Diversity & the Beauty World


Earlier this year I wrote a post called The Problem with Drugstore Foundation and I really wasn't expecting it to get such a huge reaction! The issue seemed to resonate with so many people - I do understand that in the grand scheme of world problems, perhaps finding an affordable foundation for a range of skin tones isn't at the top of the list but to me it's a reflection of wider issues in our society. Today I'm reflecting on the topic but also bringing you something a little more positive: the brands that are making waves and changing things!

I've heard and read all sorts of horror stories from beauty industry insiders, being told that a brand doesn't have plans to create darker foundation shades because they 'don't sell' or blatantly admitting they only create one token dark shade by way of appeasing people. It's been proven time and time again that there is a market for these products so to me it's frustrating that here in 2016 we still have to fight for representation. It's not just cheaper products that are guilty of this; it's high-end brands that have more than enough money to research how to create realistic shades for a variety of skin tones. It isn't just about base products either, I also feel like (on the drugstore end of the market in particular) there are very few colour products that suit deeper skin tones too. 

I find it a little disheartening the lack of representation there is in magazines. Even if we take the UK demographics as a benchmark, it really seems like we are falling short. It's almost a surprise to see a woman of colour on the cover of a magazine. I pretty much always make a point to buy the magazine when I see it, because there seems to also be this perception by editors that editions with a woman of colour on the cover aren't going to sell. I'm pretty ashamed to admit that in the past when I've been scanning the magazine stand and see a black face, my split-second though was that it's Ebony or another 'niche' publication, which just goes to show how deep-rooted and internalised the issue is! However I do also realise that until mainstream magazines start being more inclusive, specific recognition is necessary.

So what's happening to change all of these issues? Well I've compiled a bit of a list of brands I think are standing up and doing something different, as well as some product recommendations from them. 

Melariche

This website stocks a collection of brands which have been specially sourced to cater to women of colour in terms of hair and skincare, as well as makeup. They also have some really helpful articles like this one, which talks about the difference between skin lightening and skin brightening products so you can stay safe whilst choosing the right products for your skin.

I recommend:

IMAN Cosmetics Sheer Finish Bronzing Powder in Afterglow* | £20.50 | I know this is billed as a bronzer but for me it's like a blusher. There are three sections; a peachy tone, a golden colour and a berry shade. They have this really subtle sheen that's not got any glitter in it at all and the formula blends out beautifully. The colours really work well all swirled together to create a rosy berry look that's perfect for Autumn. It doesn't go on patchy and doesn't fade unevenly throughout the day. I think this would look absolutely amazing on dark skin too.

IMAN Luxury Moisturising Lipstick in Hipster* | £12.95 | For me, this has a semi-matte finish that's still very comfortable. I find it applies smoothly and lasts me a good 4 hours before I need to reapply it. The shade itself will suit so many people; on light-medium skin it's a really 90s-look brown lip, whereas on darker and deeper skin tones it's a perfect 'your lips but better'. 


L'Oreal 

I feel like this one should be in brackets or something because they're (kind of) trying but I personally don't think this brand is quite there yet. For me, my main gripe is that they have a completely different foundation shade range in the US to the limited selection we get over here in the UK and they need to realise that there are a lot of people who want those colours over here too! I feel like bringing out the celebrity-inspired lipsticks for different skin tones and their True Match campaign were steps in the right direction. However I still can't find a shade in True Match because, although they're branded as having Cool, Neutral or Warm undertones, they still haven't quite got the tones right (they all seem to come out as pink or neutral beyond about shade 4). I'll give them a C+ though.

Superdrug

Superdrug actually emailed me after the original post on foundations I did and said that they are working to expand their range to be more inclusive. And I must admit I have noticed more and more beauty products (especially haircare) aimed towards different ethnicities on their shelves this year. I do still think there's room for improvement, however at the same time there has to be some leeway because although they could do more to stock a diverse range of brands, as far as drugstore makeup goes, their offering is only as good as brands like Rimmel, Bourjois etc. make it.

Sleek

This was probably the first brand I ever noticed in Boots and Superdrug that catered to a range of skin tones. They have a diverse selection not only when it comes to base products but also in terms of blusher and lipstick shades that will flatter a range of skin tones.

