How Are We Still Dealing With Shade Range Issues in 2024?

Getty / PeopleImages

Image Source: Getty/ PeopleImages

In case you missed it, another beauty brand is coming under fire for lack of inclusivity with its shade range. Cosmetics brand Youthforia first launched its Date Night Skin Tint Serum Foundation with 15 shades, a relatively low number considering the current options on the market. Then, when it came time for an expansion, the 10 additional hues left much to be desired. In fact, people quickly began to point out that its darkest shade, 600 Deep, looked more like deep grey – just black pigment with a smidge of white.

While people have been rightfully outraged, this latest controversy points to a larger issue in the beauty space: beauty brands are still struggling to be inclusive in 2024. There is no sugarcoating that this is discrimination. (A representative for Youthforia did not respond to a request for comment.)

Yes, not everyone can pull a Fenty Beauty and launch right off the bat with 40 shades of foundation. It’s expensive and not everyone has the capital or connections to find a lab that will work with them on such a large scale. Still, what consumers are looking for is equity.

As a brand founder, not only should you consult experienced makeup artists if you aren’t one yourself before creating a complexion line, but you must – at a minimum – make sure to offer products that work for every color on the Fitzpatrick scale. Launching an already limited foundation range with multiple shades for people with lighter complexions and only a handful for people with darker skin tones doesn’t make sense, today or ever. It’s more than just unfair – it’s also not good for business and makes consumers question your values.

The beauty industry at times feels ubiquitous, and that’s by design; there’s a product for every need that you can think of. The market is valued at over 400 billion dollars and is only expected to grow over the next few years. Understandably, everybody wants a piece of the pie. Still, as a result, the industry is also extremely over-saturated. For brand owners, this means that competition is stiff. So if you aren’t going to make sure that a launch is inclusive for a variety of skin tones, what exactly is the point?

No one is denying that launching – and maintaining – a beauty brand is expensive. Everyone should be able to recognize their dream of owning a cosmetics line if they wish to do so, regardless of the cost. Just don’t gaslight beauty consumers into believing that making shades for dark skin is somehow too high of a cost to justify. That’s not true, it is lazy, and it is going to get called out every single time.

Ariel Baker is the associate editor for PS Beauty. Her areas of expertise include celebrity news, beauty trends, and product reviews. She has additional bylines with Essence and Forbes Vetted.

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