Last week, MAC Cosmetics dropped its latest installment of Riri Hearts MAC, Rihanna’s limited edition collection with the popular global cosmetic brand. Offerings in the Fall 2013 collection, which include the cult favorite Riri Woo and the ever-elusive perfect Nude shade were of special interest to women of color, who sometimes find it a bit more challenging to nail down the perfect picks to compliment their complexions.

Riri Hearts MAC Fall 2013 also includes eyeshadows, liners, blushes and brushes.

Before the 1970s, there were few makeup lines who offered shades for black women; complexion products, such a concealer or foundation, were often made for paler skin tones. Other cosmetics were designed to compliment fairer skin as well. In response, brands like Fashion Fair, which launched in 1973, were started in response to strong customer interest of an overlooked market.

Fast forward twenty years, and additional niche brands like Black Opal, or IMAN Cosmetics, Skincare, and Fragrance, the eponymous company owned by the legendary model, have also emerged and provide black consumers with a wider range of options.

Still, there are some who wonder if black women are getting the brush off from the cosmetic industry.  According to Essence magazine’s 2009 Smart Beauty Research study, Black women spend $7.5 billion annually on beauty products, spend 80 percent more money on cosmetics, and twice as much on skin care products than the general market.

But black women are not just buying the products specifically tailored to them; they are after the larger, prestigious, high-end, aspirational brands, too. Black beauty consumers still face challenges finding the right products because many in the beauty industry still aren’t marketing effectively towards them. Without conversation between the brands and the buyers, many black have come to rely on word of mouth.

And blogs.

Beauty blogging has been a saving grace for many product junkies in the hair and cosmetic worlds, with regular women positioning themselves behind the screen and the lens to give the best consumer information they can for an already captive audience.

But some black beauty bloggers site exclusion even in the realm of review.

“The biggest challenge is trying to stick out in an over saturated niche,” says Aprill Coleman who started her site GlitteryGlossy.com three years ago. “It tends to be painstaking when you’re trying to stay above water when there are so many others. As an African-American blogger, there are brands that don’t represent us at all with their products, and there are others who don’t want to work with us at all, which can be a challenge.”

Without engagement from brands, bloggers have difficult to provide content for readers in a timely way. Without samples, many resort to buying the products themselves, which can be a costly undertaking over time.

Coleman referenced the highly anticipated release of the Riri Hearts MAC Fall 2013 collection as a missed opportunity for the brand to engage with a larger number of black beauty bloggers.

“They say that they have a traffic requirement as to how many hits you have to have to be on their [media list to receive samples]” she said, noting the standard is not applied ”across the board.”

A MAC Cosmetic spokesperson would not disclose the metrics requirement for blogger engagement and product samples, citing that the information was proprietary and confidential.

Still, there’s no denying brand has been consistent in its celebration of black women and has been in ways that many other beauty brands have not. MAC Cosmetics has frequently employed black female pop culture iconography  with individuals (Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, RuPaul, Rihanna) who often throw respectability politics to the wind.

“In addition to being existing or emerging icons in their respective lines of work, they are outspoken, embrace individuality and have a connection to the brand resulting in an authentic partnership,” said the spokesperson.

Authenticity is a large part of dissident media, and according to Patrice Yursik, a pioneer in black beauty blogging, is part of the fabric of the Afrobella.com brand.

“I’ve always embraced my identity as a person with my blog, so I’ve never seen it as a problem, it’s just who I am. So I don’t see me as a black woman being a hindrance. It’s been beneficial because I came out early and I’ve always celebrate the range of skin tones that we come in,” she said. “When I first started it was more challenging because in 2006 people were not really as focused on us. The brands didn’t really have our shades in 2006, and there’s been a recent revolution. [Brands like] MAC, and Bobbi Brown and Fashion Fair – they’ve been doing it all along. But we’re seeing that brands with [just] six shades are losing.”

Since her start in 2006, Yursik has turned her blog into a business, providing  her insight and her pen to various other places around the internet including  AOL Black Voices, Glam Media, and the Italian Vogue site, Vogue Black. She cites work with other brands as a great way for bloggers to boost credibility and elevate their reputation. She stresses good business acumen as key for bloggers who want to get to the next level.

