Promoting Inclusive Beauty Standards

A year ago, the makeup brand Tarte released their Shape Tape foundation and received immense backlash for their limited shade range from the beauty community. Media platforms like YouTube called out the company for releasing several variations of foundations for light skin tones, but only two options for darker skin tones.

Recently, Tarte once again released the foundation, this time including more shades, though the bitterness lingered for some reviewers — and rightly so. For a company with so much money, I was shocked that they would even release a product that was so limited and expect it to sell. There is no excuse for releasing limited shades — if you can formulate one foundation, you can certainly go back to the lab and formulate others.

I also began noticing how many brands actually lack shade ranges. The popular Instagram account Trendmood posted a new foundation release from Givenchy, which yet again, had very few shades for people of color (pictured below). You’d think they’d learn from the Tarte incident.

Another brand on the Sephora site, called Amorepacific, has a cushion compact with rave reviews. I was going to purchase it when I realized it only offered a mere five shades and retailed for a whopping $60. (You can check out the shade range below.) The shade that came closest to my complexion was called medium yellow, but it was still not a perfect match, especially for the summer when I get even tanner. There were no deep shades available at all, and even the models weren’t completely inclusive. 

Promoting big names and showcasing limited shades can deeply harm young individuals’ self-esteem, especially minorities and people of color. These brands are suggesting they want only a specific kind of consumer. They cater to privileged groups, making it seem like beautiful people are only light-skinned. It is then crucial for beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta to take a stand against selling non-inclusive products. This does not necessarily mean the entire brand must be “cancelled” since ultimately, that choice stands with the consumer.

However, a popular beauty brand that fails to make an inclusive product should not have that item so widely accessible. There are so many other brands that do things the right way. Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, for example, was revolutionary because developers took time to try and formulate shades for people of all skin tones and undertones. Even Fenty setting powders come in different colors. More affordable brands like Colourpop have also released inclusive lines of beauty, providing inclusive options for people with different income backgrounds.

Though it seems like a small issue, makeup has always been an industry with immense influence. YouTubers make millions reviewing products and creating their own lines, and this contributes to what we conceive as “attractive” or “ideal” when it comes to appearances. We should treat makeup the same way we treat clothing lines that do not carry a wide range of sizes, which can come off as fat-shaming individuals. There’s no room for damaging and discriminatory releases in 2019.

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