Makeup Maddness: Makeup options more limited for women of color

By: Daphne Becker

I am a fair-skinned white woman who has been putting my money into the beauty industry since I was 11. I have spent many hours watching videos to learn the different techniques and perusing different beauty products on how to look the way I wanted to look and to accentuate my own beauty.

As I have grown older and more socially aware, I have noticed that there is a discrepancy with black women in the beauty industry. Hardly ever is there a dark skin woman in an advertisement for a beauty product or a woman on YouTube showing women of color how to do their makeup, and what I think is most obvious is the general lack of colors they have for women of color.

It is genuinely hard for a woman of color to find a foundation that is in their shade. I specifically remember a conversation I had with two women of color I would consider my friends and listening to them talk about how hard it is for them to find shades that fit their skin color and how they feel limited to what they can use.

One told me how she and her mother have to use the same foundation even though just by looking at them you can tell their skin is not nearly the same color because of the lack of availability of makeup for women of color.

It’s a problem that was a very hard for me to hear because as a white woman I have never in my life had a problem finding a color that matches my skin tone. For white women there are tons of options for colors and undertones for different skin types. In Loreal’s True Match foundations, there are 20 foundations for caucasian skin tones where there are only 10 different colors for  women of color.

These women also have to pay a hefty price to wear makeup that actually matches their skin tones when wearing makeup has become such a staple in our culture. Women of color are told that they as a whole are not business appropriate. Their natural hair, their skin tones, their cultural dress and even their bodies don’t fit what our society deems appropriate in the business place, and if that isn’t an accurate representation of the injustice in our system, I don’t know what is.

More recently, more black women have stepped up and challenged how we look at colored beauty, but on an individual level I don’t think we are doing enough. I have learned most of how I do my makeup from makeup videos on YouTube, and I believe that there is a lack of beauty icons on a smaller scale for young colored women to look up to.

Not to say that there aren’t beauty icons. Colored women can look up to women like Beyoncé,  Rihanna and Zendaya, but even with that being said, colored women can be a lot more than just African American.

Asian, Native American and South Americans can be affected by the same issue.

In between the different races and cultures, there are different standards of beauty that the culture immerses in. With American white culture, tan skin is just one example of a beauty standard we have where tan skin is considered beautiful.

White women have adopted a lot of the colored culture and consider it to be a beauty standards while the colored population is taught that the same qualities are not to be desired.

I grew up with pin straight hair that never does anything but go back to the same look no matter how much I burn or tease it. I have always been envious of girls with beautiful curly hair, but in black culture their natural hair is presented as something they should try to hide by calming their beautiful locks with harmful chemicals.

Overall, around the world, lighter skin is celebrated in different cultures. People actually use skin bleaching treatments religiously even though it is a highly known fact that  it causes cancer.

There just aren’t many people willing to speak up about these issues to tell young women that all skin colors are beautiful.

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