Okay. So, I know that Brothawolf’s blog is not a beauty blog or beauty product review– in fact most black men don’t care about make-up cause they don’t wear it. Yet, it applies to black men in an indirect way because their wives, girlfriends, daughters, mothers and so forth may be dealing with this. My point is to talk about the blatant racism that I have experienced since I have included make-up wearing in my daily routine.
About two years ago for my brother’s high school graduation, I decided to buy a cheap foundation out of Duane Reade by Black Radiance, thinking everyone would remark on how grown up I looked. When I got there–to my old hometown, my mother was horrified. She thought I looked like “an orange freak” using her words. Where did I go wrong?
Anyways, two days later after the post graduate festivities wore off, she kindly drug me to the local Macy’s and the Fashion Fair counter and told the beautifully coiffed and elegantly dressed, more mature black lady to give me a make over. When she finished, it didn’t even look like I had on make-up but a slightly bronzed dewy effect with minimal color and voila! My under eye darkness had disappeared. The lady said my color was Tawny, and for powder, I should follow up with Pecan. So, my mom bought the supplies and skin care the FF lady recommended–said it was making it up to me for something she should have done when I was sixteen.
If it is one thing that I have learned since becoming a Fashion Fair (the largest black-owned cosmetic company in the world founded by Eunice Johnson) customer is that WoC have to deal with racism even in a multi billion dollar industry that should be catering to our needs. When I have to re-buy some products, Macy’s and Belk stores never, ever have promotional deals on Fashion Fair (meaning black women and other brown women have to pay full price for our make-up and skin care). Yet, Clinique, Lancome, Chanel and Estee Lauder (traditional white brands) always have ‘buy two get another free’ or ‘with every 60 dollar purchase receive blah blah blah’.
I also hate to say it, but some of our Black Sisters are aiding in the demise of black owned cosmetic companies by professing an undying dollar devotion to the white brands–such as the ones listed above including the so-called black woman go-to brand Mac. I hear some of the lamest excuses coming from black women online and in real life as to why they don’t “fool” with FF: “It’s so old school”; “I’m not thrilled about their packaging” or “the formulas are too orange.” Now, that last one is a blatant lie as I can attest that Mac foundations look like lifeless brown paint offset with sunset orange thrown in bottles. It’s like they said “you know all black/brown women have orange understones”. And “old school (?)” FF is only 35 years old. The other white brands mentioned have been around in some form or another since the beginning of the last century, with the exception of Mac.
The reason why FF cosmetics was started was because Eunice Johnson couldn’t find the right shades of make-up to fit her models when they would travel the world doing Ebony Fashion Fair shows. That’s pretty darn progressive if you ask me. Each time I go to Macy’s I see the majority of black women giving their money to Mac, Estee Lauder, and others. In fact, two of the three FF counters in my city closed leaving only one, and they just recently fired the beautiful young black lady who sold the products and hired a white lady–well they didn’t exactly fire her, they moved her to Lancome. Sigh! I mean how is this working, because if I recall, it has only been a year since the majority of the white brands started including “darker” shades in their foundation collections? And for the record, black women do not have orange or pink undertones–many of us are light chocolate brown (me!) brown with olive undertones, tan brown, golden brown with flecks of yellow, etc…
So, when will all this craziness end? When Women of Color (WoC) stop supporting brands that do not care for caring for our brown skins in all its delightful hues. I can understand some black women feeling that FFs colors are off for them, but it is our company (Well, I mean it is for us), and we have the dollar power to tell the representatives, and chemists what we like–trust they will listen. We should uplift those who uplift us. FFs latest slogans is “Loving you for 35 years” and “All we do is think about you”. As an aside: Yes Asian, Native American and non-white Latina Sisters, you can wear these products because they are basically formulated for WoC. I have seen many a brown Indian woman buying Fashion Fair.
Stream of consciousness – I know. Yet, it’s another barrier we WoC have to deal with.