If the darkest base makeup shade you carry is beige, you need to do better.

For a long time I didn’t wear makeup because I was acutely aware that to most makeup brands I was invisible. Then cushion foundations came along, and for someone who was pretty scared of makeup, they were an easy way to jump into the world of undertones, blending and contouring without feeling overwhelmed. Sure there weren’t a lot to play with, but hey there were some and more were coming, because you see 2016 is the year of cushions!

When I heard that L’Oreal had released a cushion in the USA I was so excited! Finally, a highstreet (drugstore) brand I can buy from!


Look at all these wonderful shades! Sure not everyone will find a match, but you can see an effort has been made to at least be inclusive and representative of the world we live in. Imagine my surprise when I saw the displays in my local Boots and Superdrug and the darkest colour they carried was 09 Beige.. what?


I was mad. Really mad. Not because I special snowflake was not being catered to, but because I know they could do better and they chose not to. My first guess was because as a darker skinned woman, I was considered a poor financial investment.

I actually laughed out loud on the bus. 


Normally I am okay with that explanation,  (if not a little irritated) business is tricky yanno? Except this time I couldn’t just be okay with it, it’s 2016, you’ve been telling everyone how much you love darker-skin women of colour, but then you turn around and tell us we’re a financial risk. Thanks? I mean, keep telling everyone about the Women of Color lab you opened headed by chemist Balanda Atis. Yet, beige is the best you can do? Oh okay.

They do a darker shade online, but the displays weren’t set up for that shade because why would they?! Women with darker skin don’t like to test in stores, didn’t you know?


It’s even more annoying to me because their sister brand Lancôme is perfectly capable of releasing an extensive shade range in the UK too, and I was the first in line to buy, so why not L’Oreal? 

I thought back to shopping for makeup with my friends when I was younger, hanging back because I knew there was nothing for me on the displays. My only option was MAC, and if I ventured out of the MAC bubble, sales assistants were quick to shoo me back. No joke, I remember browsing at a Benefit counter, and the SA told me that honestly I’d be better off with MAC. Now I’m older with more disposable income there are a bunch of brands that I can find base products in that are high end, but on the highstreet? I can think of Sleek and Kiko, that’s it. That’s all my options are. Yet, these brands want my money, to buy their mascaras and their eyeliners? LOL. Why is it that I must spend more than my friends who have a lighter pigment? 

source: http://perfectimage-llc.com/
source: http://perfectimage-llc.com/

So that’s it, I’ve had enoughIf I can’t find a single base product in a store (so I can swatch it) that’s at least attempted to match someone who is Type V on the Fitzpatrick scale then my money is staying in my wallet.  I don’t care how dope the product is, or how cute the packaging is, if it’s  not financially feasible for you to stock those shades, then it’s not financially feasible for me to shop with your brand.

If I sound bitter it’s because I am. You don’t see me? Then I don’t see you.

21 Comments Add yours

  1. DymondM says:

    Preach Dee! Make them listen. If they don’t play, we don’t pay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. adoredee says:

      Yes! If I’m not good enough for you to attempt to carry shades close to my range, then my money isn’t good enough to purchase anything you stock!


  2. Ang says:

    The truth. If I’m invisible, so is my money!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. adoredee says:

      YES! I want that on a T-Shirt. If I’m invisible, so is my money!


  3. I think we should create a list of brands to name and shame that don’t feel it ‘financially viable’ to cater to ethnic minorities because you are right I totally do not want to shop and buy any products from a brand that does not see me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. adoredee says:

      We really should. I’ve been on a personal boycott of Max Factor because they have the palest of foundation shades called, “Natural”. Excuse me? What?! I don’t even know where to begin with that one.

      If I’m unnatural then I’ll just take my unnatural money somewhere else, thank you.


  4. KristieRouge says:

    I moved to London from the U.S. in September to do my MA and I’m shocked at the limited shade ranges in the drugstores. I’m forever being preached to that London is the most multicultural city in the world but most of the drugstore makeup displays don’t reflect that at all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. adoredee says:

      When I went to the US last summer I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available for darker shades. So many brands, so many undertones! I was gobsmacked. You’re right, for all the multicultural-ness we claim here, our makeup counters seem to be woefully lagging behind! I hope you enjoy your stay in the UK, and best of luck for your MA!


