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Inclusion in the Makeup Industry

Did you know that in the United States, African-American women are the ones that spend the most on beauty products? And did you know that in Asian cultures, whiteness is the beauty ideal? 

A few years ago, this data wasn’t taken into account in the cosmetics industry. Generally, there were few foundation tones, as well as few concealer tones and powders that companies believed were diverse enough. However, in 2017, Rihanna started her revolution towards inclusion in the fashion and beauty industries. After launching Fenty Cosmetics, consumer expectations and mindset changed, creating new demands for the cosmetics industry. When Fenty came out with a collection that had over 40 shades of foundations for individuals of all colors, the standards in consumers’ minds changed, demanding companies to create makeup products that would be inclusive for people with different skin tones but also taking into account cultural norms and preferences. It seems unrealistic to think that before Rihanna’s revolution, many individuals wearing makeup had to combine multiple products to create a foundation that matched their skin color. 

Thankfully, the industry instead of seeing this as just a “trend,” is starting to understand that inclusion goes beyond that. Due to the rise of social media, consumers are voicing their need for products that are personalized and suitable for different individuals. With this in mind, new brands are finding their way in the industry to make a difference. We’re not only seeing these changes in the United States but also in Asian countries where brands like Orce Cosmetics are creating makeup lines to meet the unique demands of their culture. These brands are becoming global and recognized because inclusion is about making individuals feel confident in their own skin. When using makeup, people shouldn’t feel isolated or left out due to their skin tone, allergies, cultural beliefs, or ideals. Instead, makeup should be a tool that makes individuals feel powerful, presentable, and ready to take over their next challenge professionally and personally. 

For this reason, inclusion in the makeup industry goes beyond just considering different skin tones. Instead, it requires two-way communication between businesses and consumers where they can voice their preferences and concerns and be heard. This is the reason behind many local cosmetics companies finding their way in the industry because they are listening and taking into account individuals’ need to feel beautiful and empowered. Along these lines, younger consumers love exercising their creativity. Brands are adopting this mindset together with the need for inclusion, and creating new ways and ideas on how to feel beautiful and remain confident in your own body. Clear examples of these are brands such as, Urban Skin Rx, Hello Ava, and SA.AL & Co which are creating skincare products for black women that did not exist before, customized skin care and makeup packages based on consumer needs, and skincare products for men which are not always a priority in the industry. Finally, consumers are expressing the need to expand the range of skin tones in the models that promote the products. The reason behind this is that people rely on how the product looks on the model, especially when buying online. This also applies to having store representatives from different ethnicities, nationalities, and skin color because they help clients find the best products for their skin and their needs based on these considerations. 

If we continue to push this inclusive, creative, and diverse standard for the cosmetic and beauty industries, we will make a difference now and for the generations to come. 

Our task is to use Rihanna as an inspiration to pave the way for inclusion and self-acceptance. I invite you to use your social media platforms and any other tools you may have access to, to voice our concerns and needs, and to create a better tomorrow where everyone can feel beautiful and empowered in their own skin.

Images obtained from: 

Vice Magazine (

Brady Bates Photography (

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