Everyone wants to feel represented. It gives us a sense of belonging. When we see a TV commercial, we feel more connected to the story if we can see our reflection stirring back at us. When we go to a beauty store, there would be a much greater need to purchase a product if we see ourselves depicted on those posters and labels. When battling a skin disease that affects mostly one sector of the population, we would feel more confident and feel seen if the beauty industry would address that particular skin condition. Yet, this is often not the case for Black and Brown folks who often feel unwelcomed and unseen as they peruse the aisles of many beauty chain stores. There is a lack of inclusivity in the beauty industry. Society defines beauty based on Eurocentric beauty standards, leaving very little room for meaningful progress.
If we can get past society’s shallow definition of beauty, there is something beautiful within all of us. An inviting smile and a wicked good sense of humor are more beautiful to me than someone who might possess physical attributes that society might deem attractive.
Rest assured, the lack of inclusivity in the beauty industry is just a symptom of the disease and not the disease itself. The idea of European beauty is due to widespread colonialism that began taking root more than 500 years ago. Even in predominantly Black countries, some people prefer to use skin-whitening products marketed by the beauty industry. The reason for this phenomenon is self-loathing. For so long, Black folks have been told they look more like monkeys than humans. Society even defines our humanity based on the Eurocentric Beauty Standards, leaving many of us with no choice but to acquiesce. Sadly, many Black and Brown people are still unwilling, and perhaps, even incapable of recognizing the physical and psychological damages society has wreathed upon us.
Self-acceptance is one way to challenge the lack of inclusivity in the beauty industry. For example, I chose to name my new skincare brand Aging Beautified as a way to challenge the long-standing campaign against the word “aging.” More importantly, Aging Beautified is about empowering, challenging Black and Brown women to see the beauty within themselves irrespective of their age. It is time we stop letting society dictates how we see ourselves. The beauty industry is not in the business of losing money. Should Black folks change their purchasing habits, the change might lead to a more desiring result. The change would compel the beauty industry to focus more on inclusivity.
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