Opinion: Big brands should follow in Fenty’s footsteps

by Chloe O'Rourke, Staff Writer

America was built on capitalistic ideals. Industries are driven by profit and aren’t concerned with social issues — until they can be monetized.

One industry in particular has not been addressing issues consumers have brought to light. The beauty industry has a long standing reputation of not being diverse, but celebrity makeup lines are forcing a change in the market and pressuring larger companies to adapt as well.

According to the Global Cosmetic Industry, the American beauty sector will be worth $90 billion by 2020. This market is in demand. It consists of skincare, haircare and makeup products. Because these products end up in the majority of American homes, many beauty companies have been very successful in their endeavors. But not all consumers are included in the conversation.

Beauty consumers have been calling for more diverse shades offered for the vast numbers of people that can’t purchase products from their favorite brands. When different shades of skin tones are not represented, many individuals are left out of a market they could benefit from and enjoy.

The issue of diversity in beauty is finally being addressed by celebrity product lines. Specifically, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna which launched on Sept. 8.

The line consists of 40 different foundation shades with a variety of undertones. These new shades go far beyond what many larger companies carry. Maybelline’s Fit Me liquid foundation only comes in 18 shades. Despite the lack of diversity offered, Maybelline is still considered an inclusive brand. That in itself highlights the issue found within the beauty market.

The creation of more diverse brands from celebrities like Rihanna is leading to an overall change in the market. Brands are being forced to market diversity because consumers are tired of being let down by large companies that are not hearing their concerns.

Journalism junior Joelle Naoum, who is also a manager at a local makeup store explained how she can see the change in the market firsthand.

“I have seen this transition that many makeup brands are making to providing more colors, especially for people with deeper tones,” Naoum said. She also explained that there has been much progress made in liquid foundation but other products like bronzers and highlighters still have a ways to go.

Some brands are much more inclusive than others.

“Some brands are still lacking on getting the right color. The companies that need to make an adjustment are L’Oréal and IT cosmetics since they only have a small amount of choices,” Naoum said.

This statement was made specifically about L’Oréal and IT cosmetics because they have very limited shades. L’Oréal only has 12 shades in their newest dream cushion foundation.

The makeup industry still has a long way to go to be able to call themselves truly inclusive. Larger companies do not have the desire to evolve until there is a market force that affects profits. Celebrity lines like Fenty Beauty are changing the amount of diversity found in the makeup industry by allowing everyone the chance to feel represented and seen.

It is time for beauty companies to change business practices. To not only care about social issues when they affect income, but because companies should want every beauty consumer to feel beautiful in their own skin.

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