“Work actively to bring [cosmetic companies] to you. For them, it’s really that question of influence. It’s not always necessarily numbers but it’s definitely influence and professionalism and reach.”

But is that enough?

“Years ago I would have said ‘[Black beauty bloggers] need to improve our website layouts and take high quality photos to go with our great content.’” said Krissy H., who started AddictedToAllThingsPretty.com in 2009. “But we’ve done that.  I don’t know what more we can do besides to reach out to brands.  This is why I make it a point to add great women of color bloggers on my blogroll and share their content.  We used to have the notion that if we support [the cosmetic companies] they will support us or if you have really high numbers they’ll support [us]. That’s not the case [...] It comes down to who you know and if that person likes you and your blog. The playing field is a lot different for us and that needs to be understood.  There are too many black beauty bloggers with great quality photos or us to always be overlooked.”

“I think brands are very aware – more aware – of the consumption of women of color,” Yursik said about the beauty industry’s perception of black women at the counters and their computers. “We are the biggest consumers of hair products, of makeup. We stay fly [...] Like I said, it’s a business. So if we are actively voting with our dollars. So they can’t help but get that message.”

  • MimiLuvs

    “..MAC Cosmetics has frequently employed black female pop culture iconography with individuals (Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, RuPaul, Rihanna) who often throw respectability politics to the wind.”

    They also have personalities in which they would fulfill the role of “sassy, fiesty black soul-saver, I mean, girlfriend” that many white women would love to have too.

    “…“We are the biggest consumers of hair products, of makeup. We stay fly [...] Like I said, it’s a business. So if we are actively voting with our dollars. So they can’t help but get that message.”

    You would think that this fact should enough for the cosmetic industry to understand.
    They could also have the mindset of “We don’t care them. They’ll buy anyway. Sure, we might lose some millions but that’s just a drop in the bucket for us.”
    Then, there’s the non-black beauty bloggers/vloggers. As long as they have them…

  • http://myownshero.com Briana Myricks

    This is pretty interesting. I follow a few black beauty bloggers and I wouldn’t have ever known what they go through as far as getting brands to recognize and work with them behind the scenes. I don’t wear makeup but I would like to start, so having these ladies do most of the trial and error for me is a huge blessing. Keep rocking it ladies!

  • OhStLaw

    I have to say that I was extremely upset when Rihanna came out because they were NO gurus on youtube that were black that had early swatches and I knew hibiscus kiss wasn’t going to work on my skintone and was unsure of Bad Girl Gone Good, and the white bloggers just said “this is for darker skinned women” and barely swatched or didn’t even swatch at ALL!

  • Deal-n-Truth

    The actions of the cosmetic brands that many of these bloggers are complaining about are showing them by their actions that they’re not interested in them. How hard is it for them to see? And since they’re not willing to work with them, then they need to support the brands who do, it’s that simple.

    There are some high-end brands that do include women of darker skin tones in their product choices, but it’s as if many of these beauty bloggers ignore them and keep begging for recognition from the ones who ignore them.

    Why are most black women martyrs when it comes to being excluded from the mainstream and will take abuse from people who have shown them that they do not like them and why is it so important to be included when people have shown them that you do not exist? Why?

    We know that the world is globalized in many aspects, but the standard of beauty is still European in origin and it would be best if many of women of African descent learn to love and embrace their own beauty features and self-define their own beauty rituals.

    In other words, we finance and maintain racist institutions in this world with our money, because we are only consumers and nothing else. Either create a better product or support the brands that are already in the niche market. Major brands are looking for influence and they’e targeting the bloggers who they feel have the best reach and market influence. Remember, it’s always about dollars and cents, and nothing else.

  • JRM

    Really interesting article. I believe that some black women try to fit into the mould of the bigger brands instead of embracing the brands that cater to black women, like IMAN and black Opal as mentioned in the article. If a company is not interested in catering to my unique skintone then they sure as hell aint getting my money. I am really biased to medium end brands like MAC and Bobbi Brown when it comes to foundation because although they don’t have to, they still cater to black women of all undertones and shades. I see brands like Maybelline and L’Oreal trying to cater to women of color but they still have a long way to go with getting the exotic shades right. Covergirl has done well with the Queen Collection.