  5. Moi Sanom says:

    I remember not using any makeup when I was younger either for the same reasons. In my early 20s I actually found out they had a better color range in the US and imported a L’oreal mineral powder for a while. I was really annoyed though that they didnt have those shades in Europe. Then I went to the UK and found sleek which also had shades that suited me. Now in Germany there is not a single drugstore makeup product suitable for brown people which is atrocious!
    I have been boycotting a few makeup brands for a host of reasons, some of them because of not being inclusive enough, and pulling crap like releasing nude collections that look like a pastel candy party.

    A few years ago when I got super pale and discovered yellow based bb creams I finally started using some foundations again. That was a great time until I realized that asian bb creams had just as bad of a colorist problem as western skincare 😦

    Even though I can now find foundation easily I just gave up on it. I’d rather not roll with the racism to be honest. I really do wanna get a cushion though! But I have not taken the plunge yet. Honestly I wouldnt even know where to start

    Liked by 1 person

    1. adoredee says:

      Honestly, Sleek and Kiko are the only two drugstore brands that I can reliably say, “Yes, they will have a decent range of colours in most of their collections”. Everyone else? Total crap shoot and they should be ashamed of themselves.

      Yes, even though now I can find foundation easily I just refuse to really get invested in makeup because I can’t with all the overt racism. So while I smile prettily at the pallets and the cute collections I can’t bring myself to get too emotionally invested. I tried to get more into makeup in 2016, but I found that all I could really buy were lip products, of which I now have entirely too many!

      Kiko was the only brand that had eyeshadows that appeared true to pan on my skin, and they discontinued that range. So I guess that’s me done with eyeshadow!


      1. Moi Sanom says:

        I am the same way right now 🙂 I mostly only buy lip products but get often pissed off when I stray from burgundies since the colors are either not pigmented enough or when they are they look so outlandishly weird and completely different than advertised. But burgundies and most browns are still great thankfully.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. hirenmisu says:

    Loved this post!
    Pretty much the same crap in Australia. I’m from the U.S. but will be staying in Aus soon. Each time I’ve gone to Aus I have been extremely upset with the nonexistent darker shades. Don’t even get me started on the lack of Black hair care products in Aus (give me strength…). When Sephora opened up in Aus I thought “YASE!!!!!! It will be like back in the U.S. I can shop and find what I need!” Uh, no… That was like shopping in a winter wonderland (they’re trying to expand but..). So now I either have to stock up in the U.S., order online, or have family send things. It’s so sad that cosmetic companies still don’t care that much about us or allow retailers to ignore ordering a the full color palette for a product even if they know we exist in that area. As for BB creams/cushions I have stopped hoping for one made by an Asian company to care about my dark skin and match it properly. People rant about them and I think it would be beneficial for my skin but I’m not allowed to enjoy it. And if they do go past a light tan it’s a limited release that most likely won’t be seen again. I get they don’t have as many people past a certain complexion in various parts of Asia; however, these companies are well aware that the West is ready to throw money their way. Our money spends just as good and we have voiced interest. So why not see us?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. adoredee says:

      It’s only been five years (or so) since black haircare appeared on the highstreet and I am still fearful that it’ll disappear. Sure it’s in the ‘ethnic’ section, but it’s there. I can buy it with my other items and don’t have to make a special stop to a different part of town in order just to make sure my hair looks the way I want it.

      Oh man that burns, Sephora AU, why? What actually riled me up even more was that even though Asian companies don’t have as much experience as Western brands in shade ranges (I mean, most base products in Korea are four shades at most), Laneige made TWO darker cushion shades for their US audience. Was it enough? Hell no, but they tried, they saw us and knew they had to do better. Why is it that we’re still invisible to Western brands? Max Factor have one base product that’s on the deep range of the spectrum (called suntan), yet it uses a darker skinned celebrity to promote their products. Are you kidding me?! I really can’t give these companies a pass anymore. You don’t see me? My money and I don’t see you.


