As I look back at my younger, 17-year-old self, I remember storming the cosmetics section at Walmart for the very first time. Growing up with awfully strict folks, if I were to dare wear even eyeliner before I was 17, even at my eight grade dance, consequences ensued. So when mom and dad were finally like “Oh what the hell, you’re almost an adult anyways.”, I went nuts when it came to shopping for makeup.
Lipsticks, eyeshadows and mascaras everywhere. A kid in a candy store cannot even describe how much enthusiasm I had. Now a makeup junkie in a cosmetics/beauty section of a store? Yeah, nothing can beat THAT MUCH enthusiasm.
Being around so much makeup and having so many options made my heart flutter. But the foundations, oh… those foundations. Me being a makeup virgin at the time, the thought of a liquid, stick, cream or powder being able to match your exact skin tone and cover up any blemish that invaded your face was powerful to me. Especially since I was a pizza-faced junior in high school at the time.
Foundation was what I was looking forward to the most after spending my Summer looking at makeup tutorials on YouTube. It was an exhilarating moment… until it wasn’t. And I realized I took home a foundation in which I thought was the right shade, that ended up being way too light for me because my options for deeper/dark foundation shades were limited.
I know what you’re thinking, “Oh, maybe they just ran out of your shade!”. See, the great thing about a makeup brand (if there’s anything great about it at all) is that you are usually able to find more information about their products and collections on their official website. Including foundation shades. I did my research sweetie, and they did not run out of a non-existent shade.
What disgusted me the most was now realizing how crappy that brand had to be to have no dark shades. Their darkest was a light caramel, and for those who are bound to ask what brand I am referring to, let me put it this way. I could be talking about any of the dozens of brands that have this problem. The point is not to shed light on only one, but send out a message to all makeup brands that still have limited deep to dark shades, even after the outrage. Even when major black beauty gurus including Jackie Aina and Alissa Ashley speak out on such atrocities, these brands are still turning away from THEIR ugly truth.
The saddest part is that this problem doesn’t even just revolve around foundations. There are some makeup brands out there that have THE NERVE to create non-Melanin friendly lipsticks and eyeshadows, slap it on a black model, and act like it looks fine while giving themselves the ‘Most Inclusive Brand of the Year’ award. Give me several breaks.
Of course there is room for improvement if these brand executives just call one of their many meetings and plan some Melanin-friendly shades. Sadly, this issue will still be ignored by many and all I have to say left is this: keep excluding women of color from your brand and sooner or later you won’t have a brand.
And to the Melanin-friendly brands out there who include deep to dark-skinned black women, keep kicking ass!