Sunday, 27 March 2016

Beauty for everyone

I remember when I bought my first foundation, I was 14, it was the Maybelline dream matte mouse, the one with the super high coverage that transfers on everything (I used to accidentally leave brown spots all over my worksheets at school from touching my face) I remember looking in Boots and Superdrug for a long time before I found that foundation, the only other brand that had foundations in my shade was Revlon. Every other brand had no shades that came anywhere near matching my skin tone.

Can I also say, that the one shade of foundation I found from Maybelline is the only shade for black people? and there are 11 fucking shades for all variations of white skin tones - varying from the palest to the most tan, but just one for women of colour, as if all black people fit into the same shade of foundation? We need different shades too! I had someone ask me why there are make-up brands made specifically for black people (ones like IMAN) and its because there are no colour selections out there for us.

I hear girls in the shops saying 'I think I need to go a shade darker/lighter - I don't have that luxury, most foundation colour charts go from pale for fair skin, to one shade for black people. I cannot go one shade lighter, and there doesn't even exist a shade darker for me.

I remember picking up a copy of GLAMOUR magazine a few years ago and was genuinely shocked when I saw a black girl modelling in the make-up section. A beauty magazine? Giving make-up tips and advice using a black model? it was unheard of.

Even now, Rimmel don't do shades for women of colour, neither do Bourjois, Chanel (although they are expanding their range soon), Natural Collection, Soap and Glory, Maxfactor, Seventeen, Collection or Barry M -  and literally every store own make-up brand ever such as MUA (with the exception of No.7 at Boots) Sometimes a brand will do one or two darker shades but they'll never be stocked in store, and those shades will always be sold out online because online is the only place you can get them.

I still don't understand why make-up brands, specifically ones stocked in high street stores like Superdrug and Boots, refuse to carry (or even create) shades for anyone that isn't white. Its ridiculous, its racist, its infuriating. Part of my obsession with beauty is because I have to work so hard to find flattering colours for my skin tone, it took me 3 years to find one nude lipstick on the high street, not even kidding. its not just foundations and lipsticks, there are no darker shades of concealer, face powder, no darker blushes, nothing is catered towards us, and I can't fathom how this hasn't changed by now.

In the high end beauty industry, with brands such as MAC, Bobbi Brown, Fashion Fair and the like, there are endless shades with colours catered to suiting the different undertones of dark skin. But why should I have to spend more to find my shade? Some high street brands have made slow progress over the years in expanding their colour selections (note: I bought a contour palette from Seventeen actually created for deep skin tones! and yet Seventeen can't create foundations for us? Hmm) however this progress is going at a snails pace.

A beauty blogger I love called Shana Moore realized the issue I'm talking about, and created something called 'The Painted Lip Project' which is where she films herself trying on different shades of lipstick from brands, to show what they look like on deeper complexions. Its started a YouTube trend and now other darker women on Youtube are joining in the project, showing lip colours on an even wider range of deeper complexions. In beauty campaigns, lipsticks especially - are never shown on women of colour, so we never know what they will look like on us unless we buy it, which is so unfair! Nude lipsticks are the worst, often they look lovely on paler skins and look ashy and washed out on us. I think the painted lip project is a genius idea and I've found it very helpful, but it makes me angry that its even needed.

Extreme racism was such a prevalent part of our culture for such a long time, that its unsurprising racism has filtered into every aspect of life, even beauty - although the world is a lot better with racism today than it was back then; thankfully. Why then, is the beauty industry acting like black people don't exist? Beauty should be for everyone, we love make-up too, and its unfair to give us such limited choices.

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