It’s fair to say that the cosmetics industry has come a long way from the days where every Black woman ‘was’ a NC50 in MAC’s Studio Fix foundation. Those were the days of Ivory, Alabaster, Porcelain, Medium Beige and the token Cocoa – if that. Now, I am not under the illusion that this has completely changed. Countless beauty counters still display a range of products that are blatantly targeting a fairer-toned consumer. The difference is, I now have the confidence to question why I’m unable to sample a product that complements my complexion as opposed to settling for the not-quite-right, ashy-in-flash look of 2008. This is largely thanks to the inclusiveness and ingenuity of brands like Fenty Beauty which nearly a year ago, launched the iconic Pro Filt’r foundation boasting an impressive selection of 40 shades.
On the foundation laid by brands such as Iman Cosmetics and Black Opal, the launch of Fenty has led to a surge in consumer demand for more representative brands. On the flip side, this increased diversity has simultaneously exposed a more sinister side to the industry; one where brands that previously disregarded black consumer markets now pander to those same black pockets. Increasingly, brands are resorting to stealing the original ideas of small black-owned businesses to boost profit; the recent launch of the Huda Beauty Easy Bake range – a baking-themed line - demonstrates this.