glossing over Fashion

Shades of inclusivity

The beauty industry finally seems to have woken up to the importance of catering to all colours

When Fenty Beauty launched last year, it was easily one of the biggest launches the beauty industry had seen in a while. Rihanna’s makeup brand released 40 shades of foundation, with the aim that every skin tone should find a shade match. While it was not a surprise that most of the foundations sold out rather quickly, it was surprising when it continued to happen with every restock that followed.

In complete contrast, Tarte Cosmetics recently launched their Shape Tape Foundation. The Shape Tape Concealer is a cult classic and was the best-selling concealer in the US in 2016. For some reason though, the brand decided to launch their foundation in two finishes (matte and hydrating) and 15 shades, of which only three are aimed at dark and deep skin tones. If you see the swatches online, you will notice that they seem to have excluded the entire range of medium-dark tones as well, which would mean that most of us Indians would have a problem finding a decent match. Simply put, Tarte probably hoped the ‘hype’ around the foundation and the success of the concealer would mask their mistake of releasing a range of colours that were severely lacking. But it didn’t — customers were unhappy, bloggers and writers tore them apart, and several influencers even deleted “First Impression/Review” videos in protest.

Following this, the beauty industry is still standing in solidarity against Tarte for their lack of inclusiveness despite the apology and promise of 10 more shades.

In the meantime, Huda Beauty released her #FauxFilter Foundation with 30 varying shades. And NARS’s latest offering, the Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation released with 33 shades (13 more than their previous range of 20), further cementing the views that the beauty industry must include everyone, from the palest to the deepest.

We are finally at a point where you need not mix and match to find your perfect colour, but can find one closest to your skin off the shelf.

Finding the perfect foundation match is still not that easy. Most makeup has its foundation (pun intended) in colour theory. It’s what makes finding a concealer to cover dark circles difficult, just as it makes finding your undertone beyond the basics of warm or cool complicated.

While Fenty Beauty did set the tone, there have been several brands that have always been inclusive such as MAC (25 shades), Bobbi Brown (30 shades) Makeup Forever (40 shades), Giorgio Armani (42 shades) and Estee Lauder (42 shades) as well as older professional brands such as Kyrolan and RCMA.

Even more affordable brands like L’Oreal have a comprehensive range now. Such as the True Match (₹1,025 on which has 33 shades in the US, but only 14 seem to have made it to India (of which only five seem to be available at most points). But it isn’t just about the number, but about the range of skin tones those foundations can cater to. Glossier, Becca and IT Cosmetics may have less than 10 shades each, but they happen to be evenly distributed between Light, Medium, Dark and Deep, and that’s what matters.

Now that there is so much awareness, and customers are demanding more from their makeup, it is time for cosmetic companies to understand their customers better, and make a conscious effort to go beyond mere tokenism and create a diverse range to include everyone who chooses to wear makeup.

This column is your fortnightly dose of products, brands and how-tos from the world of beauty.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 12:18:34 PM |

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