  • apple

    its not just beauty section.. its even fashion bloggers.. there are top black fashion bloggers yet the only people getting deals are the whites, asians and some hispanics, people have made large careers off of just making a blogs because companies were willing to send them free stuff (while paying them to talk about it) and advertisement from big places. i read about the struggle for black bloggers in general and that people don’t reach out to them… beauty blogging (especially in youtube) can build you a career where you make 100k to 1 million a year (see Michelle Phan) just by doing tutorials.. i think why there aren’t getting the deals is they see brown skin as “other”.. i suppose an asian,hispanic,white person can follow almost the same tutorial based on skin tone but in their eyes they will look at ours and not even bother to click because they feel they can’t relate. those black bloggers are getting jipped on really great deals for the future (to riches, opportunity,their own make up/fashion lines) , and thats sad

  • BeanBean

    Very interesting article. I would like someone to research why black women spend more on cosmetics than the average population, when there are less products that are targeted towards us. I’ve never visited a black beauty blog, but I would like to. Does anyone know a website that’s sort of a data base for black beauty blogs???

  • SayWhat

    I lay the blame st the feet of the celebrities who endorse this stuff without asking how many bloggers are benefiting.

    It’s the old ‘uncle Ben” trick, stick a black face on a product to sell it.

  • Yb

    “They also have personalities in which they would fulfill the role of “sassy, fiesty black soul-saver, I mean, girlfriend” that many white women would love to have too.”

    Ummm what? I didn’t know the careers of lil kim, Nicki Minaj, Rupaul, and Rihanna revolved around white women’s need to have a black best friend. Each of these individuals appear to be their own person, but themselves first. What are you talking about?

  • lea

    that goes for everything, even drug testing for medications on the market rarely include people of color , or they include a smaller cohort of people that do not fully represent the diversity among african americans, which are not effective in the long run. some people wonder why they spend money on something that is not working, because it was not intended to work for them.

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    A few brands of interest:

    NARS – a very high-end company that has colors for all skin tones (from Morticia Addams chalk complexion to Alek Wek’s complexion). In fact, Francois Nars even used Alek Wek is his beauty campaigns back in the day (late 90s). Even to this day, this company employs many minorities for ad campaigns (it helped that Francois Nars was a make-up artist for the runways)

    Black Up – Very high end makeup company catered to women of color. This company is sold all over the world. In fact, I think you can walk into any Sephora in France and find this brand there. This brand is especially popular in Africa, Middle East and the Caribbean. When I went to Bermuda this summer, I stocked up on foundation and lipstick from the Black Up counter. I asked the sales lady why was this line not being sold in the US anymore? Her response? The name of the company caused a political firestorm in the US. Shame. It’s a very good brand that sells like hot cakes around the world! I found out about this brand in Essence (before they sold out to Time Warner). I dunno about the political firestorm story but I do know Black Up was in fierce competition with Fashion Fair.

    Smashbox – has foundation shades to match every single skin tone. They do have a few ad campaigns with minorities in it.

    Makeup Forever – a brand that has every single complexion foundation you can think of! They do mainly cater to runway makeup artists and those in film/TV hence the varying foundations (powder to body foundation). Can buy at Sephora. They have featured a few minorities in their ad campaigns.

    Fashion Fair – good company but they only advertise in Ebony. I am not sure about their global sales, but in the US they are still going strong. I don’t recall many big name celebs endorsing their brand though. I could be wrong as I have not picked up Ebony magazine since…..heck I don’t even remember!

    If anyone wants to blog about those brands please do. I think too much hype is thrown at MAC (an Estee Lauder company).

  • lil ray

    Yep if the celebrities stop being scared and or selfish speak out more on these type of issue change will happen.