I recommend: 

Face Form Kit | £9.99 | It's pretty rare to find contour kits from high-end brands that can be used on deep skin tones, let alone at this price point, so Sleek deserve major props for this. This kit comes in 4 shades, I believe, and I use Medium in the Summer and Light in the Winter. The contour shade is very pigmented but when I want an intense look it's what I reach for (it also blends out with ease). The highlighters are both gorgeous, however I especially love the golden shade from the Medium kit. It's one of my most flattering highlighter shades so I definitely need to use it more, like I used to! My only gripe is that the Medium and Dark kits have a shimmery bronzer instead of a blusher and I wish they'd just had a darker blusher shade. The Light (and also Fair) kit is the same blusher as the individual Rose Gold; a gorgeous golden peach Nars Orgasm dupe.

Estee Lauder

This is one of the few brands that actually seems to have carried out the research and created realistic shades for a range of skin tones. There's no 'one token dark shade' here!

I recommend: 

Double Wear Stay in Place Makeup | £31 | This is definitely my favourite full-coverage matte foundation. It doesn't suffocate the skin or look dry or caky. It gives such an amazing flawless finish that really does stay in place and, most importantly, matches my skin tone. It's pretty rare to see very pale girls and darker-skinned girls (plus everyone in-between) all raving about the same product - but I see that with this!

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown is just the queen of natural, everyday makeup. However she makes it for a range of skin tones and the wide range of nude lipsticks and foundations are both flattering and realistic. There truly is something for everyone in terms of colour products and the foundations and concealers also come in so many shades.

I recommend: 

Skin Foundation | £32.50 | This is a lovely everyday foundation; it's not dewy but it is hydrating and makes your skin glow. It gives a flawless but still lightweight coverage and comes in a good selection of shades.

Nars

Nars is another great brand in terms of offering both a wide range of base products but also in terms of having an array of colours to suit lots of different complexions.

I recommend: 

Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturiser | £29 | I'm mentioning this over something like Sheer Glow purely because it's so uncommon for a lightweight base to come in this many shades. Even with high-end brands we're often lucky to get more than three colours! This a hydrating but not at all greasy tinted moisturiser. It's like your skin but better in a bottle; glowing and flawless but very natural. It will need a bit of powdering if you have oily skin but it's also pretty long-wearing. 

Coloured Raine

This brand focuses on bringing a range of lip (and now also eye) shades to suit a range of skin tones. The shades definitely lean towards bright and bold colours so you won't really find a work-appropriate sheer nude lip in their range (refer back to Bobbi Brown for that!) however that's not always a negative.

I recommend: Matte Liquid Lip Paint | £16 each | This is a really great liquid lipstick formula; it's so pigmented and long-wearing but not too drying. It doesn't flake and it's not difficult to layer or reapply. I have two shades in this: 24Seven is a bold strawberry colour and Bachelorette is a deep berry-mauve colour.



ColourPop

Despite not doing base products, I just had to mention ColourPop's impressive (and very affordable) range! They focus on lip, eye and cheek products and I think their highlighters deserve a special mention because they come in such a variety of tones and there's more than just one or two that will really work on deep skin. My recommendation was going to be the KaePop collection, however sadly they don't keep their collaborations around forever and this one has been discontinued. On the other hand Karreuche was not the first woman of colour they released a collection with and I'm sure she won't be the last! However that collection was just perfect for my skin tone.

Other Brands to Check Out

Black Up

Personally, I just don't know if I can get past the name of this brand! However it's a French company with products designed for deeper skin. The base range is a little dark for me personally, however I definitely want to check out their colour products because they have so many amazing blusher shades.

Fashion Fair

This is another brand I haven't tried yet but really want to soon. Like Black Up, this can also be found in Debenhams, I don't think I've actually seen a stand for them (whereas I know Black Up is stocked in the city centre store in Manchester) but I don't think this is an online-only brand for them. I've also seen this brand in Boots in Birmingham and they stock Fashion Fair online. This brand is focussed on base products but they also create colour product to flatter deeper skin.

Juvia's Place

I've honestly been teetering on the edge of buying the Nubian palette for about the past month! I need to just suck it up and take the international shipping one of these days... The brand was founded by a Nigerian-born wife and mother and the products are both affordable and beautifully-designed. Although they focus on eyeshadows, they really do cater to so many skin tones. I've seen swatches of these palettes on deep skin and they look incredible and I've seen someone as fair as Nikkietutorials also raving about them!

As I'm sure people will point out, I have focussed on my own personal experiences in this post. That's not because I don't care about or want to dismiss the experiences of people with other skin tones who struggle to find products to suit them; it's because I don't want to speak on behalf of anyone or put words into their mouths. I know so many women of different backgrounds all have their own unique stories to tell about the issues they've faced in the world of beauty. However it's not for me to tell those stories for them as someone who isn't experiencing it from their perspective. That's when it's over to you to share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section!


