Fol­low­ing the launch of Fenty Beauty, many brands quickly ex­panded their foun­da­tion shade range to com­pete, but not ev­ery­one got it right.

Fashion (Canada) - - The Market | Contents - By Kayla A. Greaves

Quan­tity or qual­ity? Fenty Beauty’s 40 shades have sparked a range race in the beauty in­dus­try—but Char­lotte Til­bury isn’t in­ter­ested in en­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion.

When Ri­hanna launched Fenty Beauty last year—of­fer­ing 40 shades of foun­da­tion for all skin tones right off the bat—the brand ex­pe­ri­enced im­me­di­ate, stag­ger­ing suc­cess. (In its first 40 days, it brought in $100 mil­lion in sales.) The singer’s star power and the fact that she was the first wo­man of colour with that level of fame to launch a glob­ally ac­ces­si­ble makeup line with the con­cept of in­clu­siv­ity at its core res­onated well with the masses.

Pro­pelled by her own strug­gle with shade match­ing, Ri­hanna wanted to en­sure that the line would ad­dress ev­ery­one’s needs. “I’ve had my makeup done thou­sands of times, and when it comes to foun­da­tion, you just never know how it’s go­ing to turn out,” she said in an in­ter­view with Time as part of its Best In­ven­tions of 2017 roundup. “It was im­por­tant that ev­ery wo­man felt in­cluded in this brand. We are all so dif­fer­ent, with our own unique skin tones.”

Other cos­met­ics com­pa­nies quickly fol­lowed suit, ex­pand­ing their ranges to in­clude a con­sumer base that had been over­looked: peo­ple of colour. “What a lot of brands do is for the white North Amer­i­can wo­man,” says Vic Casale, chief in­no­va­tion of­fi­cer at Cover FX, a brand that has long car­ried in­clu­sive foun­da­tion lines. Casale says that of­ten only 15 shades will be of­fered be­cause it’s known they’re go­ing to sell. “For black women, brands of­fer very few.”

Even drug­store brands hopped on board. CoverGirl re­cently teamed up with Issa Rae for the launch of TruBlend Matte Made Foun­da­tion—an ex­ten­sion of its orig­i­nal TruBlend line—which of­fers 40 shades in an ef­fort to make in­clu­sive beauty more af­ford­able. But while Ri­hanna may have made 40 the new nor­mal, Fenty Beauty wasn’t the first to cater to a va­ri­ety of skin tones. In ad­di­tion to Cover FX, other main­stream brands, like Estée Lauder (which used to of­fer 42 shades of its Dou­ble Wear Foun­da­tion but has just in­creased that num­ber to 56), May­belline New York (whose Fit Me Foun­da­tion comes in 40 shades) and M.A.C (Stu­dio Fix Fluid comes in 42 shades), have long of­fered wide ranges. To stay com­pet­i­tive, Dior and Lush re­cently upped their ranges to 40 and NYX now of­fers 45.

Com­pa­nies are be­ing closely watched via so­cial me­dia, where con­sumers are weigh­ing in on their ev­ery move. Beau­ty­blender, a brand that rev­o­lu­tion­ized how we ap­ply makeup, re­cently made a “beauty blunder” af­ter en­ter­ing the foun­da­tion cat­e­gory. Though it of­fers 32 shades, so­cial me­dia users quickly no­ticed that the col­lec­tion seemed to cater pri­mar­ily to light and medium skin tones,

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