Diversity in the beauty industry

Diversity, or the lack thereof in the beauty and fashion has been an issue for decades, however the industry has successful swept it under the rug. Until now, 2017 saw this issue forced into the spotlight and shoved under a microscope as Rihanna launched her Fenty Make-up line. Not only was her brand shockingly affordable, but it catered to every possible skin tone whether you had the complexion of fresh cream or Lindt’s 99% cacao dark chocolate. Riri had answered the call of women of colour everywhere and finally address the gigantic gap in the market, a fact that has become even more evident when the darker shades of her collection sold out nation-wide within the first 24 hours. So, begins the beauty revolution, but let us not be so naïve as to think one brand solves the issue, diversity is not simply reserved for the lack of representation of skin tone, it includes the lack of representation of age, size and gender. Men and older women have been completely ignored by the beauty industry, unless they’re being a miracle serum to erase wrinkles or beat anti-ageing and yet an overwhelming majority within this demographic wants to celebrate their age, not deny it. Another important factor about these products is that they’re marketed towards older Caucasian women, while women of colour are once again left out of the conversation.

Next, we must ask, where are the men? Unless you’re leaving in some parallel universe men wear make-up! So why on earth aren’t they being marketed too? Well thankfully CoverGirl in the US, who has long been a forerunner in the fight for diversity within the industry protector of diversity, made the ultimate statement with the release of their new mascara last November. The So Lashy launch ad featured their most diverse cast of ambassadors ever seen including, but not limited to the first ever CoverBoy James Charles, alongside Katy Perry, Sofia Vergara, Muslim beauty blogger Nura Afia, DJ Amy Pham and young R&B duo Chloe x H. The campaign was met with rave reviews and trended on social media for almost a week, a clear indication that these are the type of campaigns the public want to see, and when brands support and promote diversity within the beauty industry they will receive public support which translates into purchase power.

So while diversity within the beauty industry is on the rise, it’s still nowhere near the top!