Diversity or Adversity in the Beauty Industry

NOTE: This post isn't to alienate, be negative or take away from anyone mentioned within the post. It's simply highlighting issues that are well known but are constantly overshadowed.

Channel 4 news reported this year about the rise in popularity in the beauty community of YouTube & Blogging - I'm going to include blogging as a lot of these women covered blog & what I have to say isn't limited to YouTube. Jon Snow made the comment that it 'seemed all very white and posh to me'. It is a fact & it is very much ruled by that fact.

Is This Down To How the Media & Beauty Corporation's View Us?
Yes! The media doesn't advertise or support a lot of products aimed at women of colour therefore it doesn't feel or look diverse. If you switch on the t.v. and watch commercials you very rarely or never see a woman of colour advertising hair or & or make-up. I've rarely seen a WOC on a home shopping network advertising make-up, unless it's aimed specifically to that audience. I still think that's unfair, there are brands that do have a range of colours for WOC so why not when advertising do they not have a selection of women to show the make-up on so WOC aren't always looked upon as the minority?

If companies want to look diverse, use a selection of skin tones, a couple of years ago when we done the Tans for Women of Colour project we wanted to include different skintones and had a diverse selection so it wouldn't be difficult for others to find someone to relate too. Unfortunately something a lot of companies do not take into consideration. They will MOSTLY use WOC to advertise anything but make-up. For instance, Thandie Newton is the face for Olay...she's advertising skincare products, that's great, there's a WOC advertising & being a spokeswoman but you rarely see WOC that have ageing skin to begin with. We've had Jourdan Dunn as one of the faces for YSL & now she's the new face for Maybelline New York. Lancôme jumped onto the Lupita Nyong'o popularity and signed her up as a spokeswoman. Other companies such as L'Oreal controversially, white wash Beyoncé & Freida Pinto's make-up advertising.

Thandie Newton has also spoken out at how stores treat WOC when it comes to make-up and said there's a "‘ghettoisation’ of make-up." within the stores right now. Thandie made the point that stores will stock an entire range when first launched but over time will take off the darker shades and only stock the lighter shades - she's not wrong. The fact I live in a town to begin with, we don't have large branches therefore they don't stock everything and it's even more disheartening that they begin to stock items and remove them. Make-up artist Kay Montano responded to Thandie's claims:
Every single make-up company has every single shade. It’s all made. But it all comes down to territories and men in suits deciding what sells.’

How can we leave it down to men in suits to say what sells? You don't give us the opportunity to see what is in the store before your yanking them off the shelves or hiding the products in the dark aisle of Boots where the tumbleweed is rolling by. Within Luton, there's 2 brands currently within Debenhams that are aimed directly at WOC, Black|UP & Fashion Fair, I've even noticed that the Fashion Fair counter has been downsized. They took IMAN away, Beverley Knight Cosmetics went into administration. There's very little support.

So is there any surprise that the Majority are Overshadowing the Minority?
All these factors do not help but within the blogging community there's a lack of support at the best of times, we're more ready to tear down the other whenever possible. Fashionicide has mentioned on Twitter: "It baffles me that so many girls of my own colour email saying they love my blog but won't follow as I 'have too many followers already' And then 10 minutes later they tweet gushing about some big blogger with 100 times more followers than me. WTF?"

Being able to see women who look just like you, boosts your self confidence, if your always been force fed this media's ideal look of beauty, there's going to be a lot more skin bleaching, low self esteem and self hatred. There are a few UK YouTuber's of colour I can think of that are doing well for themselves, Patrica Bright, Shirley B. Eniang & BeautybyJJ to name a few. Yet why aren't I seeing more diverse selection of popular WOC bloggers/vloggers within the UK? I'd like to see more of a varied outlook of women when bloggers are asked to represent brands and be included in things. TBH I'm tired of seeing women who all look similar and have nothing to say that speaks to me. In a way it's what keeps me wanting to blog but at the same time it's become inflated with the same regurgitation from similar people.