  • http://gravatar.com/jenettaangel jenettaangel_passionandlove

    On another note, MAC cosmetics and other major products have horrible junk in it. Our skin is the biggest organ of our body. Why would anyone want to put all that stuff on? If I can’t pronounce the first 5 ingredients without stuttering, there’s a problem. I was informed about the harsh chemicals used in make up on this site, that includes titanium dioxide.

  • Eyes Wide Shut


    ITA 100%. Maybe someone can can get investments going for a all natural make-up line that caters to women of color (I am thinking the Bare Minerals version to Fashion Fair but better).

    There are a couple of makeup lines that are free of titanium dioxide, talc, etc. that have shades for women of color. One that comes to mind is Afterglow Cosmetics (they are superior to Bare Minerals in every way)

    You have Bite Beauty (they don’t make foundations just lipstick and glosses for now). 100% natural. Some of their makeup colors pop! Sadly they only have a handful of colors that can compliment black women.

    Jouen cosmetics have makeup shades to compliment many women of color (especially their lipsticks). Their line doesn’t contain many of the junk that you will find in the bigger brands.

    You know Clutch should do an article about all natural and organic cosmetic lines for women of color (I know they are out there!!!! Somewhere!)

  • apple

    We also spend the most on hair products (which i guess is beauty too right?) …for everyone 1 dollar a black woman spends on hair, everyone else only has to pay 4 cent.

    one clue maybe trying to find the right product.. i had to go thru several makeup companies to find the right color foundation.. and it took years

    i think the nielsen stats may tell you the reason behind the stats

  • http://chasingmoe.com Moe

    I think most companies are biased to brown bloggers PERIOD.

    I had a company contact me, wanting me to do a write up about them on my old blog. Post an ad with a coupon code….and that was it. Basically, they wanted me to do a feature post, for nothing in return. No product, or payment, nothing.

    While I have a blogger buddy, who had the same company contact her and it was a completely different story. Our stats were also comparable, so it’s not like one of us was really doing any better than the other.

    Talk about SHADE.

  • Common Sense

    I get what you are saying, although you did not say it very well. I think black bloggers need to advertise more, because I am sure there are millions of you out there, but I don’t know who you are. IF I don’t stumble across you while online or hear about you from someone else, I won’t know who you are.

    And as for companies who act as though black women do not exist, we need to act as though they don’t exist. Just that simple. Why give them money, when they could care less about you?!?!?!?! Just that simple.

  • CommonSense

    I’ll tell you why BeanBean, because we are trying to find the RIGHT colors! Because it is almost rocket science trying to find a foundation that matches our skin tone, and once we get it home, or out in the sunlight, we see that we failed yet again. That is why we spend so much, because we are trying to get it right!

  • CommonSense

    Perhaps all of the Black Bloggers need to unite and send a letter to those companies and let them know how much black women spend on makeup. Let them know that you exist and then if that does not work, BOYCOTT!!!!! It is just that simple!!!!!

  • http://gravatar.com/nubiahbella Nubiahbella

    How come we spend 80% more on cosmetics than other races of women????? Does this study include weave lol? is that even a real study or just some numbers thrown at us? Estee Lauder , L’Oreal etc didn’t become billionaire with our money

    As I have said before Black women ( not all) do not like to buy products made by other Black Folks, there is a feel it would be less good than the White ones ( and they want to brag like their non-black counterparts about the latest hot thing talk about in White targeted media).

    Why are bloggers not promoting Black “brands”, they have done so with natural hair
    products, WE have made natural/curly hair care what it is today, they (mainstream brand) all want now a part of the cake !!!!!

    By supporting our own and making our own millionaires other mainstream brands will follow as simple as that.

    I am also confused , how Rihanna, Beyonce or any Black celebrities being the face of White brands are seen relatable by women of every races because believe it or not Rihanna Mac campaigns are not targeted to only ( if at all) dark skinned consumers.

  • http://gravatar.com/nubiahbella Nubiahbella

    Black UP has so many good products; I am confused why why there was an uproar because Black UP was just a play on words with Make up really ( it could be literally be translated by dark skin make up), to me it was very obvious and the founder of the brand did say so.

  • Kaeli

    Also 100% pure. I’m in the process of switching to all natural, vegan, gluten free make up and it is hard finding foundation. Thanks for the recommendations I will check out these brands.

