MODA Blog

Makeup Needs to Change

Makeup Needs to Change

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Following the release of the uncomfortable, unacceptable, and laughably ridiculous shade range of the Shape Tape foundation, it really hit me that the makeup industry still has much more to learn, regardless of clear precedents and platforms of what should be reality.

While the company announced on social media that 10 more shades would be released soon, it only made me believe that this company viewed non-white shades and their consumers as an afterthought. Furthermore, there's really no guarantee that those shades will be the ones we're expecting. Why hype up and release a product that doesn't meet the right standards? Surely you can do better that, Tarte.

Some context:

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The Fenty foundation line with its 40 inclusive shade range set the precedent for other leading brands that it is possible and necessary to provide access to shades that accurately reflect the skin colors of the world, not just the “mainstream”, easy-to-make shades. The Fenty line not only created shade ranges that truly served consumer needs, but it also stripped the strange fetishizing shade names that plague the beauty industry. The objectivity behind her shading line with a numerical system didn’t have me raising my eyebrows.

How bad is this problem in the beauty industry?

We all know that a trip to Ulta, Sephora, or even the drugstore can rack up the beauty budget. Makeup is not cheap, especially for people of color. In many cases, the most accommodating shades to non-white shades are available in only the most expensive brands, denying people the same level of access to the art of makeup and personal expression.

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This past year, I began watching Nyma Tang on YouTube, seeing the gravity of the situation. Her brilliant YouTube series “The Darkest Shade” shows the magnitude of the problem: the darkest shade of these companies is ridiculous. When Nyma finds a shade that actually works for her, I find that relieved look on her face so unsettling. This isn’t the way the beauty industry should be. A skin-match should not be a surprise for anyone.

Below is Nyma's reaction to the Shape Tape Foundation line. Honestly, it's heartbreaking and sobering. She's right when she calls the intention and the collection trash. The hype created around the product when all brands are fully aware of complexion lines coming to the forefront of the beauty industry is completely inappropriate. It's time for makeup to change.

Why this is important:

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As an Asian woman, I really don’t know what it’s like to not have my shade in a foundation, or what it’s like to have a palette not compliment my skin tone. This privilege I have certainly blinded me in the past from realizing that the exclusion that still occurs in this modern day; however, I began to recognize the important of correcting this problem. Internalizing this sort of toxic and discomforting culture begins at such a young age.

Growing up, there were so few Asian models, either for cosmetic or fashion purposes. I found myself emulating Western eye looks, wondering why my hair didn’t curl a certain way, or struggling to find an eyeliner look that truly complemented my face. Perhaps this was also the responsibility of such a white-washed, confusing culture. Only when I started seeing models like Ming Xi and Liu Wen did I realize that not only was it okay to look the way I did but that an Eastern standard of beauty was beautiful. It took me 20 years and moving to a diverse campus to realize what it truly meant to realize and embrace non-Western standards.

So now what? It’s comforting – only to a certain extent – to see influencers such as Manny MUA, Jackie Aina, and James Charles talk about this problem, since they have the power to spread the word through their platforms, reach the companies, and eventually bring to everyone what they deserve.

For now, I have no thoughts to support a brand that refuses to receive criticism, that shows only reactionary reparations, and marginalizes an entire community that can move the art of makeup forward. This only increases my reservations for those companies that create products for certain groups of people. Beauty is everywhere and in everyone. It's time to respect that.

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