Dear Natural Cosmetics Companies Who Think Only White Women Want to Buy Their Wares,
For a variety of reasons related to concerns about my health and the environment, I have decided to ditch my (very expensive) unnatural makeup for (very expensive) natural makeup. The results have been mixed, especially in regards to foundations and concealers for women of a darker hue. That includes East Asian Women, Hispanic Women, and African American women. Basically, a HUGE swath of women who make up the American population and help to fuel the economy. We’re educated–which means many of use are aware of how harmful ingredients and cheap fillers can negatively affect our health. We’ve got disposable income–which means that every Friday you just might get a cut of our paycheck. Yet when you really look as many of the key players in the natural cosmetics market, brown women might as well be invisible. Your darkest “tan” BB Creams leave us chalky. Your “second skin” foundations leave the darkest among us left out. Your pinks, red and nude lipsticks leave our lips looking unflatteringly clownish. And worst of all…many of you don’t really care.
When on Instagram using the hashtag #greenbeauty, #organicbeauty, #veganbeauty, or #naturalbeauty, and there’s swarms of gorgeous white women and cosmetics companies touting their wares, with a group conspicuously missing–not enough brown girls. Whenever I see a new blogger touting some new tinted sunscreen I’ll ask, “Do they have shade for dark skin??” Uhhh….*blank stare.*
One of my favorite Intagram green beauty bloggers is The Organic Bunny. She’s beautiful, knowledgeable, and super accessible to her fans. She’s become a celebrity of sorts, and her endorsements are much sought after by companies in the organic space. Most recently I asked her this very question, and she answered with this:
I understand she means well. But I have to wonder. Did the major brands in this space WAIT to get demand from white women with varying hues of peach to actually PRODUCE products for them? Or did they make the product for THEM FIRST? I think we know the answer to that.
Another issue is that there aren’t a lot of companies actively doing outreach to educate women of color on why cosmetics free of toxins can preserve their health. You’re not getting a demand, because you’re not really doing a good job telling us why we need it!
There used to be a time when permanent relaxers were a billion-dollar business with black women. But a social media movement came to the fore, encouraging black women to eschew the toxic straightening chemicals and opt for more natural hair regimens. One person told another, formed a community, told each other which products worked well with their hair texture, which led to an entirely new industry catering to this community and handily taking the billions away from the relaxer companies. Companies who thought we were invisible or we were “one size fits all” are now scrambling for market share. But many of us remember when you ignored us.
In short, the world is changing, natural cosmetics companies. There are more people claiming mixed heritage that ever before in history. These people are educated and have the money to buy your wares. They’re also on the darker side of the spectrum. But if you want to keep pretending we don’t exist, that’s okay. You snooze, you loose. But before you brush this off, check the authority of this blog, and they caliber of women who read it.
Shout out to the companies at least trying to cater to the women of darker hues. Let’s patronize the people who actually acknowledge our existence. I’ll continue to promote the companies that express a desire to reach this community. The rest of you might have to scramble like all the relaxer companies did after you realize you missed the boat. To understand how huge this market really is, I suggest you companies review this report from Nielsen.