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When It Comes To Makeup, Color Matters

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By Aaliyah Jensen, We’Ced Youth Media


As a hardcore makeup lover and a young woman with fair skin, finding makeup to suit my skin tone has been pretty easy. Makeup seems to be catered to girls who look like me.

Recently, while shopping for beauty products, I found myself examining the color selection for people of color (POC). I realized that when it comes to foundation, POC have very limited selections.

I noticed the disparity between color selections. There weren’t a lot of darker tone options and I also didn’t see many colors darker than tan. It made me wonder why POC are not recognized and catered to in the beauty industry as much as lighter skinned individuals.

After looking on the Sephora website and seeing all of the endless foundations I have noticed the name differences of the product shades. For example, “Born This Way Foundation” has 17 colors, and the names are interesting. Starting with the lightest one which is snow, then pearl, porcelain, ivory, and vanilla. Then it goes to nude, warm nude, light beige, natural beige, warm beige, and so on. I found it pretty interesting that the very fair shades had like pretty exact names and as it got a little darker the names were very broad. In the lighter shades the names also associated with things of value, but as the foundation shades become darker the names start to have no real meaning.

I know that the makeup industry has come a long way, like Covergirl with their very beautiful and diverse representatives. Also Fenty Beauty, a full face makeup line created by Rihanna. She focused solely on making a variety of dark shades for POC. With that being said, the majority of makeup companies still have some ways to go. Being a fair skinned woman I do not face the hardships that women of color do, but I do recognize the absence of women of color representatives.

Also, being where we are today in the world, being so divided, makeup can be a good way to bring people together. A lot of people enjoy makeup and look up to makeup gurus, so having a diverse variety of people can bring help bring us together.

As Amy Davis said; “Ya betta recognize.”

In other words, with women of color becoming a force in our country, makeup companies need to do more to attract them as customers. Take Fenty Beauty for example, the makeup line was valued at $72 million in the first month, setting the bar high for every other makeup company out there.

I remember looking at advertisement videos on the Sephora website, and there were only about three women with darker shaded complexions. This infuriated me. And I am not alone. Many young women of color feel as though they are ignored by the beauty industry.

I sat down with Amy Davis, 17, to talk about her experience with the beauty industry as a young woman of color.


When did you first realize that the beauty industry doesn’t cater to POC?

“When I was about 15, I walked into Sephora and tried to find a foundation for me. It was so difficult because there was not a foundation dark enough for me.”

How did you feel when you realized the makeup industry doesn’t recognize people of color?

“It might sound a little crazy, but I feel like we are not important or pretty enough to them to be recognized. It’s like I see all of these huge makeup [representatives] and they are all light skin or maybe a little darker. Rarely do I ever see a beautiful dark skinned woman. I just think [the industry] needs to recognize we are just as beautiful.”

If you could tell any big makeup brand why you think women of color should be recognized, what would you say?

“I would tell them that we are beautiful no matter how dark our skin is. I don’t think they understand how it makes us women of color feel. I would also let them know that because of seeing so many beautiful fair skinned women being recognized it made me wish I had lighter skin and made me feel really insecure. I just would want them to know how us women of color feel and start to recognize us.”


This story originally appeared in We’Ced Youth Media in Merced.

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