Why Don’t They Have My Shade? Inside the Aisles of America’s Drugstore

Growing up in American suburbia has its disadvantages. Sometimes, the quiet countryside is relaxing and refreshing, and life seems uncomplicated and easy-going. Everybody’s familiar with each other, yet you’ll never really meet them.

Occasionally, you’ll see the old man down the street, with his American flag planted in the front yard, arguing about something or the other. They say America is the land of opportunity, but in a lot of ways, it’s not.

Most immigrants, usually people of colour, have an unusually difficult time adjusting in rural America. With the cliché of the suburban outskirts, most would imagine the KKK or white supremacists, and rednecks with guns. With recent outbreaks of these radicals, the extremes of this are true. Even for immigrants and women of colour, it’s psychologically worse.

With a trend in LGBTQ, feminism, and self-love expressed so vividly through social media, society has evolved from their differences and made racism a thing of the past. But is that really true today? Many African models still carry their own foundation and makeup to sets, because most makeup artists fail to have their shade. Why are there no available commodities for women of colour? And this holds true of drugstore beauty in the backwoods of America.

With metropolitan cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Miami, tints and shades of colours like “caramel” or “ebony” are in abundance, while cities like Lawrence, Kansas, a rural town in the south, have little to no shades for women of colour. The reason why is shocking. Upon observations and discussions on the matter, many family-owned businesses avoid carrying products targeted towards people of colour because of discrimination. Many Americans in rural parts of the country are afraid of minorities, and black people are stereotyped with an assumption of their lifestyle.

The fact that most drugstore beauty brands do not stock colours for darker skin is a common trend and a big problem for the American market. The trend is the bigger problem. Balanda Atis, a scientist from L’Oréal USA, admits, “While brands might succeed in making darker shades, they didn’t always get the undertones or the depth right [in mixing pigments]. Some chemists mix in too much black pigment, which can leave skin looking bruised.”

MAC is also another contender in fine-tuning women’s perfect match foundations, with MAC makeup artists identifying and observing every skin tone they come in contact with. These are some of the prominent advances in technology for people of colour. The importance here is that women of colour are not all the same colour, and dark skin is not irrelevant, and never will be. It’s time conservative America accepts transformation and each another.


Words: Aparna Nethaji


Hashtags: #racism #ebony #fair #minorities #geography #drugstorebeauty #beauty #skintone #foundation #profiling


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