This week, BeautyBlender, the brains behind the best-selling makeup sponge, took to Instagram to lift the lid on its debut foundation, Bounce.
It's a launch that made complete sense and one that beauty-obsessives all over the globe, from editors to influencers, have been anticipating for years. With a clever built-in tray for the BeautyBlender sponge, a cruelty-free and vegan formula, plus 24-hour coverage, it sounded promising.
But when the brand unveiled its shade range on social media, people were quick to call out the lack of shades for women of color. Out of 32 shades, only four would suit some deep skin tones, and it wasn't long before Instagram followers shared their thoughts on the collection, calling it "disappointing."
"Bounce back to the lab and create more shades for darker skin tones. How come there’s 2 rows of the same shade?" wrote one Instagram user, while another asked: "WHERE ARE THE DARK SHADES? You’ve got so many shades for light skin toned people, what about the darker skin toned beauties that love makeup too? Makeup should be for everyone to love and use, and when brands still have 50 shades of beige, especially now days when brands are coming out with 40+ shades for ALL skin tones, it just looks like you guys don’t care for darker skin colored people as much as you do for light skinned people."
Beyond wanting more shade options, many criticized the existing shades for being unrealistic. "I was hoping to try this foundation, but the color setup for women of color is horrible - I’m not orange or burgundy," wrote one. Another user said: "Big companies should know how humans look like. I never knew that humans were naturally the color of cherries and oranges."
Having received hundreds of similar comments, the team behind BeautyBlender took the time to respond to their followers in a bid to defend the new launch. "Of our 32 blends, half the shades are formulated for a range of brown skin tones," they wrote. "We truly want everyone to find the perfect match! Our model grid is our actual shade range."
BeautyBlender then went on to address a picture of the foundations that had been posted to Instagram by Trendmood, suggesting the filter used may have skewed the look of shades: "We hear you but the image on Trendmood's post has a wacky filter and doesn't give a true representation of our shade range."
In response to a follower who criticized them for using orange pigments, they alluded to President Donald Trump before going on to explain the importance of undertone: "We never want to look orange like a certain someone but we added enough warmth for those who have yellow or red undertones. Undertones matter!"
But it seems its responses failed to convince some followers, who said they would still be giving the product a miss when the waiting list opens on Sephora today.
Many BeautyBlender fans shared their hopes that the brand would realize its mistake and release many more deep shades to cater to a wider range of skin tones, while others argued that they should have made the collection as inclusive as possible from the start.
Refinery29 contacted BeautyBlender for comment and this is what a representative had to say: "Of our 32 blends, half the shades (16) are formulated for a range of olive and brown skin tones. We truly want everyone to find their perfect match and our founder, Rea Ann Silva, is not only Latina, but a professional makeup artist working primarily with women of color, so she is an expert in this color range. Those with tan, deep, and dark skin tones understand that finding the right color foundation is all about matching your undertone and this is where Rea Ann saw the biggest hole in the market — for women like herself and her multicultural family."