Coles Is Expanding Its Foundation Shade Range and Which Supermarket Is Next?

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In April this year, a petition made headlines for calling out the lack of diversity in the makeup shade ranges offered at Coles, Woolworths and Target. Rebecca Willink, a mother-of-two from Melbourne, started the petition after noticing the “distinct lack of representation of different cultures in the makeup aisles in supermarkets”.

Willink noted that many of the brands that are stocked in these stores actually have extensive shade ranges — like MCoBeauty and Maybelline — but the darker colours aren’t sold in store. “Many brands, including those who do produce the darker colours, are not even available online to purchase,” Willink wrote.

“This forces people with darker complexions to either purchase directly from brands’ websites or makeup stores which ends up costing more than the products on supermarket shelves. This is a form of racial discrimination and must be addressed immediately.”

In response to this petition, Coles has announced that it’s addressing this issue by including more shade options in some of its supermarkets across the country. Unfortunately, this move is only a temporary trial but the supermarket is conducting a review of its cosmetics offerings in order to stock more inclusive products.

“We have listened to our customers’ feedback seeking a more diverse range of foundation shades and we will be undertaking a three-month trial both online and in-store, starting in late August with our supplier Maybelline,” General Manage of Non-Food, Health and Home, Jonathan Torr said in a statement.

“During this time, we will be offering the full range of Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Poreless Foundation, tripling the current range available to Coles customers including 40 shades in total. We have specifically chosen ten stores that service a large number of postcodes and diverse customer base, who can provide us with valuable feedback.

“This includes three stores in New South Wales, four in Victoria, and one each in Queensland, South Australia and the ACT. Subject to customer feedback, we would then look to roll this out more broadly across our stores.

“In the meantime, we are also conducting a thorough range review of our cosmetics category and looking for opportunities to work with suppliers to offer a more diverse and inclusive range of products in-store and online. The process will be ongoing for several months, and we look forward to launching a refreshed product offering in early 2022.”

While this is definitely a positive start, we encourage Coles to roll these offerings out to more stores going forward (not just for a trial period), to increase the availability for consumers and stop the marginalisation of BIPOC.

“To make the darker shades inaccessible to a particular segment of the population is incredibly unfair, frustrating and exclusive,” Willink wrote in the petition. “The assumption that only the light shades will sell well is not a good enough excuse to marginalise a section of the community by not catering to them.”

To lend your support to this, you can sign the petition here. To add your voice to the conversation, consider reaching out to Coles to commend this decision and encourage the supermarket to increase its cosmetics shelving space so BIPOC are catered for going forward (not just for a few months). And, consider reaching out to Woolworths and Target to enquire when these retailers will be following suit and increasing shade range offerings, which is long overdue.

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