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Why is makeup for black women so damn expensive?

Buying a full face of makeup is breaking the bank.

20 Jul 2018

I’ve never walked into a drugstore or high street beauty retailer like Boots or Superdrug and thought, "I could buy a face full of makeup here and not break the bank."

Finding the right foundation is a mission, the formula has to be right for your skin type, the shade has to match, the undertone has to be correct and hopefully the foundation doesn’t melt off your face before you step out the door.

Now let's add being a person of colour and having darker skin to the mix and you really have a mission that even Tom Cruise would find hard to solve.

Diversity and inclusion are being championed a lot more in 2018, which is amazing to see and about time. This inclusion wave definitely felt like it started off with the launch of Fenty Beauty last September, RiRi came in playing no games - ‘That Rihanna reign just won’t let up’. Yes, brands like M.A.C, Make Up Forever and Estee Lauder, just to name a few, have carried darker foundation shades for a decent amount of time but rarely championed these shades, and their campaigns only recently featured people with a multitude of skin tones. But rarely do you a see a new cosmetic line launch and it has a range of foundation shades like Fenty does.

How many times have we seen an established beauty brand with a lot of resources launch a new foundation product and it comes in 12 shades of beige and one token brown shade - that rarely matches any darker person’s skin? We as consumers have had enough, are holding brands more accountable, demanding answers and these brands are finally listening - well, some (major side eye).

Let’s take a deeper dive here and look at the makeup lines that are trying to create a diverse range of products to cater to all people, a lot of them are at the higher-end of the spectrum and their products, especially their foundations and concealers, are really expensive. Where are the affordable foundations and concealers?

If you walk into a drugstore or pharmacy, look at the more purse-friendly brands and try to search for your shade as a person of colour; there’s a good chance you’ll be searching forever. There are plenty of young people (people in general) who can’t afford M.A.C and Fenty quite yet, so what brands would be their go-to? Imagine being excited about exploring makeup for the first time and skipping to the store to browse through the aisles for products that will suit you and finding little or nothing to bring home - it’s upsetting!

Why do drugstore brands neglect such a big percentage of people, are darker shades harder and more expensive to formulate so only higher-end brands can afford create them? Or is it simply that they can’t be bothered and they’ll get to it when they get to it? They rarely get to it, they launch a new range of foundations/concealers and you’re still trying to find your shade from their last range. Logistically, these brands are only given so much shelf space so they put out the products that they think will sell the best, which makes a lot of sense. However, when Fenty Beauty launched, the darkest shades sold out the fastest, these consumers were not used to being this heavily considered - they are usually an afterthought for most beauty brands.

Let’s create this same scenario but with a more affordable cosmetics line of decent quality; the darker shades will absolutely fly off the shelves in no time. If the bottomline is to create products that sell fast and produce major profit, shouldn’t you create more diverse products to reach more people - business 101?

Sorry to complain (not sorry) but rent is expensive and food shopping, utility bills take most of your salary. The Netflix and Spotify bills just come like a thief in the night and steal the little left in your bank account.

So drugstore brands, please do better to make products that cater to all people of colour - especially people with deep skin tones - they really get left out. We shouldn’t have to sell an arm and put a kidney on the black market to afford a great foundation and concealer. Luckily brands like Sleek Makeup do exist, so some of us do have options, but there needs to be more options, a lot more!