Inclusivity in Beauty Brands
Updated: Jan 16
Okay, let's talk shade range. let's talk about brands that have had to relaunch because they couldn't deliver on their actual launch day. let's talk about the mistakes our favorite beauty brands are making because they think nobody is going to notice.
In 2018, I heard more voices on Twitter, Instagram and on Youtube than I ever thought I would. The Cosmetic industry has had some incredible introductions, and it has also had some tumultuous tumbles. Because I am biased and I think she nailed it, let's start with Badgal Rihanna.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna launched under Kendo Brands which also hosts Marc Jacobs beauty, Kat Von D among others. She launched the beauty line with inclusivity on the forefront. This video had all on their feet, ready to try this wildly accessible brand. Her foundation range, which is often the struggle of most brands, was the first to be wildly ranged. From the palest hues to the deepest of tones with sub-categories to catch all the different underlying tones, her Fenty Face Foundation was priced at $34. While it isn't drugstore priced, it is definitely less than the high-end foundation, making this lightweight, mid-coverage foundation somewhere in the middle for her navy to be confident enough to try. Not only has her campaign set the bar for foundation color range, every campaign includes women of different nationalities, sizes and ethnicities as her models. This speaks volumes and answers the demand that so many beauty fans have had. Too many brands try to appeal to the "ideal" self that consumers want to see themselves as, but in these campaigns, Fenty Beauty to appealing the who the consumers are and promoting more self-appreciation in doing so.
This approach is saying, you are who you are, and we are here for it. And I am here for that.
Okay, so we see the light at the end of the tunnel, let's talk about those who had to step back and correct themselves.
Becca Cosmetics. In 2018, BECCA Cosmetics launched their newest shade range and shared a photo with models of allegedly different ethnicities, but when the photo went live, users all agreed that it looked like the same Caucasian arm had just been duped and darkened for the ease of showing all the shades. Users called the company out saying that it was ignorant to think consumers wouldn't notice this obvious edit. BECCA relaunched with a new photo saying that they promise to make their casting more inclusive by hiring more diverse models and that the newest photo was made with girls from the office, which I guess was suppose to make the work environment seem more diverse (?), but they still got called out that even though they had a black girl in the office and somehow still missed the initial mark. Read more here.
left image is the initial rollout BECCA Cosmetics used, the right is the image included with their apology on Instagram.
Even beauty brands that have women of color at the head of leadership are falling short. Kim Kardashian-West dropped the ball when she dropped her line of foundation that was swatched on a black women with over 50% of the shades appealing to those with a little less melanin. It's hard to imagine that a woman of color, especially one that is raising bi-racial kids would think that debuting a makeup line that was hurtfully exclusive is okay. Even her younger sister, Kylie Jenner's concealer line had 30 inclusive shades to reach a much larger audience. The Washington Post covers more of these incidents briefly in this article.
It is 2019 now, and in the age of social media, individuality and inclusiveness, I think the cosmetic industry has a much higher bar. We, the consumers, know they are making bank. It is time to be investing more money into understanding the shade range demanded by consumers, and maybe a little less time taking the easy way out with a half-assed line that excludes more of the community than including the community.
Do you have a favorite foundation line that you think hit the mark? Maybe one that missed the mark? I want to hear about it.