For this story, even before I hit the likes of Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman, I knew my options were limited. I had traveled down that road before. What I didn’t anticipate was the incredible amount of sadness I'd feel when I bounced from counter to counter. Some salespeople were empathetic, while others force-fed me shades that clearly didn’t match. I cried. Cried because things hadn’t changed much over the years and cried because I felt like a fool walking the streets looking like a clown wearing makeup several shades too light.
I interviewed beauty executives to get their sides, and the fact of the matter is that darker skin tones are more complex. While they want to service everyone, sometimes the business side of things makes that difficult. Clearly, companies recognize the buying power, but will we buy their products if they produce them? It’s almost the beauty version of which comes first, the chicken or the egg?
I’m one woman with one opinion and I obviously don’t represent every shade on the color spectrum, so in fairness, I created a panel to help figure out which lines best service darker skin tones. I had a little foundation party over at my place and my friends (and friends of friends) of varying hues and skin concerns, gathered together, downed some wine and tested foundations, concealers, and BB/CC creams from around 30 brands.
The great makeup debate often turns into a discussion that resembles men yapping about their favorite sports team. It gets passionate and sometimes heated. Clearly, there are several lines that aren’t featured in this story and that’s because there were concerns over texture, lasting power, limited color options, issues with undertones...the list goes on. The goal wasn’t to simply list brands that cater to women of color or lines with large skus — the brands had to perform, too. Everyone has an opinion, and while a brand works for some, it may not work well for others. However, the discussion should continue so they can step up their game — we should never feel as if we have to settle — and we shouldn’t stop until beauty becomes all-inclusive.
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NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation Refill, $38, available at NARS.
MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15, $27, available at MAC.
blackUp CC Cream Multi-Action, $39, available at black|Up.
Becca Ever Matte Shine Proof Foundation, $42, available at Becca.
Sacha Cosmetics Second Skin Liquid Foundation, $30, available at Sacha Cosmetics.
b.la.c. Minerals Mineral Foundation, $21.50, available at Blac Minerals.
Lamik Full-Coverage Foundation, $32, available at Lamik.
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