  7. Nonennui says:

    Same here. To be a WOC shopping the drugstore/high street brands is to fight a war of attrition. One in which You gamely try shade after shade after shade of foundation/powder/concealer/blush/lipstick only to sigh and put it back on the rack. After a while there’s just nothing left to try. And on the other side of the aisle, so to speak, things weren’t perfect, but at least markedly better. There was MAC and it’s precursor, Prescriptives, with their custom blend foundation. Chanel with its sumptuous formulations. Clinique’s Black Honey lip gloss. But damn those prices. And the panicky look on the sales associates faces 9/10ths of the time when you ask to try something. But you scrimp and save just to buy those extra nice goodies that made you feel pretty and like part of the game. But you still end up feeling penalized for not being Max Factor “Natural.”

    And then you discover AB and decide, screw it. Why not just step up your skincare game to the point where you don’t need to put any of this stuff non-accommodating garbage on your face in the first place. Thank you Snesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. adoredee says:

      You just described my entire beauty experience. That’s exactly why I started with the skincare because I just had enough, I didn’t want to play anymore. Thank you Snesus.


  8. nomadicfille says:

    Damn…wow. I’m sitting over here shaking my head because UK is more diverse than France from a demographics point of view and even France with all it’s laïcité and their fight against accepting diversity at least have the beauty brands here getting it together. Have you looked at Yves Rocher and their cushion foundation? I’m the second-third to darkest shade for their range, was very pleasantly surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. adoredee says:

      Would you believe that in the UK we only have up to shade 300, not up to 500 like in France? Hahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. nomadicfille says:

    Really? SMH. How does that work? Especially if you live in the general London metropolitan area?!?!? I don’t get why they don’t put out the darker shades, these companies could make a killing,especially if it’s already being sold in other countries…the supply chain is already there…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Helena says:

    I think that’s a really bold claim to say that, as you put it, “because as a darker skinned woman, I was considered a poor financial investment” why would they release the Lancome cushion which is so much more expensive in darker colours? If they were going on your statement their thinking would be “well they can’t afford this so why bother?”

    I empathise with your frustration and I completely see where you are coming from, but I don’t think that L’Oreal is trying to f**k you over. The fact that they even do darker shades is a positive. It is a problem with whatever information they are going off that has influenced their decision to distribute certain colours to certain areas and I don’t believe it is because “Women with darker skin don’t like to test in stores”


    1. adoredee says:

      In 2014 L’Oreal made a strategic business decision to focus on ‘Universalisation‘, to celebrate and respect the differences in hair, skin, and traditions in all their global markets. In order to make beauty accessible for all. While they’ve been patting themselves on the back with this strategic vision, they’ve been doing the same thing they’ve always been doing. If a company makes bold claims like this, I as a consumer expect them to back this up.

      So while, it’s easy to say that distribution is a pain, ultimately brands have control over their displays. So when I say, “They don’t care about our money” I mean quite literally, they don’t care enough to make it a priority. When these darker shades do not appear on shelves, they’ve done a cost benefit and decided to not pursue that avenue of revenue.

      That bothers me. You cannot as a business promise one thing, and then deliver something so totally different.

      When you promise to make beauty for all, then you better make beauty for all.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. A River Lily says:

    “You don’t see me? Then I don’t see you.”
    Love this line. What a great read. I’m about an NC35-NC40 so I can’t pretend to know your experience, but about 6+ years ago, I went through the frustration of shopping for Korean BB creams. Hah, what a joke it was back then. I think there was literally only one shade remotely dark enough for me, the Missha Perfect Cover #27 (which was new and still ran light…#31 would come along a little later, I believe?) and it was nearly impossible to get my hands on for some reason. I can understand Korean makeup not keeping up with deeper shades, but you’re absolutely right about European (and American) brands. You can’t just be all “tell” and no “show.” It’s not like darker-skinned people just got invented. Ugh!
    We have to keep fighting the good fight.


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