The Colors of Cosmetics


Ever since I could remember, makeup has held a constant presence in my life. Whether it was watching my older sister applying lip gloss before a school dance or reading a magazine ad convincing me that I just absolutely needed a neon bright eyeshadow to wow my friends, it always lingered into my everyday sights. As I began to grow up, I realized the slow change of my peer’s appearances becoming more flawless and airbrushed, just like everything else I’ve known and seen. This realization led to a hell of a coax for my mom to take me to get some drugstore makeup, but once I saw what they had for me, the fight was basically over. I was presented with nearly ten shades of beige and a feeling of defeat deep in my stomach. Was this how it would always be?

    Now as a college student, the cosmetic industry has most definitely expanded, but it’s far from where it should be. Every single morning, I wake up and apply nearly every makeup brand on my face while scrolling on my phone for the newest collection at Sephora. But even with all these options, people of color still struggle to find a decent foundation color that doesn’t make them look like Casper the Ghost. The bias seen throughout cosmetic lines is an unspoken pattern that needs to be recognized as a problem. Men and women everywhere are still struggling to witness POC in the media, so should they really have to fight for a contour deep enough to use? Liliana Alcala-Williams, an active BAACC (Black/African American Culture Center) member at CSU says, “There are 40 different shades and none of them match me because they’re all too bright or different. I feel like no one really thinks about my complexion.” The popularity of makeup is beginning to blossom as a form of expression, self-love, and confidence in the youth of today. Their target audience of teenagers and young adults becomes even smaller, leaving a huge percentage of the intended consumers marginalized.

    The USA is a diverse melting pot of all cultures, and industries should be expected to have accommodations for such a varying audience. If we want to see a change being made, we have to support and fight for it In order for ranges to expand for every person of color, it is necessary to address and make notice to the producers we buy from. As consumers, we have the right to have our voices be heard and to not be ashamed to create a change in the world of makeup. Don’t be afraid to speak up for what you believe in, and remember, you deserve to be recognized.