When 40 Isn't Enough in the Beauty Community
Since the release of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna in 2017, 40 has become the definition of “diversity” for a number of major makeup brands. Brands have popped up with a new standard of carrying at least 40 shades of foundation. We applaud brands looking to include black and brown women but 40 shades does not always mean that there is a fair amount of darker shaded included in the foundation lineups. It is as if beauty brands are focusing on the number of shades and not the actual pigments of the foundation colors.
Was Fenty Beauty the first cosmetics line to carry 40 shades? Surprisingly, no. MAC Pro Longwear Foundation and Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation originally offered 40+ shades, but now other brands are playing catch up. Once Fenty Beauty hit and, quickly disappeared from, the shelves, other well known beauty brands begun scrambling to their makeup labs to keep up. Within months, brands like Tarte, Dior, and even Covergirl were releasing their versions of 40 shades of diversity.
Brands that did not extend their shade ranges to include 40+ foundation colors definitely called for emergency PR and marketing meetings for a social media reboot. The goal now, was to display of more women of color or give the illusion of inclusion with their products. Still, the big miss is the actual inclusion of black and brown women with products that work!
We see progress but there is still the continuous issue of having to decide to go lighter or darker than our shade or even having to become mixologist to create the perfect shade before beating our faces continued. The biggest miss with new extended shade ranges is undertones with the darker foundation shades. Many brands are even labeling their warm, neutral and cool tones for their darker shades incorrectly.
After the 40+ foundation shades in a line trend, expanding concealer shade ranges was the next big trend for many beauty brands. Again, sometimes they hit the mark and other times 40 was just a number to make us think diversity and inclusion was a goal.
So, what can we do? We continue to support brown-girl approved and inclusive beauty lines like Danessa Myricks, AJ Crimson, Hue Noir, Marena Beaute and of course Fenty Beauty! While we support our favorite, "for us, by us," products we must continue to make our voices heard. Challenge brands to included all forms of beauty. We must continue to break the mold of beautiful by using our voices!