'We're starting to think they don't want us,' - Thandie Newton
Boots - A Love Story - Thandie&Kay
The rise of make-up for darker skin - Anita Bhagwandas
Jourdan Dunn discusses the lack of make-up for dark skin
Black Women Love Makeup, But Does The Beauty Industry Love Them Back?
It's big business in the US, so why can't black women find suitable makeup on the British high street?
Note: Kay Montano & Thandie Newton have a website together "ThandieKay" Kay has worked as Thandie's make-up artist.
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  1. Anonymous31/8/14

    A brave post to put up on your blog! I'm in agreement though, there's some serious under-representation of women that aren't white in the beauty industry, and it doesn't reflect well. There are so many white voices out there that have almost nothing in common with me, beauty-wise, that have flooded the market. I started up my own blog for this very reason, there just wasn't anyone out there giving beauty advice that was useful to me.

    I'm glad there are companies out there catering specifically for WoC, but it shouldn't have to be that way. We only need our own shades of foundations and concealers, everything else we can pretty much rock it. I'm disgusted by the attitudes of the major companies you see in department stores, their advertising makes young WoC think that certain colours are almost 'white only'. The colours they aim at WoC are dull, bland and in some cases stereotypical. NO!

    Growing up, and getting in to make up, I thought it was just a fact of life that there wasn't much choice for girls like me in terms of makeup, but when you do some investigating and Googling, you see there's a vast choice out there. The problem is, how many people do that? Local department stores in towns like Luton etc should do more to cater for and encourage women of colour, make it easier` for them to see what's really available.

    High-end brands like NARS and Illamasqua cater for darker skin-tones, but of course they come at a premium. The current choice for WoC is to pay the higher price for the right tone or accept the mediocrity served up by high street brands. A sad state of affairs, it's time the high street stepped up. Perhaps the reason these men in suits decide to stop stocking our shades after a week or two, is that most of us just presume the choice will be limited and don't even bother looking. They've created this cycle where we see Boots and Superdrug as useless!

    And what also doesn't help us in terms of our voice, is I seem to have more issues from other WoC than from Caucasians. In fact, it seems my more loyal followers are white! I really do get emails, tweets and Instagram messages from predominantly Asian girls saying how much they admire me, privately licking my ass, saying they love my blog and Instagram, asking for my advice, wanting to MEET me and still refusing to publicly acknowledge me. And then I see them fawning over the uber-popular white bloggers, mentioning them in the hope of a retweet. In a way, I'm not really all that bothered about it now as I won't be blogging for long and moving onto the next thing, however I do feel for the girls that are in currently in my position.

    (Forgot my password didn't I?)

    1. I think for a lot of us we did start are blogs for that reason, when I started it wasn't much of an issue and I didn't see anything different but seeing it from the start 2008 until this year and noticing the last few years, things are being handed on a plate and it's not even mediocre things that are being put out there it's child's play.

      That is true, it's once again being segregated with companies who are just solely aiming at WOC but there are larger brands who could do that and it's not an issue, they will sell, their items already are premium but ethnic women do buy when and if they can. They live by shallow rules that we can only wear certain shades but to me make-up is confidence it's not led by rules. Like you said we need our own shades of foundations, concealers and powders, everything else is pretty much there.
      If you're finding it a struggle, there's going to be 50+ more who are always finding the struggle with not feeling there's much choice to cater to your skintone. Plus who really like's buying things like foundation and concealer online? It's horrible, nothing is true so we end up spending MORE money to get our correct shade. So in hindsight they make a lot more money from us because we have to spend more to find our correct shade - how fucked up is that.

      Now that's a good point - I don't find that the support from other WOC is supportive, it's quite stereotypical and gives women that bad name but it also gives WOC a bad reputation of being standoffish, un-supportive, rude and jealous. It's sad that it's the cycle, they are seeking the approval from those who don't care. Their just another clog in the wheel of their popularity ticking over.

      (I was thinking anonymous *dramatic music*) XO


    I was going to do a similar sort of post. It's ridiculous! The other day I was creating a big stink on Twitter over the new YSL Fusion foundation and how they haven't created it in darker colours. I was emailed by both the marketing and european marketing managers for YSL, who both told me "we're looking into it, thank you for your views and we'll pass it on", i.e 'we can't be arsed'.

