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#BreakTheWalls: Highlighting Racial Divisions in the Beauty Aisles

“There’s an aisle called ‘Beauty’ that does not include all people. It’s something that women have been conditioned to accept as fact, but it’s no longer acceptable,” says senior art director, Emmie Nostitz, about the beauty industry.

Walking into a pharmacy or grocery store, I usually gravitate towards the beauty aisles—I mean, who really goes for food anyways. I walk around, look at the products, maybe pick up a product, then I find myself wandering over to the “Ethnic” section. Can you guess where? More likely than not, this section is outside of the beauty aisles, making me feel that my beautiful is not enough to be in the mainstream aisles.

With the #BreakTheWalls campaign, started by SheaMoisture, this division and segmentation in the beauty aisles is being tackled. SheaMoisture wants to break down the walls between the “Ethnic” aisles that reside outside of the “beauty” aisles and they are urging stores to do so.

Check out the ad:

This ad wants to make a more inclusive shopping experience while also highlighting the effects of how this division affects how one perceives herself.

“I have often said over the last 20 years that the beauty aisle is the last place in America where segregation is still legal,” said Richelieu Dennis, founder and CEO of Sundial brands which is the parent company of SheaMoisture. The director of the video shot it in a real beauty aisle so that a story could be told about the people who have to go through this discrimination everyday. The commercial products are always stocked and well-kept, but the same cannot be said about this “ethnic” section. “Separating ‘beauty’ from ‘ethnic’ has only served to further perpetuate narrow standards of what is considered beautiful in our industry and our society—which is why we began leading the efforts to break down these walls,” Dennis tells.

“We’re advancing a mission and vision to change the social dialogue about how we’re looking at beauty as a society…”

What are your thoughts on the division between beauty and ethnic and the #BreakTheWalls campaign?

Elodie is currently enrolled at Duke University, Class of 2016. She is involved in her sorority, Chi Omega, Bench & Bar, GlobeMed, and Students of the Caribbean Association. She is pre-law and studying Political Science with certificates in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) and a minor in Sociology. As one of our Beauty School bloggers, she is fairly obsessed with all things makeup and cosmetics. When she's not running debt on clothes and makeup, you can usually find her out and about, exploring whatever town she is in or watching Netflix cuddled with a mug of hot chocolate. Currently, her favorite show is "Hawaii Five-O". She aspires to be the next Olivia Pope and Annalise Keating rolled into one, but with a stable marriage and children. Her life will be complete once Buzzfeed creates an article titled "X Reasons why We Love Elodie". Elodie loves talking and responds to all of her emails. She would love to hear from you! You can contact her at: Email: elodiejeanphilippe@hercampus.com Twitter/Instagram: @GetElodofThis_ Blog: http://getelodofme.blogspot.com