Since the early noughties there has been a significant growth in cosmetics for non-white people available in major pharmacies and supermarkets in the UK. More and more brands offer darker shades of foundation, but the variety of shades remains quite limited. This growth is obviously welcome, but, as a relatively dark-skinned Black woman, I still struggle to find shades that match my skin.
I therefore decided to investigate make-up brands and the accessibility of their websites and range of products for people of colour.
According to my dark-skinned friends and family, the three go-to make-up brands for Black people in the UK are LA Girl - a US brand available in the UK, Bobbi Brown - by Estée Lauder Company (ELC) and Fenty - by LVMH.
But four companies dominate the UK make-up scene (Coty, Boots, L’Oréal and ELC) and I wanted to find out how these all compare on their approach to the BME community.
I had three questions for these companies and their brands:
- Was it easy to navigate to cosmetic ranges for dark skin?
- What proportion of face ranges offered products for dark skin?
- How many shades were available for dark-skinned people within each range?
To answer my questions, I surveyed the websites of the 30 brands which together account for two-thirds of the UK make-up market.
- Coty: Bourjois, Burberry, Cover Girl, Rimmel, Max Factor.
- Boots: Natural Collection, No.7, Sleek, Soap and Glory, CYO.
- L’Oréal: Logona, L’Oréal, Lancôme, Maybelline, NYX, Urban Decay, Santé, YSL.
- Estée Lauder Company (ELC): Aveda, Becca, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Glamglow, La Mer, MAC, Origins, Smashbox, Tom Ford, Too Faced.
- LVMH: Fenty
- Comedic: L.A. Girl