ImanI doubt that there is a sane person on Earth that would look at the statuesque Somalian frame of international supermodel Iman and see anything other than a woman that is simply gorgeous, but according to Iman that’s what she and many other models experienced over years in the modeling industry. Despite being hailed Yves Saint-Laurent’s “dream woman” Iman remembers vividly her anger and frustration from the blatant lack of diversity within the beauty industry.

In an article penned for Women’s Wear Daily Iman recounts showing up to photoshoots and being asked if she, a supermodel whose face graced countless runways and magazines, brought her own makeup. The lack of diversity and consideration became too much to bear for the stunning model so in 1994 she jumped into the business side of beauty by creating her own line of products called Iman Cosmetics specially targeted for woman of color. Iman writes:

“It was more than foundations and powders; it was appealing to a deep psychological need that I think all black women needed at that time: to be told that they were beautiful, invited to sit at the cool table and courted in high style.”

Today, nearly 20 years after the launch of Iman Cosmetics Iman feels that major cosmetics brands are still not embracing diversity and fully tapping into multicultural buying power, an unwise business move that she calls “foolish.”

Personally, I’m a makeup virgin, but simply browsing the rows of product at Sephora, M.A.C and department store beauty counters have shown me that Iman is right in saying that major cosmetics brands are not currently in the business of creating products that fully represent the spectrum of shades women of color come in. Beauty is more than just fair, medium and dark and it’s time that brands opened their eyes and embraced the rainbow.


  • apple

    i have hyperpigmentation and its so HARD to find foundation.,..i found a foundation in 2003 and they discontinued it, i still keep the little palette in hope i can find it again.. i don’t even wear foundation because i cant find one for my skin

  • Anon

    James, I won’t pretend I say this with love… ain’t all of us looking to be adopted by a 70 year old man with no family. Particularly one who comes here to scold black women’s romantic and appearance choices with morals and aesthetics of DECADES gone by. Black women are beautiful. We can also be beautiful with eyeliner, lipgloss, blush, eyeshadow, glitter, etc… i.e. whatEVER we choose to adorn ourselves with. Instead of trying to “adopt” black women, why aren’t you MENTORING YOUNG BLACK MEN?????

  • http://Clutch SL

    @Anon, maybe I misread or was reading between the lines with @James. I didn’t take his comment as a “put down” but rather as a compliment. I’ve heard lots of BM who feel like makeup actually detracts from a woman’s natural beauty…..which is not offensive to me. This is just how some of them feel – my husband included, but I still wear makeup cause I like it and I pay them no mind. I was wearing makeup when my husband met me and I will continue as long as it pleases me. How men (or women for that matter) feel about this has no baring in what I choose to do for myself- it’s a non-issue.

  • Anon

    Also, Tonton, I’m a woman. Strange though, after stating how I read Clutch, and calling you out for outlier male behavior, how found my comments to be from a man… … …

  • KissOfDanger

    I know how you feel. Don’t get me started on the concealers.

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