This past June, Band-Aid (Johnson & Johnson) embraced ‘the beauty of diverse skin’ by launching a new range of bandages in light and dark shades of black and brown to make its products more racially inclusive. They announced the new products on Instagram with an image showing the adhesive strips in five different colours including pale shades to darker hues. The timing of the launch shows their commitment to promoting diversity in support of the BLM movement.
In response, some Twitter commenters wondered why it took the popular brand so long to release the new shades of bandages. Some say it’s not enough others say it took too long. Whatever way we look at it, it shows that beauty and skincare companies are finally stepping up and starting to make some much needed changes to create more inclusive skincare ranges. Because right now, skin diversity is very much a topic on everyone’s mind.
That said, sadly, the beauty and skincare industry has neglected the needs of many of its vast consumers, especially women (and men) with darker skin tones. Back in 2016, a survey found that 70% of Asian and Black women felt that their beauty needs weren’t met by high-street brands. Thankfully, in recent years we’ve seen a rise in colour diversity in the beauty industry as new brands are offering ranges that cover all skin colour and skin types.
Going well beyond Light, Medium and Dark
One thing is clear, all skin types have their pros and cons. What’s important is that we understand our needs and have the products readily available to treat them. That being said, there are more inclusive beauty brands today than ever before. Here are a few mold-breaking beauty and makeup brands who are leading the industry in celebrating diversity and championing inclusive beauty.
You’ve got to hand it to Rihanna when it comes to creating a diverse foundation range where literally every skin tone is included. Bravo Fenty Beauty! In fact, this powerhouse foundation range is so thorough, you can find your own skin tone online and get it perfectly right.
Uoma Say What?! Foundation
Now here’s a foundation brand that offers as wide a range of shades as Fenty Beauty does and is designed specifically for oily and combination skin. That’s not all. They also use natural ingredients such as tomato and berry extract to brighten dull complexions. Love that!
As the site clearly states, ‘on a mission to put women of colour at the center of the modern beauty movement’ here’s a brand that demands attention. Started by a black female chemist, Hue Noir is run by all women of colour who understand the diverse needs of black skin. Try their wonderful lip butters. They come in luscious dreamy colours and they won’t cost you an arm or a leg.
Our work ain’t done yet
Although the recent push toward more inclusive beauty trends has been an excellent start, there’s still quite a bit of work that needs to be done to truly embrace skin diversity. And let’s not regress to the clichéd idea of ‘inner beauty’ – that it’s what’s inside us that counts when in fact it’s the outer version that carries the real social currency. Times have changed and we’re moving toward a culture of ‘everything and anything goes’ beauty where everyone is welcome. Everyone is beautiful.
Thankfully, long gone are the days of half-starved, mostly blonde, fair-skinned, ‘Angels’ walking down a runway in underwear and wings. We’ve become more accepting because people have demanded it, protested for it, and used social media to shame beauty’s gatekeepers into opening the doors wider. Because if they don’t, just like Victoria Secrets, their doors will be closed for them.
‘Beauty’ is becoming more beautiful
The good news is that the definition of ‘beauty’ continues to expand. It’s an ever-growing one that’s making room for women of colour, obese women, women with vitiligo, bald women, women with grey hair, wrinkles, freckles, cellulite etc. and beauty brands are listening up. (Indeed, they have to or they won’t exist in the very near future.)
Maybe we’re dreaming here but what if we could all open our eyes and definitions to include something we’re not familiar with. What if we could be more like our innocent kids who don’t see skin colour, race or ethnicity but just embrace what’s in front of them without any judgement.
Dreaming or not, it’s time we wake up to the importance of skin diversity today. Otherwise, we’re just literally “putting a band aid” on an issue that will never go away.
Be sure to check out next month’s Skin Diversity PART 2: What all skin types need to look their best.