    It's so frustrating and disheartening that as women of colour, we can't get the recognition we deserve. We are just as good as our white counterparts and you would think that companies would want to take into consideration the vast variety of skin shades/tones that we have; don't they know how much more they'd be able to sell their product if they broadcasted it on a variety of different skin tones?

    I don't even watch Youtube videos anymore, apart from yours and maybe 2 other people, I don't bother because it's just completely whitewashed. No tea no shade to anyone, but it'll just be nice to be represented a bit more, you know? It's very segregated. I really want this to be a #bbloggers topic one day, but you know it won't because #contraversial. Ugh.

    Very good post hun. I loved it.

    1. Obviously the NASA-inspired technology their claiming bypasses skin with pigmentation. The range for the foundation doesn't look varied at all. You'd think these high end companies would cater, they can afford too and it honestly doesn't take as much to do as it did to go all high-tech with this NASA crap.

      They have to know and sometimes it can't even be put down to being lazy or overlooking us, it just seems as if we aren't important enough for them to cater too.

      Oh yeah my YouTube is full of random crap but I probably only watch hair videos or people playing video games (now that's lazy lol!) There's not many who cater and it's just regurgitation. Segregation is very much real these days, it's just people don't open their eyes to see how and where it's occurring. We know cos we experience it daily.

      Mmm the controversy. Plus it's not for everyone only because some people aren't open minded enough to see the other side that's where the friction blossoms.

      I'm glad you did :)

  3. Isn't it ironic that the minority is actually in the majority? Combine all ethnicities of WOC together and we outnumber. Then it confuses when I see fake tanning products. It must be a good thing to have colour - even if it's fake!

    1. That is true. We are the majority collectively. Just continuously overlooked and unnoticed until it suits them. Hey that's the thing, tanning products sell like hot cakes - we're obviously doing something right. Yet I see women who fake tan and then darken their foundation to match the rest of the body YET we still struggle to get products to suit us naturally.

  4. Exactly! I detest when they use a model or actress (usualy) mixed race or latina and then light them so brightly there is no point in bothering! And why do advertisers only use women with naturally slim features and them sculpt them een more. I honestly don't remember any generic makeup add featuring a WOC who still looks authentic on the the otherside of theairbrush. On another note - my local UK pharmacy has massive adds on the windows for skin lightening cream and hair relaxing products - that is my chemist where you go to be treated for illness!!!

    1. I know what you mean, it makes no sense. They might as well just of used a Caucasian model to begin with instead of trying to say and look like they are being diverse. Airbrushing should only be used to remove minor imperfections if necessary but sculpting and rearranging after the make-up is done using Photoshop is stupid and very pointless. Wow, chemists are doing that now?! That's shockingly insane, if any place a chemist should know the dangers.

  5. I've being meaning to comment on this for days, super sorry for my delay!
    As you know I really enjoyed reading this post and found it incredibly insightful. Being quite pale I often find it hard to find shades to suit my skin tone whereby I hear this from many others in the same situation yet I rarely hear of it from WoC. When I sit here and think about it now I realise that truly is because there is SO little representation out there these days. Even thinking of simple adverts on the tv it's hard for me to pick out WoC, I think it's unfair and also an insult.

    I'm so glad you wrote this post as it got me thinking about an issue that I hadn't thought much of before. I felt quite naive reading it whereby reading it from your point of view and out-take on the topic has certainly made me more aware.

    My mind boggles at the idea of a WoC in photo shoots only to then digitally lighten her skin. What is the point in that? I personally see no reason for it as if anything I find that more off putting. I want to see her as she is, beautiful, natural and confident not with her skin changed so that it may 'appeal' to more people, of which in this day and age I certainly believe to be false.

    This is one of the best posts I've read in a long time and also one of the longest comments I have left haha! By the way Shirley is one of my favourite Youtubers, she's such a babe.

    Amy x | A Little Boat Sailing