Written by: Niroshini Mather
When Fenty Beauty first launched in 2017, it was seen to be revolutionary within the beauty industry as its inclusive line of up to 40 foundation and concealer shades was unheard of up until that point.
For many people like me, it was inspiring to finally see our skin tone being recognized after years of ashy foundations and lipsticks with unflattering shades. In response to Fenty’s commercial success and recognition, many companies followed suit in not only expanding their shade ranges but also featuring more women of colour in their campaigns.
But is representation enough? Does featuring one brown girl simply make a company a model of inclusivity? Should a company who expanded their shade range to “keep up” with their competitors be celebrated as a progressive leader in the industry?
Representation does not equal diversity in the beauty industry. It is just one piece of a puzzle in creating an industry that is not only inclusive, but welcoming and celebratory of the wide range of races. True diversity involves catering to the needs of ethnic groups; recognizing that one product is not applicable to all hair types or all skin types and asking how the line of products can be expanded to address these needs as well. True diversity involves incorporating it in every aspect of the company, not just the public campaigns, but product development, hiring practices and communication. True diversity involves having leaders who are women of colour calling the shots, voicing their opinions, and inspiring change.
The beauty industry has only taken one small step forward in the long journey toward inclusivity. As the consumers, it is our job to ensure they continue progressing along that path by demanding change and supporting brands that do display a commitment to diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of their business.
Check out these brands below that were created by incredible women of colour!
1) Juvia’s Place
3) Ayele & Co
4) The Lip Bar
5) Cheekbone Beauty
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