I really love make-up and I love trying new brands and products. Every time I hear that a product is a “must-have” or a “cult favorite” or especially the ubiquitous “looks great on everyone,” I’m there. But sometimes I realize, no, it doesn’t look good on everyone, and if it’s a cult favorite, then that cult does not include women of color.
Here are some of the make-up lines I’ve had bad experiences with as a woman of color.
YSL. YSL’s Touche Eclat Radiant Touch is one of the cult favorites that I’m so sick of hearing about. I wanted this product for years, but every time I went to buy it, it came in exactly one shade. Then they got crazy and expanded to two. Looking at the Sephora website now, it appears that they have more shades, including “luminous mocha” and “luminous praline” but honestly? I’m not interested anymore. I would have gladly handed over $40 for this stuff five years ago, but now that they are finally accepting my kind, I’m kind of over wanting to give them my business.
Benefit. Benefit is one of those brands magazine editors seem to love; they are always featuring these awesome compacts with great highlighters and under-eye concealers. I get all geeked and head to the store, only to be reminded that the 1940s look they are going for with their packaging reflects their apparent 1940s ideals.
MAC. MAC has some of the most appealing branding marketing out there. I can’t pass by one of their counters without wanting to be like the cool — and multicultural! — women in their ads or working at their counters. Yet in reality, their foundation is just…blah. Sure it comes in a lot of shades, but they seem to know nothing of the nuances of darker skin tones. It’s like a bunch of bottles of flat brown paint.
I asked on Twitter and Facebook what brands women of color have had bad experiences with; here are some of the responses I got:
“Mac’s foundation is the absolute worst.”
“I tried Nars. The salesperson told me it was my shade. I looked like a ashy ghost.”
“Rimmel London! That sh*t is so cheap and I always want it on a Target run but NO concealer/power/anything in my shade. Just checked out their powders for verification. Ivory and beige. *side-eye*”
“Clinique is the worst, IMO. I thought MAC would also be good, but I’ve had no luck finding my shade in foundation.”
“Maybelline powder foundation. I tried to match it to my skin the best I could because I really wanted to like the concept of a powder foundation but the ‘tan’ was not…tan. My best guess would be a white person sat down and guessed five colors that ethnic people are and I took a shot in the dark at which of the five colors I was. I guessed wrong. I pawned the color off to my little sister who has much lighter skin. She wasn’t even a close match to the color either so she obviously couldn’t use it as a foundation.”
Have you had any bad experiences with certain make-up brands as a woman of color?