Tuesday 27, Oct 2020, Delhi (India)
The Different Shades Of Beauty: For decades the beauty industry has been obsessed with fair skin. It has thrived on creating inferiority complexes among the other skin tones. If one can’t fit their handful range of shades, then fairness cream is their resort.
However, over the past few years the society has gone through many drastic changes, and embracing darker skin is one of them. The consumer no longer believes in the age-old image painted by the beauty brands.
Consumers no longer want to be told, which skin tone is beautiful. They want a brand that reflects their cultural diversity, a brand that is inclusive and supports a cause. This shift in consumer behavior has caused a significant impact on the marketers, advertisers, and the beauty industry in general; resulting in changing the world by including the different shades of beauty.
The change in the beauty industry and its shift towards shade inclusivity, has also driven body positivity and other beauty inclusive ideas. Billboards and magazine covers now feature models with different skin tones and body shapes. Fair and skinny is not the ideal standard of beauty anymore. CoverGirl’s recent campaign featured the 70-year-old Maye Musk this truly is defining inclusivity in beauty.
For more than a decade, major cosmetic brands like L’Oreal have been working hard to make their brand more diverse and inclusive. They are continuously expanding their color palette and using color-matching technology to cater to women of color, making it easier for them to find their perfect shade. However, this journey of trial and error has not been smooth for them. New launches have brought new challenges and some campaigns have attracted criticism.
The feature of Anjelah Johnson’s Bon QuiQui character in Benefit’s music video was labeled as racist by many; or the controversy over Beyoncé Knowles’ skin lighting in L’Oreal’s print ad.
Some experts anticipate the reason of failure, maybe the outlook of these brands towards dark skin tones.
Role of demographics
The shift in the industry is also because of the change in demographics. Nations are becoming more and more diverse and excluding any skin tone is intolerable. In order to adapt to the changing world, brands are launching a wider and more representative assortment of products. As opposed to the 7 - 8 shades in the foundation, Fenty has introduced 40 shades to cater to women of color, who have been neglected in the past.
Brands that are changing the game
Many brands have stepped up to change their game and match their pace with the evolving world. Dove is one such brand that has encouraged women to embrace their natural beauty. It has continuously instilled the idea of embracing every shape, size, and color through its campaigns. With so many successful initiatives, it is empowering women and instilling self-confidence in them by breaking the stereotypical belief that 'fair is pretty'.
Another factor that has brought about this shift is that the brands have realized the underlying potential of the market of color. According to a market study, black women in the USA spend around $7.5 billion on beauty products every year.
As a result labels like Maybelline, Estée Lauder, Make Up For Ever and others have launched a more inclusive palette for unique and exotic skin tones. However, Fenty’s richer dark skin collection has wooed every girl’s mind. Huda Beauty and Nykaa have also played a major role in including the different shades of beauty in the industry. They have influenced consumer minds not just as a brand but also as beauty influencers ultimately altering the common belief of the masses.
Skin tones and colors that have been ignored for ages by most of the industry, now have a premium range of options. In this modern world, even the hardest to crack - the beauty industry has changed its standard. There is no ideal body shape or skin color, and the only way to survive is to walk hand-in-hand with the society and its ever-evolving behavior.