Another day, another trash foundation launch. Why are we even here again?
Benefit Cosmetics is 100% aware of the conversations surrounding inclusive makeup in beauty. The brand witnessed the Fenty effect just like everyone else. We'd be foolish to believe it's been somewhere over the rainbow, as beauty industry consumers implore brands to make room for people of all skin tones with all product launches. Still, Benefit Cosmetics felt comfortable announcing its new Hello Happy Flawless Brightening Foundation with only 12 foundation shades. So what gives?
Colorism has become one of those polarizing buzzwords that make eyes roll when they come up, because they're uncomfortable to talk about. Still, riddle me this:
If bad shade ranges don't promote colorism, why is it that no bad ranges ever have darker shades as the majority? We never see a brand drop 12 shades and have eight of them be dark. We never witness a brand drop a foundation range with a majority of dark shades, period. Why is it that the shades that get the least love in all of these launches always happen to be for darker complexions? Brands that say, "We'll be adding more later" rarely drop darker shades and comfort lighter people with such an excuse.
I must reiterate that patterns mean things.
Some people think the 12 shades are just fine.
"Let’s talk about the difference of 'Shade Range' and 'Number of Shades.' The range is excellent. There is an option for everyone. This is a medium (I’m pretty sure light) coverage foundation. An exact match isn’t necessary. There are only 12 shades for that reason," one person wrote.
As the self-appointed Spokesperson for the Melanin Delegation (and you know, a beauty writer who spends 95% of her time playing with, reading about, and writing about makeup), I have to say that this take is a bit ridiculous. I usually let alternative opinions fly, but this one isn't just an opinion. It's fake news.
I'm a dark-skinned person who regularly wears medium coverage foundation and I 100% need an accurate match. A foundation being medium, light, or full coverage has zero to do with a person wanting or needing the right color.
It's also important to note that Benefit Cosmetics doesn't specify any undertones. The brand has only labeled the foundations warm, cool, or neutral. Two people can have similar complexions with warm undertones and still need a different foundation. An example is a dark-skinned person with a golden undertone versus a dark-skinned person with a red undertone. Got it? This is all basic color theory that a brand of Benefit Cosmetics' pedigree should know up and down, by the way.
Despite the few who are cool with the 12 shades, there are plenty who acknowledge the lack of inclusion.
"I disagree that they don’t need more shades. while 12 shades of a light coverage foundation can do a great job providing the depth of color, it will not provide the right undertones for everyone," one person noted. "I still don’t mind this launch bc this is typical from Benefit and at least they have black shades nowadays, but make no mistake, they are not catering to everyone. While working at a benefit retailer and shade matching people to their last foundation w the same shades and opacity there were plenty that didn’t have a match."
One fan called the shade range "embarrassing."
"I don’t know what y’all expect from Benefit. This is the same brand that tried to convince us you can use Hoola on every skin tone. This is just embarrassing. Drug Store brands got more shades than this... & They actually look different and not the same," the person wrote.
And in this critique lies the solution to this Benefit Cosmetics drama: Just support the brands that do care to include enough shades. Benefit Cosmetics doesn't seem to care based on its consistent product offerings, so just direct your coins elsewhere if you choose. That's the real protest, anyway.