For many years, people of color have been left out of the conversation in the makeup industry. Mainstream makeup companies have created shades for only a small range of women, making a lot of women feel not included, left out, and unimportant. Well, famous singer Rihanna just made it possible for ALL women to feel included. With her new launch of Fenty Beauty, the foundation line features 40 new shades with a wide range of variety and color. Rihanna’s goals were to make all women feel like there was a perfect shade made just for them, and wanted enough variety of shades to match everyone. It is clear to see that Rihanna’s makeup line has set itself far apart and above the competition, simply because she cares about girls of all shades feeling included in a brand.
Rihanna’s marketing campaign makes that clear from the beginning. She features fashion models such as Paloma Elesser, Slick Woods, Duckie Thot, Halima Aden and many more showing off what a good highlighter and the right shade of foundation can do for any skintone – not just a look a single girl of one shade can mirror. The campaign is placed not only on the skin tones, but how much the consumer can afford in mind. Knowing women from all backgrounds and all incomes buy makeup, Fenty Beauty made an affordable product as well as an inclusive product.
The diversity of women includes a wide variety of different shades, undertones, and melanin. It’s been like this even before the makeup industry was created So, why did it take so long for the industry to finally come forward with products that would apply to all of the different types?
One could say a lack of interest, and because of that, women of all different skin tones have felt left out because of it. Rihanna said it herself in an interview that went viral on social media, “There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl; there needs to be something for a really pale girl; there needs to be something in-between. There’s red undertones, green undertones, blue undertones, pink undertones, yellow undertones — you never know, so you want people to appreciate the product and not feel like, ‘Oh that’s cute, but it only looks good on her.’” Because of this, Fenty Beauty paved the way for the makeup industry to open up their eyes of their lack of diversity in their shades of makeup.
Following the launch of Fenty Beauty, it didn’t take long for other makeup companies to join the all-inclusive makeup train. Campaigns by Marc Jacobs and Estee Lauder launched within days after Fenty Beauty recognizing their arguably “wide variety” of shades marketed towards black women, who spend over $7 billion annually on makeup.
Those aren’t the only mainstream brands guilty of leaving people of color out of their marketing. Social media blew up after Kylie Cosmetics featured their shade of “Brown Sugar” on a black woman posted on the brand’s Instagram no more than two days after the Fenty Beauty launch. Fenty Beauty supporters lashed out at the brand, accusing the makeup brand of only creating makeup for one specific shade of black girl, and only marketing women of color when other industries joined the trend. The post was deleted by Kylie Cosmetics soon after. This wouldn’t have been an issue, if Kylie had shades of makeup that fit all skin tones of women. Kylie Cosmetics is known for their lack of diversity, and taking trends started by women of color and marketing them towards white women.
However, Fenty beauty keeps the bar raised with the most shades and the idea to market all shades right from the beginning, not once other companies decided to. If other companies want to keep themselves in line with Fenty beauty, they will have to get more diverse, and it’s a big thanks to Rihanna for that.
While it is a good start for other makeup industries to target women of all shades, it doesn’t make up for the lack of make-up they have provided for the past several decades, or the lack of diversity in advertisements. Thankfully, real change has begun with Fenty Beauty, and it’s time the industry follow the path of the famous singer. It’s time they realize that there are a wide variety of skin tones that should be adhered to when creating a reputable makeup line.