Is the Makeup Industry as Inclusive as it Should Be?

Do you remember the first time you bought makeup? Think about the moment you desperately wanted to start wearing it. Well, I will absolutely never forget mine. I was 13 years old and had already watched thousands of the makeup tutorials that were subtly taking over YouTube. After months of the most careful research, I felt equipped to try it.

I practically begged my mom to take me to the nearest drugstore that weekend. I honestly can’t even begin to describe how excited I was. I had single handedly created an image of how amazing this would be. Fast forward to Saturday at the drugstore, when I started my search. I grabbed just about every mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow, blush and brush that I could find, leaving foundation to be the final product to find. After watching so many makeup gurus seamlessly apply it, foundation became my favorite part of the routine. Basically, it became the product I was most excited to wear. I began walking over to the display and this was where the day changed.

My eyes skimmed over the first row...and the second row...third row...and I finally found it. The five most pitiful shades of brown. Each color was either questionably orange, subtly tinted to mimic the color brown or almost red. Regardless, they were all 100% not my shade. Luckily, my incredibly kind mother helped me find a shade that almost matched. We bought it, along with everything else and were on our way. The saddest part? I left feeling incredibly embarrassed. I felt as though there was something wrong with me. I thought if a brand didn’t carry my exact shade, it was because my skin wasn’t right. I carried this feeling for most of my childhood. As a dancer, I waited to put on my makeup until everyone else left so I could have time to blend it in without anyone laughing. Whenever people asked me what shade I wore, I felt really self conscious. Looking back, I didn’t look that crazy, but the fact that I had to tolerate a shade because there were no other options really damaged my sense of self worth.

Even today, in 2018, makeup gurus are still flooding YouTube with videos critiquing the still non inclusive makeup brands. I find it incredibly daunting that since 2013 limited shade ranges have yet to go away. Even more so upsetting is that during this time, other young girls have had to experience similar embarrassments as my own story. Though the topic is incredibly awkward, it’s one that definitely needs to be addressed. Within this year, a fairly popular company released a set of swatches that was far from inclusive (see below) and it honestly makes consumers wonder how progressive society really is.



What makes this image so disappointing is that makeup should not and cannot be limited to one ethnicity or complexion. It is absolutely essential that such a prevalent aspect of modern culture is not discriminatory nor exclusive. Many makeup brands like Rihanna's Fenty Beauty (see below) have put out expansive shade ranges, but there are still companies that have yet to follow their lead.



With numerous successful beauty gurus defying both racial and gender based notions about the makeup world, it is thought that the industry has become fully accepting. However, even one company’s not-so-subtle limitations show that the fight for inclusivity and negative makeup experiences, like mine, are far from over.