Notice anything in this photo? Do you think you’d be able to pick out your shade?
Tarte is a cosmetics company, prominent in high-end make-up stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty. On their website, they boast their dedication to cruelty-free, vegan skincare and cosmetics that are both ecologically friendly and high quality. Tarte has recently made headlines for their controversial new line of Shape Tape Foundation.
By glancing at the photo above from the lens of our class, it’s easy to see the issue. The line offers only three to four colors that are appropriate for people of color, but it offers at least ten shades for White people. This is a strange proportion, considering African-American women spend upwards of $7.5 billion annually on cosmetics – 80% more than the general population. With numbers like that, why is there so little representation in the make-up available to people of color?
Other brands, like L’Oréal, have started things like the Women of Color Lab, which dedicate time, money, and resources to discovering the best way to make new products that cater directly to people of color. When brands neglect to include all of their consumers, they contribute to the invisibility and “White standard” that marginalized populations are often subjected to.
In response to criticism from the beauty community on social media, Tarte has announced that it will be adding ten more shades to its Shape Tape line. Their team expressed that the release of the shades in this way was not “meant in any kind of malicious way,” but as we have learned in our class, impact is greater than intent.
Is it too late, though? Their initial advertising was clearly targeted toward White women – at the expense of losing sales from people of color. Was it worth it? Will they be able to bounce back from this? And how does this reflect overall themes of invisibility and underrepresentation that we have discussed?
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- How The Beauty Industry Has Failed Black Women
- Fans are furious after Tarte unveiled its new foundations that cater almost entirely to white people