Beauty – Some Exclusions Apply

Anyone who pays attention to the beauty community knows its latest controversy. Tarte, one of the biggest brands at high-end makeup stores, recently released the Tarte Shape Tape Foundation, a spin-off of their number one selling concealer.

Reactions to this announcement were all but disheartening – people’s favorite concealer would now be a foundation. But when the company posted photos of the color range, disheartening was the only word to describe it.

Not only did the shade range span just 15 colors, but one-fifth of them were geared toward people of darker skin tones.

Spot the problem?

Tarte later responded to the bad reviews with excuses saying they were just so excited to announce the new product that they decided to release it early and that darker shades take a lot of time and money to process. They then stated they are already working on five to ten new shades that will be revealed in the spring.

After watching reviews after reviews on this controversial release, I heard the same reactions over and over. While I know each beauty vlogger was genuine in their words, I thought I would bring my own thoughts into the conversation.

Here’s what I want to say:

1. People of color don’t want to be an afterthought. I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand that they exist equally. Maybe according to statistics they don’t, but that’s a part of the problem too.
2. While doing this, Tarte played themselves. It has been researched that black women spend $7.5 billion on beauty and skincare products annually, 80 percent more than the average consumer. So all that time and money it apparently takes to curate darker shades will be more than doubled if launched at first release. You know, before the beauty world gets angered and discouraged to buy the product.
3. Two words – Fenty Beauty. Rihanna’s steps into the beauty industry were more than just it being Rihanna. She changed the game. Her brand new line launched 40 foundation shades. So not only does she prove that it’s possible (which most already knew), but also that when one takes the time to include everyone, nothing but good comes afterward.

Here’s what I don’t want to say:

1. “It’s 2018, it’s time.” While it is time, it always has been. For years companies, high-end and drugstore, have continuously ignored people of color when launching skin products. And throughout this process, these words have always been said. “It’s 2003, it’s time”, “It’s 2010, it’s time”, and so on. I guarantee we will still hear that phrase in the coming years. Brands are hearing, but they aren’t listening. However, Tarte’s recent backlash may cause a major shift in how beauty brands release their new products.

 2. I’m not about to argue it’s not racist because it is. For all I know, it was very unintentional and all their statements were true. But it’s hard to deny the underlying discrimination when a company thinks it’s okay to release a line of the foundation that does not have a shade suitable for a major amount of their consumers.

3. “As a white person, I can’t imagine not finding my shade.” While I can’t imagine, I shouldn’t have to imagine. No one should. But instead, here we are, living a reality where a lot of the American population cannot find a shade that matches them.

It may sound like an extremely pretentious problem for people to worry about. But looking at the bigger picture, it shouldn’t have to be a problem at all.