Why Diversity in the Beauty Industry is so Important

Makeup is an integral part of many women’s and men’s day-to-day routines. Sadly, the beauty industry often neglects the needs of many of its vast and varied consumer base, especially men and consumers with darker skin tones. Why is diversity in the beauty industry so important? And what can brands do to work towards inclusivity? We wanted to find out.

By Monique Courtney

How is Diversity in the Beauty Industry Lacking?

Tons of men and women of all colours, ages, and backgrounds use makeup on a regular basis, but unfortunately the industry fails to cater for its entire consumer demographic.

Until recently, most makeup brands didn’t manufacture colours to suit darker skin tones. In 2016, a survey found that 70% of Asian and Black women felt that their beauty needs weren’t met by high-street brands. Although recent years have seen a rise in colour diversity in the beauty industry, most brands still offer only lighter shades of makeup and do not take darker skin tones into account.

Men, too, have long been—and continue to be—ignored by the makeup and beauty industry. Makeup-donning men have not been historically accepted by society, and still today struggle for acceptance. This is a prime example of the lacking diversity in the beauty industry. Men are often forced to use makeup and skincare products designed for women. Women’s skin is very different to men’s, so what works for females doesn’t always work for males and vice versa.

Image Source: GQ

Why is Diversity in the Beauty Industry so Important?

In the past, most beauty and makeup companies have almost exclusively prescribed to Western, Euro-centric, and heteronormative beauty standards.

But diversity is quickly becoming the new standard in tons of industries, not least of all fashion and modelling—it’s time that the beauty industry catches up.

Makeup brands have a massive consumer base, so ignoring a big portion of their demographic would be an extremely unwise business move. But more importantly, it would be rejecting the future of the industry itself and would perpetuate the false idea that darker skin tones and men shouldn’t have the access to products that can make them feel confident in their own skin.

Image Source: Honey & Rogue

Makeup for Men? Like Drag Queens?

Not necessarily! Tons of men, both in the LGBTQ+ community as well as many outside of that group, are beginning to venture into the wide world of cosmetics. Just like with women, there are lots of reasons why men want to wear makeup: insecurities about their complexion, confidence boosting, or simply just for fun.

While the word “makeup” usually conjures up mental images of dramatic eyeliner, shimmery highlighter, and colourful eyeshadow, it can mean so much more than that. Lots of men opt for a simple concealer, foundation, or BB cream to smoothen their complexion and hide any blemishes. That being said, there are tons of guys who are killin’ it with a full face of makeup. To name a few: James Charles, Patrick Starr, Manny Gutierrez, and Jeffree Star.

Men’s facial skin is very different from women’s—it’s much tougher and thicker, and men have facial hair where most women don’t. There are limited options for men who want to wear makeup and they’re often forced to used products that were designed for women’s needs. The few skincare and cosmetics brands that do cater for men—BM Cosmetics, MËNAJI—are expensive and not very accessible. It’s super important that brands strive to increase diversity in the beauty industry by making men’s cosmetics accessible for everyone.

Image Source: YouTube
Image Source: YouTube

Makeup Brands That Are Killing the Diversity Game

Fenty Beauty is one of the most inclusive brands on the market, offering 40 different shades of foundation.

Image Source: Fenty Beauty

BM Cosmetics for Men is a makeup brand that caters specifically to men’s beauty and skincare needs.

Image Source: Pinterest

Milk Makeup is a diverse and inclusive beauty brand. Milk breaks down boundaries by regularly including racial diversity and gender fluidity in its campaigns.

Image Source: Yahoo
Image Source: Yahoo

L’Oréal Paris’s True Match foundation range boasts 23 shades of foundation, from pale, ivory hues to deep, chocolatey tones.

Image Source: Elastic Creative

MËNAJI is an awesome men’s skincare and cosmetics brand, with products like concealer, anti-shine powder, aftershave, and fake tan.

Image Source: mankind.co.uk

Interested in how other industries are breaking down barriers? Check out this article on diversity in the modelling industry!


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