When most people think about lack of inclusivity in the beauty industry, their first thoughts are cultural appropriation, lack of foundation shade ranges, or insulting shade names. For women of color, who have to face these realities more than anyone else, it's so much more. And leave it to Jackie Aina to bring those concerns to the forefront with her massive platform.
She just released a video on her YouTube channel trying out a bunch of shades aptly named "Nude." You'd think that the colors would be true to her skin tone, right? Absolutely not. The results were embarrassing, and yet again, Aina exposed the beauty industry for its narrow-minded ways.
She also knows a thing or two about inclusivity.
And not that fake inclusivity that the beauty industry continuously tries to shove down our throats for dollar signs. Aina is a true diversity advocate and has been since she began her career in beauty. You can count on her unfiltered, real opinion on brands, products, and trends that undermine women and men of color.
So in her most recent video, she's outing brands for their very one-sided opinions of what "nude" is.
She scrolled through the search engine results for "nude lipstick," and the results provided multiple shades of beige and other colors that visibly are not anything like the hue of darker skin tones. As she kept scrolling, it became apparent that the beauty industry needs to expand the definition of nude.
So without further adieu, she took off her good nude and got to swatching.
She started the video off with a beautiful nude color and wiped it off to prepare to try on an array of "nude" lips that proved too light for her skin tone. Aina made it clear early on that she was going into the challenge with low expectations.
The first nude was ... well, not good.
It was a chalky mess, actually. The white cast look was giving serious Dave Chappelle vibes, and we were not impressed. However, Aina made it clear that she liked the color overall, it just needed a good liner, as most women of color do when wearing nude lipsticks.
So what did she do? She added a liner.
After adding a deep brown liner, the color came to life. So much so, that Aina said the look made her look like she was running a Fortune 500 company. However, that look would not have been achieved had she not added depth to the lipstick, making the color a bust.
She continued by swatching "nude" foundations, and things got even worse.
Hue after hue of ivory followed one after the other, and the shades didn't even come close to Aina's complexion. Of course, her reaction came with disgusted faces and snarky comments. Even worse, the poor shade choices came from mega-brands that we all know and love.
But all hope was not lost after Aina tried another nude lip from Mented.
Mented, which stands on the mission of "Our time, our nudes," is a brand that, since its creation, has created nudes for all skin tones. Aina applied one of its peachy nudes to her lips, and it looked like magic. The shade worked perfectly on her skin and needed no liners or adjusting.
But the overall verdict for "nude" products is still rather trash.
She lined up every single product swatch she had tried on her arm, and the results were embarrassing. The vast majority of the shades should have been named "ivory,' not "nude," and there was only one of the bunch that was acceptable for multiple skin tones.
Beauty industry, if you're listening, it's time to adjust your narrow definition of "nude."
I hate to be this person, but WTF? This is what women of color mean when we say that the beauty industry is pandering. Brands create 40-plus shades of foundations thinking that they can pacify us. Meanwhile, they fail to create any other products that really cater to our needs. More brands should follow the example of Mented; it's the least they could do.