  • MimiLuvs

    “What are you talking about?”


    I am referring to the fact that those women do (unintentional or not) have the (on-stage or not)personalities of the “sassy, black friend” that white women to be entertained by, especially if they can’t find the stereotypical white “fiesty, gay man”. I don’t find it to be a coincidence that they chose to ask those women rather than… I don’t know… Esperanza Spalding, Alicia Keys, Viola Davis (they do have actresses who are older as spokespeople), etc.
    Cosmetic companies might used them as spokespeople, but I don’t believe that it is to bring in more black people as customers. Black women buying their products because Nicki Minaj/RuPaul/Beyonce(even she is not exempt ever since she has the ‘Sasha Fierce’ persona)/Rihanna is a spokesperson is an “added plus”.

  • sageh

    I think black beauty bloggers need to be more proactive about putting their product out for consumption, and when they do, it needs to be quality. For example, I LOVE makeup and want to see photos and reviews of it on someone who looks like me, but when I use the search term “black beauty blog” very few results come up. Also, when I do find one, it is not updated regularly. And I find they are not always the quality of other bloggers. Bloggers, please pay for the bandwidth for your site to load quickly. Please make it able to be optimized on a mobile device. Please know about the products you write about (example, one of the bloggers quoted in this article does not know the true shade range of a foundation she reviewed. She said she is the darkest color when there are several darker shades in the range – I am one of those shades. How am I supposed to trust anything she says after that? I also won’t recommend her blog for this reason.) Honestly I find the most help on forums with like-minded people. I don’t look for black bloggers to keep me up on stuff – they don’t even publish information that is readily available for non-insiders.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    YES! My friend and I was just talking about this, we both noted that there isn’t really a highly rated popular black youtube beauty guru compare to the Michelle Phan, Dolce Candy, or the Fowler sisters that are littered all over youtube. The only popular black gurus I can think of are the natural hair ones. That is why I took a hiatus from Youtube because I follow a variety of fashion/beauty gurus and you can clearly see the distinction that is offer to the black beauty gurus compared to the nonblack gurus. Like you said, I follow the girls who are started out simply but started raking in the big bucks to live in million dollar condos and buy this and that while some of my favorite black gurus isn’t offer the same opportunity to increase their revenue. Sad thing is that there are a lot of talented black fashion/makeup bloggers/vloggers but they aren’t advertised as much or given the opportunity to get put on as others have stated they need to unit and start calling these brands and companies out because they only shouldn’t be catered too when these brands/companies only want a niche in the black community. Finally, as for brands using black spokespeople or models I don’t even bothered looking because 9 times out of 10 they are there just as a face and nothing more.

  • Lydia

    Who are you referring to?

  • Leo

    Whether they have a black celebrity fronting the product or not, we don’t have to buy it. Celebrities don’t determine my consumer choices, since I don’t follow hype.

    As consumers we have choices and regardless of the situation, we’re ignored and we still buy products from the brands that ignore us.

  • http://confessionsofacurvygirl.wordpress.com confessionsofacurvygirl

    If cosmetics for Black women are barely being made, how would boycotting really help?

  • http://www.eatstyleplay.com Elle @ (Eat.Style.Play)

    To the ppl saying Brown Bloggers need to put out quality product. We have been there and done that and have better stats/photos/layouts/and consistency, these brands don’t want to speak on why they don’t want to work with Brown bloggers. They simple have no love for us, and this is brand in general.

  • Leo

    Shaming these brands isn’t really going to work. Black women in general need to learn the art of reciprocity and stop blindly supporting individuals and their products who have no desire to support them. Do for self and the money will follow.

  • http://confessionsofacurvygirl.wordpress.com confessionsofacurvygirl

    I recently saw a tutorial by a Black beauty guru that showed that other ethnicity could learn a lot from Black beauty gurus. It was interesting. Perhaps makeup techniques are more universal than people think.

  • Leo

    “The most successful individual is the individual who creates a product that no one else has.”

    Don’t see the exclusive product out here on the market, then create your own. That’s what Kickstarter is for if you lack the funds or work together on a business plan to create that exclusive product that doesn’t exist.

