The beauty community has been dramatically changed since Fenty Beauty’s release of 40 shades of foundation in 2017.
Make Up Forever responded to the high praise of Fenty with a response on its Instagram page saying, “40 shades is nothing new to us. Since 2015, the #ultraHDfoundation released 40 shades for everyone’s unique skin tone understanding the difference between red and yellow undertones. With expertise, time and passion – we shall continue to develop and improve our products for pros, for you, for everyone.” An overwhelming amount of responses replied with “still ashy” (referring to the gray undertones most dark shades of foundation have) or “I couldn’t find a shade dark enough for me in your shade range.”
This has been a constant issue within the beauty community. Whenever a new foundation range is announced, the lack of shade range causes outrage. If a shade is close to the correct color, it is either too orange or considered to be ashy (either entirely including orange undertones or without any undertones except for a gray-like color).
Popular YouTuber Nyma Tang hosts a series called “The Darkest Shade” where she reviews popular foundation brands’ darkest shade in their collection. Nyma Tang has a very deep complexion; she is the very extreme end of the spectrum of skin color and tones.
Conversely, Celebrity Makeup Artist John Maclean is on the opposite end of the spectrum, with a skin tone that is very pale and almost translucent.
Yet, they both experience similar issues. John Maclean has struggled significantly finding the right shade, but has admitted that he has had success finding a shade pale enough and one that matched his undertones.
The complaint of most women of color is they get the correct tone but not the correct undertones, causing the foundations to not match. In many instances, finding the perfect match is extremely difficult and even impossible. Sometimes, brands release the first batch of foundations in lighter shades and then, later on, expand their range to darker shades. This seems like an afterthought, much like a band-aid to cover up the controversy.
Morphe released fluidity, a 60 shade range, on January 17. Nyma Tang has yet to release a video reviewing fluidity in her series. However, another YouTuber, Jackie Aina, tested fluidity’s foundations. While finding a tone to match her darker skin tone, she found issue with the undertones of the darker shades. Most of the shades that were in the darker category had red undertones. She said that although the number is impressive, the shades were not a hit, and she would have preferred quality over quantity. A flashy number means nothing if the actual product doesn’t follow through.
Although I am not a woman of color, I am a firm believer that beauty is for everyone. Makeup has no gender, no race, no sexuality. It’s meant for self-expression and a way to feel more confident. Limiting a makeup line to only one skin color is disappointing and just completely outdated. Fenty beauty revolutionized the beauty world. They showed that it is possible to have beauty for all shades, and they told everyone to catch up or be left behind.