By Janica Maya (@Janicamaya)
The beauty industry might offer many convenient options to ‘cover up’ visible blemishes we believe we have – but in reality, the industry has, for many years, successfully glossed over its many problematic flaws.
Systemic racism influenced the beauty industry to promote a standard image of beauty – one made up of Eurocentric, cis-gender women, with little to no representation of people of colour.
With the lack of representation of Black people, beauty – as defined by the industry – becames a way to conform, than as a form for self-expression. This experience among certain communities contributed to insecurities and a damaging sense of self-love, and love for each other. To have racial diversity in the industry opens room for inclusivity for businesses and consumers in changing the very definition of beauty.
Brands have been progressing in recent years by expanding their products to cater to more skin tones. In 2017, Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty offering catering to over 40 shades of diverse skin tones. She highlighted the opportunity brands had been missing for years - the voices of Black communities.
For the industry to take bigger strides is to share space with small and local businesses to thrive along with them.
Rayan Bourne - Creator and Owner, Gleam Beauty, a Toronto-based online beauty store offering natural skincare and bath products, said: "Shopping local gives us opportunities and creates income to do something for you.”
Supporting local businesses diversifies products and professionals to meet the needs of all consumers, as Rayan says: “We need a voice product, we need products that work for all of us.”
Jade Lewis – Esthetician and Wellness & Beauty Blogger, states that many companies' success strives from Black communities because they culturally influence what is popular. However, they do not recognize the communities for their progress.
It is important to pay homage to communities and culture the beauty industry has relied on. The rise of the anti-Black racism movement affected the beauty industry.
According to Jade: “You had a lot more people holding the companies and organizations accountable for the voice and platform they have and for not being inclusive.” More companies today are recognizing people of other communities and attempting to be inclusive of all races, gender and identities.
Inclusivity and representation in the industry can offer wellness to help redefine beauty as more than how you look but how you feel. It opens up a better platform for Black individuals in the industry who are affected - with their wellbeing and identities continuously suppressed for years.
The lack of products available for Black individuals has affected their relationship with their body image. Many felt the need to follow a Eurocentric standard of beauty to be recognized.
According to Jade: “You feel like you don’t exist unless you fit a certain mould that is put out there.” It has been an internal struggle for many people with the on-going trauma faced at a young age - of being recognized as too complex and hard to deal with - and so are seen as an outsider through the defined lens of beauty standards.
“Starting with loving yourself and your confidence and feeling good about your insides will reflect your outer appearance,” stated Rayan.
Pushing for more representation and inclusivity in the beauty industry can set the right foundation of beauty, of being in all of us.
:“My Black skin is beautiful. I should be able to be represented in the beauty community; I should be able to go to the store to pick out my collection.” – Rayan Bourne - Creator and Owner, Gleam Beauty.
What are your thoughts about representation and inclusivity in the beauty industry?
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