    I like any brand that appeals to me, sans the hype or without the so called BB expert. MUA Melissa Hibbert is new to the high-end market by creating her own brand, check out her brand. Maybe this blog post really is basically a rant about folks not receiving free products or recognition.

    I see this complaining with the Brown Beauty posts too, folks on Twitter are also a mirror of our society, if they don’t deal with you in the real world, it’s the same in the tech-world and the majority of you will still support them.

  • SayWhat

    I get what you’re saying, but the truth of the matter is that it would not dawn on most people that they would use a woman of color as the face of their product and not even send samples to bloggers who look like those women.

    I think if more people knew that, some would have thought twice about buying the product. And i’d like to think that if the celebrities knew that, they would demand that companies spread the love.

  • http://lashicmondrellsmiles.blogspot.com/ LaShic Mondrell

    I very much appreciate this article. I’m a new Fashion, Beauty, & Loc Hair Care Blogger and launched my blog in July. I post once a day, Monday through Saturday. I think the two toughest things for any black blogger is getting comments and being consistent. It’s a catch 22 because you don’t get comments without consistency, but it’s hard to be motivated to post without getting that engagement. And, I don’t want comments just for the sake of it, but I want actual honest feedback be it positive or negative; long term online interactions is my main goal because black beauty and fashion bloggers have to support each other.

    If we don’t support us, who else will? And, honestly, I feel more warm and fuzzy when I’m acknowledged by my own versus other races. It just feels really good.

    You have to really love writing and the topics that you cover, or it can be really easy to give up. It’s always a bummer when I found black beauty and fashion bloggers, but then, they begin to post less and less frequently.

    I started my blog because as many beauty and fashion blogs that exist that I follow, I still wasn’t finding myself in the blogs that I was reading. Black women with locs are very underrepresented or not represented at all for that matter not just in magazines like Vogue, Elle, and People Style Watch but also even in black magazines that I support as well as in social media like You Tube and that. So, I started it just to bring balance with my own platform.

    And, also, while I understand wanting things to be fair, I very much wish that black beauty and fashion bloggers would seek out support from lines like Fashion Fair that cater to black women. I use their blushes and love it! I also love Bare Minerals a lot because I have sensitive skin. MAC foundation and powders break me out in acne and hives, so I tend to stick with their lipsticks and eye color. I use their concealer but just under my eye or on my lid as a primer.

    For eye colors, eyeliners, and lip colors, I prefer Inglot, Nars, NYX, Maybelline, and even Wet & Wild has come out with really great lip colors. So, I don’t really get all of the hype around MAC. Any who, great piece; it motivates me to keep a blogging.

  • The Comment

    I have a Bloglovin account which helps me hit every black blogger make up site known to woman. I will leave a comment just to let a sistah know that I appreciate her site. But it would be nice if they replied back. I’m not sure if that is the role of a cosmetic blogger though.

  • sageh

    I agree with this comment about getting a response. That is a good way to have engagement with your readers and to let them know you read/moderate the comments.

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    I totally agree. I’ve hardly ever seen any mention of Black Up cosmetics, Fashion Fair or Black Opal or any others that I didn’t know about but would like to.

  • http://www.addictedtoallthingspretty.com Krissy H.

    Fashion Fair does not have much of a PR or online social media presence. I know social media experts that’s reached out to them and it doesn’t go anywhere. We’ve reached out to them before but it’s pointless. I still love their products and blog about them:-).

  • http://www.addictedtoallthingspretty.com Krissy H.

    It can be 1 PR rep that isn’t fond of your work that makes that final decision. Also keep in mind, PR reps change. The last rep may not like you and the next one can love you. It wouldn’t be fair to readers, yourself, or the brand to exclude them.

  • http://www.addictedtoallthingspretty.com Krissy H.

    I blog about those brands and many of the one you named work with brown beauty bloggers :-)
    NARS and MUFE reach out to many women of color bloggers.

  • http://www.addictedtoallthingspretty.com Krissy H.

