A Scientist Explains Why WOC Have Less Makeup Options

PARIS, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 28:  A model has makeup applied backstage during FENTY x PUMA by Rihanna at Hotel Salomon de Rothschild on September 28, 2016 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Fenty x Puma)

A Scientist Explains Why WOC Have Less Makeup Options

But if we can put a man on the moon, surely we can make brown foundation.

Published March 1, 2017

It's no secret that women of color (WOC) have far less options when it comes to makeup. In an interview with Galore Magazine, cosmetic chemist Erica Douglas demystified some of the reasoning behind this and the issues at hand may be more complex than you think.

“When you’re mixing these types of colors together, often times yes, some of these colors do cost more than others,” Douglas said. “But so little color goes into some of these products. I don’t think it’s a matter of how much does it cost, or if darker colors are too expensive to put it in the market, it’s more so do you have the volume to justify making a large number of those products?”

Basically, since makeup companies have been catering to lighter-skinned women so long, the demand for darker shades isn't thought to be as high. Douglas offers the practical suggestion of strategically offering larger quantities of darker shades in communities with corresponding demographics, noting that companies such as Walgreens are already implementing such tactics.

“I think it’s very easy, just as easy, to make foundations for women with lighter skin tones and darker skin tones,” Douglas said. “It all comes down to a business decision as to how they’re going to do it and how they’re going to roll it out and what they’re going to make available and when. And so at that point I just always tell people: as a consumer, you create the demand and if your voice isn’t heard then these brands don’t know that we exist.”

Written by Lainey Sidell

(Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Fenty x Puma)


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