Black Girl Problems: Beauty Industries

Have you ever walked into a makeup store, browsed the aisle looking for something that is remotely close to your skin tone, but can’t find a foundation to match?


Have you ever walked into a makeup store, browsed the aisle looking for something that is remotely close to your skin tone, but can’t find a foundation to match?

Then you ask for assistance from a woman who’s nowhere near your skin tone and doubt she can help you?

You purchase the foundation she promised would be flawless and cover up your blemishes.

Now you’re hype and snap-chatting your Sephora bag (we’ve all been there). But then when you get home and apply the product to your face and realize your face is orange instead of brown.

This is a Black Girl problem.

Beauty: A term that is a part of a black women’s everyday vocabulary. Why is it that in the “Beauty World” women of color aren’t mentioned?

Now why is that? Well, high-end cosmetics companies have yet to make products that are compatible for women of colored skin tones. The foundation shade range either doesn’t run to your color (they usually stop at 8 shades and it tends to be more fair skin tones than dark), or if they do have darker tones it jumps the in-between colors.

It is as if they don’t know that black skin has more than three shades. Women of color shades run longer than a 5K. Mind you, depending on the season your complexion may differ a shade or two.

So why is it that the beauty industry doesn’t find the need to create a shade that fits every women of color?

One might think this is a petty argument. And if they think that then they’re obviously oblivious to the real situation at hand. Why is it that women of color cannot have a simple shade of foundation that is 90% close to their natural skin tone? Why must they choose between looking orange or ashy? Why isn’t the beauty industry recognizing this dilemma?

I’m a nineteen-year-old college student playing Russian Roulette every time I step into MAC or Sephora. I should just be able to walk to the Dior cosmetics section and find a foundation that I feel comfortable wearing in everyday life, besides just on Halloween.

But no, there is always another quandary at hand.

In 2006, Village Voice wondered, “Has the Cosmetics Industry Really Come to Recognize Women of Color as a Target Audience?” or in 2014, the New York Times published “Makeup That Addresses the Many Shades of Women” an article about how the beauty industry is recognizing the concerns women of color have.

Why must everything be a revolution? Why couldn’t cosmetic companies create shades that match the complexion that women of color have? Why must one complain about a situation for it to be changed?

Did they think women of color don’t want to cover their blemishes, are the blemishes that white women have more noticeable?

Did they think that black women don’t want to feel more beautiful? Or be apart of the beauty world? Do they want to experiment with eyeshadow?

Or is that just a white woman thing? Is that only a part of their culture?

Black women deserve to walk into any MAC or Sephora and feel comfortable, prideful, and that heart is spilling over with satisfaction for how good they look. They should find a foundation that fits them, and wear that foundation without regret towards themselves.  I think every women of color should feel that way… don’t you think so?

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Dnysha is a third year New England College student pursing a a Bachelor's Degree in Communications. She is a very active member of the NEC community whether she's hosting events, working as an RA, or organizing functions for Amazing Minority Girls Unite where she works as club President. She has been involved with The New Englander for several years as Social Media Editor and currently writes a column entitled, Black Girl Problems. Dnysha will be graduating in Spring 2019.
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Anon you stated the most important fact here this is a OPINION column so if you are not aware that everyone is entitled to their own opinion get up to date and say something positive not bashing at this young ladies’ opinion. There are plenty of women who are not mentioned in the beauty world which she is correctly stating. Beyoncé wouldn’t have an issue because they cater to her and put her skin tone 5 shades lighter than what she is, next this is not falsehood this is actual daily life. I am a woman of color and I do have these issues this is why I no longer buy any cosmetics. And last its not about the same levels of melanin in your skin its about finding the correct match for the skin tone, skin texture and skin condition.


I am sorry to say but this piece is based on falsehood. You claim that there are little to no cosmetic companies that cater to the women of color in choice of makeup, but a simple google search shows that there are numerous companies that are tailored specifically for cosmetics for the complexions of women of color. Not to mention that almost any woman who buys makeup can complain about not finding cosmetics to match their skin tone, this isn’t singly a “Black Woman Issue,” literally anyone can have this “problem.” Also, why do you say that in the “Beauty World” women of color are not mentioned? Have you not heard of Beyonce, Pat McGrath, Miko and Titi Branch, or any of the other numerous women of color involved in the “Beauty World?” I understand that this is an opinion column and that you are entitled to your own opinion, but at least you could try not to sound like every problem you face applies exclusively to people who share the same levels of melanin that you do.