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How Beauty Brands Are Taking Steps to Adequately Appeal to Diverse Audiences

By Ciani Foy, Creative Content Producer

The implementation of diversity – from casting more models of color to expanding the tonal range of foundations – has become a trend for some beauty brands, and a commodity for others. Like all trends, they are destined to dissipate and become fads, but true followers will continue to keep them alive and make a statement. Three brands who are making statements in the beauty industry are Black Opal, Fluide, and Wet N’ Wild. Each brand has a contrasting target audience but their mission remains synonymous – to recognize and celebrate marginalized groups who have been neglected by a white-washed industry.

Black Opal, a makeup and skincare brand, prides itself on its mission of “no matter how unique your shade, your tone, or your heritage, we see you and we celebrate the fire in you.” The inspiration behind Black Opal, founded by Cheryl Burgess and Carol Jackson, was that there was a gap among Ethnic consumers who have a multitude of skin tones and undertones that needed to be filled. Both founders realized that global skin tones go beyond black skin and the large brands are ignoring them. There is a whole other market and consumer base that is being left out of the conversation.

Black Opal’s skincare line primarily addresses two main concerns among women of color which are hyperpigmentation and oiliness. Black Opal’s fade line targets areas of discoloration and helps even skin tone, and their oil-control line helps manage excess sebum production. VP of Sales and Marketing at Black Opal Derek Wanner said, “We’ve always believed in beauty of all cultures and as we grow, we continue to create beauty opportunities for everyone.”

Fluide, a vegan and cruelty free makeup brand, was conceived from a queer perspective for the queer community. Fluide creates products with special significance, naming each one after a famous queer space. The brand that makes “makeup for him, her, them, everyone” supplies a red lipstick named Rosemont after the historic gay bar in Brooklyn and a bright yellow nail polish named Riis beach after the popular queer-friendly beach in New York City. The company also donates five percent of their proceeds to LGBTQIA health and advocacy organizations.

The affordable beauty brand broke barriers in their September 2017 “Breaking Beauty” campaign featuring model Diandra Forrest who has albinism, Valentijn de Hingh, a transgender model and DJ, and Mama Cax, a cancer survivor and amputee activist. Wet N’ Wild made history by casting a model with albinism and making her the face of the makeup campaign. Forrest told Refinery29 that she always hoped to use her voice to represent individuals with albinism, but felt for a long time that there was not a place for her in the fashion industry, as models with albinism had always been depicted as “mythical” or “otherworldly.” Forrest praises Wet N’ Wild for taking a step to normalize a part of her identity. “The more models there are with different looks, the more role models there will be,” said Forrest, “and I think that’s great.”

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