dark skin girls need the perfect nude shade too: love & hate with the cosmetics industry

August 20, 2018
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When it comes to diversity in foundation shades, the success of Fenty Beauty is pressuring other cosmetic companies to put up or shut up. Companies that want to be considered competition are starting to understand that providing seamless foundations for women with dark skin can no longer be an afterthought, but a requirement. And while they may be going the “extra mile”, conveniently after Rihanna’s efforts, they’re decisions to expand their foundation selections is giving dark-skinned women the luxury they should have always been afforded.

Before Fenty Beauty there was Black Radiance, IMAN, Black Opal, Zuri and the one that started it all: Fashion Fair. All of these companies have established a reputation among Black communities across the globe, one that says the diversity of our shades matter and that the darkest is just as valuable and beautiful as the lightest. Rather new to the game, but impressive nevertheless, is Beauty Bakerie, a seven-year-old company created by CEO, founder and breast cancer survivor Cashmere Nicole.

The company is best known for their sweets-inspired branding and sought-after lip whips. However, it’s a recent tweet showcasing their Cake Mix Demi-Matte Foundation that’s causing women with deeper tones to celebrate and makeup brands to reconsider. The post features a video of a person with dark skin applying a foundation shade that’s sure to be a perfect match. It’s #1 of the 30 shades available and the numbering alone is resonating with diverse members of the makeup and online communities.

They’re the only company to start their tones off with the darkest shade however, they’re joining a few other companies in providing essential items for the everyday woman. Savage Fenty, like Third Love and Naja, provides an array of nudes for their lingerie items whether it’s padded bras or cheeky boyshorts. For many women who aren’t dark skin or never considered what it may feel like not have your shade of something at a store, this may seem like a small deal.

However, having foundations to choose from send the message that dark women deserve to indulge in luxury and feel beautiful. And having nude lingerie to choose from, similarly, says that dark women have the right…better yet are entitled to feeling sexy. Visibility and inclusion are elements of the human experience that some get to overlook, while others are only recently getting the chance to feel seen.

Lipstick and lingerie are among many wearable items that give a woman confidence, make her feel secure in who she is, make her feel like she matters.  On that list are a great pair of shoes. Whether flats or heels, a nude shoe can serve as one of the more versatile items in a woman’s wardrobe. They can be dressed up or down and up until recently only came in beige and taupe. For those of us who aren’t quite able to afford the lovely, dark nude heels by Christian Louboutin, there are a few other brands you should consider.

Rebecca Allen and Kahmune have designed what looks to be the perfect work pump with one of the darkest shades being titled, “Nude 01”. I can remember being so excited as a young girl when I got my first pair of nude pumps, not knowing that it wasn’t my nude at all. For whatever reason, I believed that the beige that people consider to be a universal nude would work for me too when that wasn’t the case. Without equality in options, people are often left behind or left to feel like their shades aren’t worthy of consideration.

However, with the resurgence of self-care and the insurmountable value that’s being placed on mental health and self-love, women are starting to demand a supply that reflects our diversity. How and how often we are represented by the media often determines how we are portrayed and how we portray ourselves. September has already proven to be one of this year’s golden months with Black women taking over magazine covers like never before.

Perhaps these strides will seal our places in the minds and branding strategies of companies. While it is about the money, it’s also not about the money. Considering and highlighting diversity in cosmetics or shoes or lingerie has a direct impact on other industries and vice versa. Representation matters! And it wouldn’t be crazy to believe that beauty/luxury companies serving as platforms for change could lead other ventures and entities to take a similarly high road.