Today on Instagram I learned that a lot of people now believe that Lorac Cosmetics is “racist.” No, they have not accidentally dropped the N-word or openly appropriated black culture. In fact, most of the debate stems not from any sort of offensive inclusion of blackness, but on the exclusion of blackness from their new foundation line. While the debate is heated and often eye-roll inducing, I can ultimately say that I am quite pleased.
The debate is primarily concentrated on this post featuring a model with swatches of the 8 shades of their new Sheer POREfection Foundation which appears to only carry 2 shades geared more-so towards those of us with more melanin in our skin. In all honesty, I am past the point of being disheartened as Lorac’s most expansive foundation line includes a “whopping” 10 shades and the “perfect transition color” from their Pro Matte Smokey Eye Tutorial looks a bit like ash when I put it in my crease. Based on these experiences, I am not saying that I knew that their new foundation launch would not include a lot of black and brown friendly shades, but…let’s be real: I was not expecting them to launch a lot of black and brown friendly shades.
And, as previously stated, I am pleased with the drama. While, there is nothing positive about loving to invest in makeup products and not being able to because they are made without you in mind, there is something positive about beauty fans engaging in meaningful conversations. I was so hype to try a Benefit foundation after hearing one of my favorite YouTubers talk about it, but could not buy it because they did not have my shade. I was really excited to buy and review the Too Faced Born This Way Foundation when it first launched, but never purchased it because I knew that any reader darker than me would not be able to try it because they did not have their shade. As a black woman I have become conditioned not to expect my shade range to be included in a foundation’s launch, unless said launch comes from a company with “black” in its title. Black people come in all different shades of darkness and lightness and many times a great deal of us are completely excluded from enjoying new foundations because our shade has yet to be created. My black friends often ask me to help them choose the right foundation color or lament to me about being improperly shade matched by the artists at various counters and I often wonder, if this problem happens to so many of us, then why isn’t it t more broadly discussed?
For this reason, Instagram commenters, I salute you. You have continued to bring meaningful conversation to social media, and though your use of the term “racism” is overzealous and some of your opinions are a little wild (and others are flat out offensive) I am more than happy to see this challenge to the status quo. Continue to ask questions be it on why foundation launches are so limited, the truth behind consumer trends, and why so many of your fellow beauty lovers continue to reach for a comparison between brands like Black Opal and Too Faced, Maybelline, or Lorac. Let 2016 not be the year that we continue to hide behind explanations of the present condition, but let it be the year that we continue to push for what the near future can be.
*Note: This post does not exist as an attack on Lorac Cosmetics or any other mentioned brand. The original Unzipped Eyeshadow Palette is my 1 true makeup love and they are the creators of my favorite lipstick. This is simply a commentary on the themes emerging on the public responses to their recent Instagram post.