Since Fenty Beauty launched and shifted the makeup industry's paradigm with its inclusivity, other brands are lagging behind.
Cosmetic companies have suddenly realized that women of color exist, and that their money is the same color as anyone else's. As brands struggle to catch up, it appears some may have employed tactics that could be offensive to the very people they are trying to target. Several brands have been called out for editing the skin tones of both black and white models to appear darker in swatch photos — and Twitter is furious.
Refinery29 recently looked into this trend and what they found wasn't great.
A spokesperson for the brand posted a statement to Instagram. "Thanks to everyone who shared feedback on our recent arm swatch image, we hear you and want you to know that we remain committed to continually representing our inclusive BECCA Beauties."
Truth: The image featured four models of different ethnicities.
Truth: We acknowledge the way we adjusted the image missed the mark and are deeply sorry for this oversight.
Truth: BECCA is committed to showcasing the lightest to the deepest skin tones and hiring inclusive models for our campaigns. To demonstrate this commitment, we’ve re-shot with real girls from the BECCA office."
In fact, when Il Makiage was called out for editing a white model to appear black, they insisted they altered the shades of the foundation and not the models. How is that better?
“The models used were four diverse women, including an African-American woman,” co-founder Shiran Holtzman Erel told Refinery29. “The only digital alterations performed were in order to differentiate between the shades to help shoppers choose accurately.”
Makeup brands need to step their game up. Fenty Beauty managed to make waves simply because they created an inclusive product. It is hard to justify the practice of being deceptive and further marginalizing an already marginalized group of consumers.
The only real explanation is racial bias. It is simply bad for business to exclude millions of potential customers because of the color of their skin. If the bottom line is money, then brands are choosing to miss out on potential profits when they decide they don't feel like making more shades.
According to Nielsen, black women alone spend nine times more on beauty and haircare products than our non-black counterparts, with a spending power totaling $1.1 billion annually on beauty. Moreover, it is also noted that when black people choose to consume a certain product, it adds a "cool factor," which is no surprise since black culture has always significantly shaped American trends.
“Our research shows that black consumer choices have a ‘cool factor’ that has created a halo effect, influencing not just consumers of color but the mainstream as well,” said Cheryl Grace, senior vice president of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen.
And this doesn't even include women of color from other racial and ethnic groups who want makeup, too. It's about time we start showing women of color (and our dollars) some freaking respect. It's apparent we keep showing up for brands, but when will they start showing up for us?