After following the results and reading the reactions so far I’ve come to see how necessary this #PullUporShutUp challenge is. However, the brutal honesty from some of these brands is painful to realize for beauty lovers of the Black Community. Some non Black members of the beauty community don’t fully understand the cause and feel that this challenge is quickly snowballing into #CancelCulture. The other side feels that these brands profit from Black Culture but don’t support it as much as they lead on.
How is #PullUporShutUp affecting Small Beauty Brands?
From my interpretation, Sharon Chuter‘s challenge was not directed at small cosmetic or small business in general. But of course, the people that support these small brands want to know where they stand and are demanding answers from them anyway. I think it’s important to point out that small businesses in their early growing stages are limited in hiring, geographical opportunity and in audience. Some of these brand owners feel like this challenge has had a negative impact on their small business because they have little to no POC and/or Black staff YET.
Some seem very genuine in stating that their business hasn’t developed enough to allow them to hire outside of their small family based business. That part of their frustration is very understandable. They fear being looked at as a racially biased brand if they show their current teams percentages and some have respectfully chosen not to participate. This challenge, in my opinion, is about educating business leaders about real working racial inclusion and encouraging change opposed to traditional corporate business models.
Let’s be honest about Product Problems that contribute to being seen as a non inclusive brand!
For centuries, the standard of beauty has been advertised as the typical blonde-haired, blue eyed, fair skinned model. Over the last two-three decades, we began to see a big shift in magazines, posters, ads and the face front of beauty companies. Product options have expanded tremendously compared to just five years ago. Shade range and compatibility of some of those products have expanded even more over the last two years but we still have a long way to go.
The high-end side of beauty brands are the easiest to interpret as non inclusive. This category of brands clearly have more money to invest in shade range, pigmentation, undertones, finishes, product research and product testing. Some of these brands are even owned by corporations and bigger companies that run successful drugstore brands with very extensive product ranges. While I do get that prestige brands want to stay exclusive, the fact that they have such limited range in year 2020 is just unfathomable!
- Limited Foundation Shade Range – These are examples of some of the Highend $50+ foundations that have a very limited number of brown and deep shades. Some high end brands have no deep shades at all. The shade that they usually label “Deep” is actually considered a Medium Rich Brown to the Black community. What some consider to be Medium shades are usually still pretty light/fair and there’s usually a gap between tan and true deep shades.
- Shade Naming – The fair or light shades usually make sense but as you get into the medium, tan, rich brown and deep shades the labels compared to the actual shades are off. How brands label their shades help consumers narrow down which products to try and buy. Mislabeling can also be looked at as false advertisement because the shades are not coming out on skin as they are labeled.
- Undertone – Several makeup brands lack true neutrals and sometimes appear as too yellow or have a heavy green undertone. Olive (Green) undertones are almost always mistaken for neutral when labeling. Some brands STILL ONLY offer either pink or yellow undertones.
- Pigmentation – Some full coverage formulas on the market simply aren’t pigmented enough to cover tan to deep skin. Some color correctors and concealers still show up pretty sheer or more medium coverage like. Eyeshadow formulas aren’t as compatible on darker skin even on top of eyeshadow primers.
*Disclamer- No one brand will ever have an exact shade to match every person in the world. I do understand that brands choose formulas and pigmentation’s that match their individual brand aesthetic. I’m only attempting to point out common issues that are discussed in the Black Beauty Community and things that I’ve seen for myself while trying different brands.
Shocking results from Drugstore and Affordable Brands
I think out of all of the cosmetic brands, finding out that big name drugstore and affordable brands employ such low percentages of Black people is mind blowing. These brands make millions off minorities because of their easy availability and cheaper prices. All minority groups invest their dollars into well established brands like e.l.f., l’oreal, NYX, Maybelline, BH Cosmetics…the list goes on and on! These brands always seem to have the “newest thing” being released and because we love their value we follow them in whichever direction they’re headed.
They’re able to innovate at a rapid rate because minorities are more likely to purchase good quality makeup at stores like the Walmart around the corner or conveniently have them shipped. We have to acknowledge that brand owners are likely to hire their own kind. While there’s nothing wrong with supporting your own race and culture, #PullUporShutUp has proved that Black dollars are spent to benefit other races but these brands are least likely to employ Black people. This definitely proves Sharon Chuter‘s theory about how corporations and big businesses contribute to the Black struggle with systemic racial division.
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3 thoughts on “Pull Up for Change PT2 : The Brands and the Struggle”
I think this challenge is pretty legit. Even companies that hire more black and latina models for the makeup is important . Its something I’ve noticed with the unnatural hair color dyes , tons of brands show caucasian faced hair models but not alot of textured hair or people of color . But you go on IG and see tons of girls that are black and brown dying thier hair or extensions . Its always nice seeing how colors and makeup look on various skin tones .
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Good point! Another great observation. I’ve noticed that the Latin are usually very slim models as well. Latin women’s hair is almost always very straight. Asian/Korean models are usually just on skincare ads too but not on makeup ads. There’s definitely a lot of common images that I’d like to see switch up.
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Its funny that you say they use only straight hair models , as a lot of latina’s do have straight but quite a few have very wavey or curly hair as well . But I think thats the case of the one size fits all thing within alot of beauty ads . Hopefully it will be shifted though and we’ll see way more diversity in the future .
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