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WANTED: More variety for women of colour in the UK high street cosmetic industry

This petition had 421 supporters

You don’t have to wear make-up or be an ethnic minority woman to sign this. This is relevant to anyone who disagrees with the uniform standards society uses to define beauty.

At a glance, it would seem that the high street cosmetic industry caters to every, shade, hue and tone, as a mixture of black, asian and white models are used as the faces of particular brands. Unfortunately, closer examination of the high street shows that these beauty promises of diversity are empty, and the high street has reached a diversity standstill.

When I first started experimenting with make-up I didn’t care that my only high street option was the Maybelline Cocoa Dream Matte Mousse foundation. I was just so grateful that I had AN option that I didn’t even bother to check if it matched my skin tone. 10 years later and with Jourdan Dunn as the face of Maybelline, I’m sad to say that ‘Cocoa’ is still the only option for most black women. There’s really nothing dreamy about trying to decide whether to settle for looking chalky or splurge on a luxury brand!

High street retailers like Boots and Superdrug have shown that they’re aware of the beauty demands from women of colour. They’re doing a wonderful job at showing they value their ethnic minority clientele; through the recent extension of their own make-up ranges, stocking Karamel and Brown (a fake tan brand aimed at asian and black women), and stocking afro hair products such as relaxer. However, if I walked into my local superdrug right now, there's only one brand that myself and hundreds of thousands, of other women could (potentially) buy concealer from. This suggests that there’s still plenty of room for improvement when it comes to the cosmetic choices they offer to brown beauties. I understand that brands are free to cater to whomever they want – they do. When I'm walking down the aisles of Boots and Superdrug, I always see a number of brands that cater exclusively to white women. On the other hand, I never understand why companies that cater solely to brown beauties have been omitted from the cosmetic range.

High street brands (like No7) have cleared some diversity hurdles to accommodate brown beauties. However, empty (beauty) promises of diversity, demonstrated through the use of misleading slogans like ‘Get the London Look’, show that we are far from the finish line. Last time I checked London was one of the most multicultural cities in the world, with women of varying pigments. Rimmel has only recently acknowledged this through the expansion of its foundation range, but I don’t want to wait another 20 or so years before ALL its products are representative of ALL the women that live in London. And how can L’Oreal Paris feel comfortable using ethnic minority models like Liya in their Colour riche exclusive red lipstick advert, when they fail to sell beauty staples such as foundation and concealer for anyone darker than Freida Pinto?

I want every mixed race, asian and black woman to stand in front of a make-up counter and struggle to decide which brand to buy from. Not because she’s struggling to decide which product will make her look less chalky, but because there are so many choices for her skin tone.

I think the high street should adequately cater to every beauty fanatic whether she’s Black, Asian, White or every colour of the rainbow!

With this in mind, I am urging readers to sign this petition to encourage high street cosmetic brands to embrace change and learn to celebrate beauty in all its shades – from Nicola Roberts to Mindy Kaling to Lupita Nyong’o

Tell us about your make-up frustrations on Facebook,  Twitter or  Instagram   #weareworthit2

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