Who are your best and worst brands in terms of finding shades that suit your skin tone? What has been your experience?





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52 comments

  1. I'm what my mum calls "peely Wally" which basically means im so pale I don't have an undertone (other than a bluey yellow) I find it hard finding foundations that aren't pink based or orange based, but once I step into high end makeup I seem to be able to find a match quite well. The thing I struggle with is blush/bronze/highlight - I can end up looking like coco the clown if I don't be careful. I have fallen in love with the Loreal True Match highlighter in Icy Glow though, they have one for deeper skin tones too - im sure you would love it :)

    Erin || MakeErinOver

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    1. That made me laugh haha. I will have to check out the highlighter :) xx

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  2. I'm so glad you're touching on this topic! It's so positive and inspiring to see. I really think you'll make a difference xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. I've never had any problems finding foundation shade that suits my skin but I totally agree that many brands do not cater to people with deeper skin tones. Pale/fair/light aren't the only skin tones, though. Brands need to step up their game.

    http://www.erinazmir.com

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  4. As people with color, I can relate to this! Even in my country when majority of people has deeper skin tone, the local makeup brands sell grayish and 'whitening' base that only makes face ashen. I mean, what? We're blessed with amazing thing called melanine, why try to hide it? I love BB and Nars for base product, their shade range is life-saver for me. I'd say MUFE too!

    Selene Addicted

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    1. That makes me really sad :( and yes I forgot about MUFE! xx

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  5. I really struggle to find foundations that are pale enough for me. MAC have such an incredible shade range, but it's a shame that lower price brands only produce a few shades every time they launch a new product.
    Philippa x

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    1. Yes MAC have a great range - SFF is only £22 at least but it's sad that it's impossible for many women to get anything cheaper than that xx

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    1. I will have to check out their foundations! xx

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  7. Lots of foundation brands need to expand their range of shades, glad you've touched on the subject! x

    http://emmaboughtwhat.blogspot.co.uk/

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  8. I think I went to Estee Lauders Double Wear when I was 18 years old to get my first foundation that properly matched me. I had one or two from the drugstore but I felt like I was settling for something. I literally never go near Max Factor because I find that it's the worst for foundation shades. It's a pity that it still hasn't majorly changed!
    Anjna Harish 

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    1. Yeah it's a real shame - I have similar memories of my mum taking me to MAC because the cheap foundations just weren't right on me xx

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  9. SUCH an important post and completely agree that this a very deep rooted issue in the beauty industry. Really pleased to see some positivity though and seeing some brands making a change, especially big retailers like Superdrug.

    The Makeup Directory

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  10. I think it's really positive that there are brands making changes and catering for darker skin tones. It's definitely something that needs to be spoken about more until no one has an issue finding shades and colours to suit them

    Emily x | emilyclairewrites.com

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  11. I have definitely noticed a lot more haircare coming available - when I first started wearing my hair natural (baring in mind I'm very much on the wavy end of curly) it was so difficult to find good products even for my hair, now I'm spoilt for choice and actually have to be careful as some are too much!

    I do have the opposite problem (kinda) with foundation. I'm super pale but have an olive undertone - even when I've had makeup done professionally they've had to blend three foundations together to make a match, so I've accepted I'm strange!

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Lifestyle Blog

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    1. That's so annoying - no matter how fair or deep your skin is, you can have any undertones! xx

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  12. This is such an important post and i think that as a whole the beauty community needs to discuss this and also acknowledge that there are so many brands that don't make darker foundations and as you stated won't make them. I would love to see the beauty community kind of rally around bloggers of color and you know support them when dealing with this kind of stuff. I just wrote an essay talking about this issue as well as currently writing a post about this on my own blog and honestly your post has some at an opportune time! I hope you don't mind but when my post comes out I would love to link to this post and you're previous one about the problem with drugstore makeup!
    Hey Zaire!

