White skin has been treated as the standard for so long in the US and Europe that only recently have the big makeup labels seriously begun developing products specifically for black and brown women.
Yet even as more brands turn their attention to customers of color, shoppers with darker skin tones can still have difficulty finding shades that match them. Even when the products are out there, it might require serious effort to find them amid the glut of other makeup. Last year, Clover Hope, in Jezebel, described needing a beauty-blogger friend during a trip to Sephora to guide her through the ocean of cosmetics to those few that would work for her.
“The problem I and many other women of color face on a regular basis is surviving that experience again and again, in an industry where makeup is predominantly default white,” she wrote. “This is not a new dilemma at all, as much as it is a constant cycle of exclusion and expected inefficacy with occasional outliers.”
Perhaps that’s why there’s been a rush on the darker shades in Rihanna’s new Fenty Beauty line, which debuted at Sephora on Sep. 8. Before the line launched, Rihanna confirmed it would include 40 different shades of foundation, giving it one of the most diverse color ranges on the market. As The Cut reported, the darker shades have been selling out, and Sephora stores say they have to work fast to keep the products in stock.