why culture like mine (I'm African with a medium brown skin tone) is seen as unglamorous, it's so rich and vibrant, with roots that go back centuries… yet my own mother can't even find foundation the same colour as her skin, and the darkest shade she can get is the same colour as the inside of her palm!? There's nothing wrong with light skinned people, it's just that the beauty industry needs more diversity, and the bland, generic norms it currently has just aren't going to cut it.

  86. You know what, if this goes the way the Suffragette movement went, you best believe I'll be the first one to chain myself to the railings

  87. They dont want us to be pretty and look good period.

  88. Same with plus size clothes. Why is it so hard to understand that plus size women want to look good to. And plus, I think that companies would make a lot more money, and yet they still won't do it XD

  89. Why is Flori Roberts who has ALWAYS catered to dark complexion woman constantly over looked.

  90. Liz Claiborne's once said that she didn't make her clothes or make up for black people.

  91. "Women of colour " I thought everyone had colour in their skin 😑

  92. Tarte:
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    Fenty:
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  93. I live in England, am Mexican. My mum is a very dark Mexican. She doesn't have these problems. Neither do my black friends at school. I think the problem is American Companies. They shouldn't bring other international companies into this. England is a very multi-cultural country who don't have a problem with it. So America just needs to clean up. Also it's not only black women struggling. Pale women experience it just as much. They seem to only do one shade in American brands.

  94. Kylie who? Fenty forever πŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎ

  95. I will never understand why black people are considered less beautiful, what is the problem with society!

  96. It's beyond 'white' and 'black'. There are brown people too, like us, the Indians. We have all sorts of people here, extremely fair/white people, brown people, and extremely dark skinned/black people.

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