Submitted for your approval: YSL's All Hours Concealer swatches. It features models of three different complexions wearing six swatches of concealer... and there's a PROBLEM.
A few problems, honestly.
Although this product isn't new, the fact that there are still only SIX SHADES is astonishing. Those six shades only range from fair (Porcelain) to medium/deep (Mocha). In the era of Fenty Beauty, luxury brands like YSL should know that diversity is more than a buzzword — and people don't just come in six colors.
Second, the brand chose to use two models with similarly pale complexions, and then one dark-skinned model as swatch models for this product. Presumably, this was to show how each of the shades looked on multiple skin tones — but all it did was show how laughable YSL's concealer range truly is. Look at how light the darkest shade of concealer is on the dark-complected model! That's not even CLOSE to a shade match!
To say that this product, and the swatches the brand is using to market it, left a lot to be desired is an UNDERSTATEMENT.
Sadly, this isn't the first time YSL has crossed this bridge. The brand was called out in 2017 for a rather limiting full coverage foundation.
As Revelist reported, even some Instagram users refused to buy future YSL Beauty products after such a limiting shade launch. Ouch.
YSL's beauty line is definitely not the only brand that has been called out for this. Many other prestige lines have been dragged for not TRULY embracing diversity and inclusion.
Brands such as Marc Jacobs Beauty, Givenchy, Dior, Laura Mercier, and Benefit may cast models and influencers of color in their campaigns, but generally offer more foundation, concealer, and powder options for lighter-skinned people. That's not what diversity is about.
And it isn't limited to prestige brands. In 2017, the founder of IT Cosmetics delivered an emotional speech about the need for diversity in the beauty world — only to have Jackie Aina remind the brand that its foundation range doesn't include darker-skinned women.
Many brands may talk a big game about being "inclusive" — but if they're not making the products to serve the needs of women of color, all that talk is meaningless.
Brands who have TRULY made inclusivity part of their DNA have become highly successful. Last year, Fenty Beauty made strides toward inclusion by offering products in a wide variety of shades AND casting models who reflect the beauty of diversity.
After Fenty Beauty debuted a line of 40 (!) foundation shades, other brands took note. Kylie Cosmetics released concealer in 30 shades, and Marc Jacobs Beauty began promoting more models of color on its Instagram.
Although it may have been simply following the success of Fenty Beauty, it's noteworthy that the brands have started giving women of color more visibility in mostly white imagery.
Consumers deserve to see themselves equally represented in beauty images and products.
Rather than simply cancelling a beauty brand, it would be more beneficial to encourage them to take a look around. Whether that means analyzing how other brands have embraced inclusivity or simply asking what products women of all complexions need, brands need to take a step back and see what could be improved upon in the future.
Women of all shades would benefit, and therefore encourage more brands to do the same.