Inclusivity in beauty brands should be the standard

Professional makeup artists used to be the only ones who bought higher-end makeup brands, while everyone else stuck to drugstore brands. But thanks to the power of social media and the rise of beauty influencers, there has been a shift in the market, and beauty brands need to take this into consideration.

The debate surrounding inclusivity in the beauty industry has been widely discussed for years. What began as complaints to brands for more products available to a wider audience became a call to action to embrace representation on both sides of the coin.

Whether it’s for people of color or members of the LGBTQ community, a brand cannot call itself diverse without reaching out to all types of audiences. By isolating those minorities, brands are inadvertently losing business from them and, in turn, also ruining its own credibility.

The cosmetic brand Tarte’s recent launch of its highly anticipated Shape Tape Foundation is one example of blatantly overlooking people of color. For its initial launch, only three shades were made for darker tones, meanwhile lighter skin tones had a much wider selection. Although they have added more shades to the line since, Tarte should have done so from the beginning.

It’s inexcusable for a brand with such a high reputation to disrespect a whole group of people in this way, especially with previous examples of brands that successfully launched an inclusive and diverse campaign.

For example, Fenty Beauty was arguably one of the most-hyped beauty launches of last year. Of course, being helmed by Rihanna probably had something to do with it. But creating a foundation line with more than 40 shade options — including options for people with albinism to people with the deepest skin tone — set a standard for the rest of the beauty community. Other brands such as Maybelline and Mac have also run more diverse campaigns in the past few years, including people of color and even male beauty influencers.

It is not enough for a brand to simply just make a good product. It is about the campaign and marketing to attract a larger audience. Using models of all skin tones from different ethnic backgrounds will make a new customer interested in a product. In the age of social media, consumerism is run through word of mouth.

It only takes a few people to talk negatively about a product for it to be discredited. Companies rely on customer reviews to keep their business alive and booming, and if they expect any kind of return on their profit, they need to be mindful of a larger and more diverse audience.

Featured Image: Illustration by Gabby Evans

Originally published at on February 15, 2018.

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