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    1. I totally agree with this and yes of course you can - it'd be great if you could tweet me it too as I'd love to read :) xx

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  13. Bourjois are AWFUL for skin tones! Loved this post though - Really useful for those with darker skin tones! Foundations wise I very much fit into the Bourjois pale skin tones, I'm very freckly on the face and also pale.

    eleanor
    elleanorwears.com

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    1. They're honestly at the top of my 'the worst' list in this regard! xx

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  14. I just purchased the Double Wear Foundation and I literally love it so much! I'm in the color 1N1 and I'm really grateful for the wide range of shades. I just discovered your blog, it's amazing! x Eva :)
    http://lipstickforeva.blogspot.com

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  15. Fantastic post Jasmine, I think Bobbi Brown, Nars, Sleek, ABH, Black Up and L'Oreal are really good at catering for a larger variety of skin tones, although I still think many of those could improve. On the other hand, there are almost too many to name in terms of brands that barely even cater to my medium/tan skin. Laura Mercier is one that has really disappointed me, but I do think they are getting better. Thanks for sharing x

    ALittleKiran | Bloglovin

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    1. I do regularly think 'if I can't find anything, what does everyone else go through?' :( xx

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  16. I love this post! I could not agree more! I hope more brands follow suit and provide a wider range of products to suit everyone! <3

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  17. I'm on the super pale end of the spectrum and find even the high end brands don't stock anything nearly as pale as my skin. The Nars foundations are all far too dark, the Chantilly concealer is wearable for me but does run a bit dark. Make Up Forever has the best range of foundations for both light and dark that I've ever seen!

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    1. Yeah I can't believe I neglected MUFE! xx

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  18. I really dislike brands that make a very limited range of foundations. Even though I'm Chinese and can usually find something that fits, I'm still very put off when I notice limited colors. I've seen high end brands that make base that comes in one to two shades. That's ridiculous! Definitely agree that Estee Lauder and Bobbi Brown are some of the better brands out there - I remember an interview where Bobbi made sure there were colors for darker skin, that it was important to the brand.

    Alyse (J.X.L.) ▲ Lumière & Lens

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    1. Yeah I recall her saying something on the topic which got me interested in her base products :) xx

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  19. I'm so glad I read this! I struggled finding the right foundation and products for my skin. Thanks for sharing <3

    xo,


    aikocunanan.com

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  20. I really want to try the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundaton!

    Danielle xx
    http://www.fashionbeautyblog.co.uk/

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  21. Its so inspiring to see a blogger trying to make a real change in the beauty industry. Its good to hear that some big retails are making an effort to cater for everyone. Keep up the good work, Jasmine! xx

    LPage Beauty

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  22. I have been vocal about the lack of shade range in the beauty world too and not only WOC have hard time but the same goes to anyone with very pale skin. One would think in 2016 the beauty world would embrace the colour diversity but alas, it's not so.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

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    1. It's a shame that we've barely progressed since I was buying my first ever foundations xx

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  23. I remember enjoying your original post on this matter and love the update! It's great how some brands have got in contact about it too! Fully agree, El Double Wear is non negotiable for me, I always need one in my stash, such a great colour range (I've went thorough a few shades myself) and coverage! I want some Juvia's Place in my life!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

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    1. I reeeeeally want to try their palettes! xx

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  24. It really is such a shame that there's such a lack of diversity in the beauty world :( As a person of color I've pretty much given up at trying to find any face product that matches me at the drugstore. Tati posted a $5 and under tag on Youtube today and I thought it might be fun to try. Then I remembered that there are absolutely no brands that will make foundations or concealers for my skin tone in the under $5 range :(

    Anyways, thank you for calling attention to the brands that are doing it right! If we focus our attention and money on them, hopefully slowly by slowly other brands can start to see that they're losing out on a huge demographic.

    I wish there were also more diversity in other aspects too! Like skincare ads featuring people with actually problematic skin. People of different ages, of different genders, of different weights, etc.

    Mili | Sharmtoaster

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    1. It really is sad :( I can't get anything under £15. And that's a very good point - a lot of people buy makeup whether they're young or old, male or female etc xx

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  25. Although I am on the very pale end of the skin tone spectrum and often find it hard to find a foundation to match, I have noticed in drugstores that it looks even harder for POC. I live in Australia which is quite a multicultural country now, so you would think that there would be a large array of colours but it seems what is stocked is just for the light/medium skin tones.

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  26. Thank you for your comments, they were really insightful xx

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  27. Yes, yes, yes! I've struggled to find a foundation match from the drugstore as pretty much all were too pink toned or orange on me. I have a strong yellow, bordering on olive undertone. Makeup Forever was the first i discovered to make a foundation in my exact shade. Bobbi Brown does wonderful bases for those with yellow undertones but I have to go a shade lighter because the next shade up is much more noticeably darker on me. After trying Bourjois, I found two to match from the drugstore so I'm happy 😊

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    1. I'm the same! I can sort-of get away with orange tones but anything pink makes me look soooo ashy! xx

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  28. Fab blog post! Thanks for sharing x

    www.upyourvlog.com

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