Makeup companies still miss the mark when it comes to inclusivity

by Shalika Oza, Contributor

Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty foundation line took the world by storm with its stunning 40 shades. Ranging from really fair to really deep, the world was finally experiencing a significant change in the beauty industry.

Though the push for catering to darker skin did not start with the Fenty Beauty launch, it most definitely did appear to make a tremendous impact on beauty brands.

Suddenly afterward, beauty brands were scrambling to revamp their existing foundation ranges while creating new ones with even wider ranges of color.

Recently, though, it seems as if the push for darker-skin-friendly makeup tones has died down.

This is unfortunate because a brand’s lack of representation or lack of shade variety marginalizes those with darker skin tones.

People with darker skin tones should not have to work around what a brand has to offer them, a brand should be willing to put in the time and effort to cater to all potential customers.

Makeup is supposed to make people feel more beautiful, but by ignoring so many skin tones, companies overlook these people’s beauty.

This becomes almost an exclusion of an entire group of people over something so seemingly trivial makeup.

Throughout history, people of color have been excluded from many important narratives, even though they have just as much right to be here as anyone else.

Makeup may seem like a low-priority cause, but it is such a large industry with an enormous impact on the world, so much so that it really does have the power to influence its consumers and the way they feel about themselves.

By leaving out so many skin tones, consumers have been conditioned to think that people with darker skin tones are not as important as those with fair skin tones.

Racism is prevalent in our society, and with the impact and reach the beauty industry has, their refusal to cater to darker skin tones seems like an encouragement of this exclusion.

Ultimately, it really is the little things, like makeup, that represent something much bigger.

A wide variety of makeup being unavailable to people with darker skin tones actually destroys the idea of beauty and the message that most makeup companies try to send about beauty across all skin tones and in all forms.

What excludes African Americans and those with darker skin tones from this narrative? What excludes these individuals from “all forms”?

All means all, not some or half, but all.

By preaching and commercializing their so-called inclusion, but displaying the opposite, these beauty companies are willfully exercising disregard for dark-skinned women.

Beauty brands have evolved with the emergence of social media and more diverse pool of models and social media influencers.

But, how much have they really evolved if they are not catering to every single woman?

As human beings we are constantly evolving, both physically and intellectually. Our ability to create and innovate expands, and over time, our ability to reason gets better and better.

However, we seem to be stuck when it comes to race.

Whether it’s the beauty industry’s lack of inclusivity or the nation’s difficulty with overcoming racism, many people seem to be taking steps backward, instead of forward.

We should be thinking ahead into the future and a great place to start is by acknowledging the beauty that stems from darker skin tones.

Beauty companies must make it their mission to cater to these groups of women properly and consistently.

The beauty industry is a billion-dollar industry. They have the time, resources and the money to dedicate to creating makeup suitable for everyone, not just those who fit into Eurocentric beauty standards.

It is time to call for the makeup industry to recognize all of our beauty.

Shalika Oza is a freshman studying journalism.

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