To say that the cosmetics industry has come a long way as far as reflecting diversity is an understatement.
Over the years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of women of color about their cosmetics “wishes.” The common desire: “We want to be able to buy quality brands of makeup and be assured that we can get foundation shades that work for us whatever our skin tone.” Companies paid attention, saw the business opportunity and eventually granted their wish.
Brands have expanded their color palates and there is rarely an ad today that doesn’t feature a range of ethnicities including women on the darker end of the color spectrum.
Imagine my surprise when I read about Sudanese model Nykhor Paul’s experience. Ms. Paul revealed that she has to bring her own cosmetics to photo shoots because they do not carry shades for darker skin tones. While this was commonplace back in the day, it seems that back in the day includes nowadays! Ms. Paul took to social media to voice her displeasure, “Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don’t have to do anything but show up wtf! Don’t try to make me feel bad because I am blue black. ”
Black women have been gracing fashion runways for decades. More recently, Lupita Nyongo has become the face of Lancôme, a role that has traditionally belonged to white models or celebrities. With this reality, there needs to be a mindset of inclusion within the community of makeup artists. It’s time for this community to mirror cosmetics manufacturers and cater to the entire colorful universe of potential clients.