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Foundations of Inclusion

When it comes to beauty, inspiration and versatility are at its essence.

In a society that has forcefully increased the monetization of “ideal” features to propel misrepresented notions of beauty, the probing fate or realization that an individual does or does not belong to a said beauty standard is a feat that many young people endure. In some ways, it feels as if we were taught to believe beauty has been defined and it is up to you, the individual, to meet those definitions.

In reality, real beauty holds no bounds. It is timeless and full of personal expression, and its only validation should be approved by you.

Growing up as a young Nigerian immigrant in predominantly white areas, my experience getting into beauty was limited by a lack of inclusion in base makeup which includes: foundation, concealer, and bronzer shades as well as blush.

Brands like Bare Minerals, Dior, and Armani were just a few companies that lacked this range of inclusive color selection during the beginning of my newfound interest in makeup. These companies sold products that did not compliment the correct undertones when it came to

matching darker complexioned skin. Many brands included warm-toned tints yet lacked cool or neutral tones, making it difficult to find the correct shade.

When exploring new makeup, there would be one or two shades that were remotely close to my skin tone, yet upon application, the colors did not match. And when it came to the darkest shades, I was allowed a choice between tones that were too light or simply wrong.

Everything I tried was off and honestly looked a bit scary.

The lack of color ranges for darker-skinned women in makeup and cosmetics made me question everything; if the subliminal message when purchasing cosmetics from high-end companies was rooted in discrimination, then why would I want to give these companies not only my money, but my time?

The real shift in inclusivity in the luxury makeup community began in 2017 with Rihanna’s debut of her Fenty Collection, which included forty shades. Of forty, nine shades were in my skin range which was to my disbelief. I was astonished! My selection went from only a couple of shades to having multiple options. This was a game changer in hindsight as Fe

nty Beauty really understood the importance of expanding shade ranges to include all skin colors and adhering to correct undertone matching.

Soon after the Fenty release, a plethora of luxury makeup brands like Nars and Estée Lauder started concentrating more on inclusivity; and with a little momentum, many other companies started to reconsider their role in inclusiveness, in hopes of diversifying their customer audience to include all skin shades.

With that being said I still believe the work is far from done and there is a lot of room for growth. Not only do companies like YSL and Tarte cosmetics still lack a variety of shade ranges, but they also continue to perpetuate an unrealistic notion that high-end makeup should disenfranchise darker complexions and continually miss the mark when it comes to including more options for people of color.

To highlight luxury makeup composition, the visual media that is paired with this article reflects the importance of skin tone inclusion. Fenty Beauty foundation, concealer, and gloss served as a driving force that created this dazzling photo-ready look that fully encapsulated a darker skin complexion and its radiance. The blend and seamless color match show the cohesiveness and simplicity of makeup when the working products are an exceptional fit for the consumer.

In all, the point lies here. No one has the right to convince another that they are not beautiful and worthy. I believe the greater opposition is an ongoing challenge to convince yourself that you are and stand firm in that, despite society’s efforts.

The most valuable skill my mother, Grace, taught me is that beauty is rooted in the condition of your heart and how willing you are to accept others. She reiterated being kind, spirited, and grateful in everything.

Beauty is the basis on which we can admire the expressions of each other as we navigate the world seeing different and complex features in one another. It allows us to gaze far beyond what comes to the eye in search of what is in the soul.

Beauty is not defined or bound by an outward appearance but rather a spirit that sheds a fine-tuned light on who a person is, was, and might aspire to be. It encumbers a sense of self that comes from the heart and transcends to inspire others.

A piece written by Mary Ikeocha


Here is a fantastic makeup tutorial made by our Agok Mabil

Some of our Author’s Top Picks

  • Fenty Beauty Foundation

  • Dior Fusion Mono Eyeshadow

  • Too Faced Lip Injection Gloss

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