    I’m curious as well. All listed get a nice amount of traffic and great loading time to account for the traffic.
    It’s highly possibly that that last shade was indeed her shade at her local store or the brand released additional shades later…case in point L’oreal True Match. They added 5 or more shades after their first release.
    Covergirl also has varying shades as the darkest shade as the darkest available in different areas and stores.
    I don’t think you should find someone distrustworthy because of their personal experience.

  • Tina L

    I think Fashion Fair developed a bad reputation back in the day when their makeup counter people had you looking like a clown when you left the counter. On the other hand, people always talk about what a great experience it is to have your face done at the Mac counter.

  • Tina L

    I think the average consumer sees the face of the black person in the ads as the company’s attempt to reach out to women of color with an expanded range. I don’t think whether a company is supplying sample to black beauty bloggers even enters the equation because it’s not something that people really know about and makeup is even more individualized than hair when you’re looking for someone like you who can provide useful advice.

  • http://www.ondolady.com/ Ondo Lady

    I am based in the UK and I have a lifestyle blog which covers beauty and I was actually thinking about this a few months back. The engagement with bloggers of colour is not always there with some PRs. Some do it very well and are very inclusive but there are a few beauty brands who will run a blogger outreach campaign but not include one singe blogger of colour. I find this very frustrating especially when that brand has a multi million advertising campaign with a high profile black model or have made a song and dance about producing products for women of colour it is kind of crazy not to include us. It is just mad to me that the PR will not actively seek bloggers of colour to feature it on their platforms. I think a lot of it is ignorance, for instance I dealt with a PR who doing blogger outreach for a top beauty brand and it was so obvious that they had no inkling of which bloggers to approach to write about the new product. Then on the other hand you have brands like Sleek who started out totally catering for women of colour but since they rebranded and became mainstream they have totally cut us out. Bloggers of colour do put themselves out there and do constantly email PRs to let them know that they are here but ultimately it is up t the PR who they use. On a positive note we run a Twitter discussion called #brownbeauty where we discuss beauty issues that affect women of colour. It takes place at 8pm GMT. Join us.

  • Lynette

    This article really intrigued me because I have been following fashion and beauty bloggers for quite a while. Back in the day, bloggers did so because they loved what they were doing and they purchased all the products that they reviewed. The past 4-5 years is when the blog world exploded and some bloggers were scoring cosmetic collaborations, book deals and making big advertising bucks. But those deals have been given to an exclusive few, no matter what color the bloggers were. Quite a few bloggers came in on the tail end of that explosion with the expectations that they would be receiving the same kind of swag and endorsements that the long term bloggers had been getting. I am not so sure that the expectations of some of the newer bloggers are realistic.

    What kind of perplexes me is that there are so many cosmetic companies that are/were created by/for women of color. Many have been mentioned previously, BlackUp, Iman, Fashion Fair and Black Opal. There’s also Sleek Cosmetics(another UK line), Vasanti (created by Canadian based South East Asian women), I was sad when their line was dropped by Ulta because I bought quite a few of their items and nothing failed to flatter my skintone. I-Iman was the higher end line created by Iman was carried in Sephora and it was dropped due to lack of sales-there were some excellent products in that line. Sephora had her line featured front and center in store placement and I would see black women sail right past her display to go to the Dior and NARS counters. Regardless of how some of us may view Kimora Lee Simmons-she also had a line that was carried by Sephora. I happened upon her items at a TJ Maxx store when her line ceased production-while I was not happy with the foundation that I got, I loved the lipsticks, glosses and blushes that I purchased. Another line was Zalia, a Latin line which accurately covered a wide spectrum of skin tones. I never saw any of those lines get any love from the Black beauty bloggers and I’ve often wondered if those lines would still be in production if more bloggers of color had been paying attention to them. I don’t see much love given to Fashion Fair, Black Radiance (yes it’s a drugstore brand, but the products are great for the price point) or any of the other lines mentioned, While I don’t expect Black bloggers to exclusively review lines created for and by women of color, I think part of the solution would be to stop chasing solely after the mainstream brands and give some of the mentioned lines more shine.

  • http://www.ondolady.com/ Ondo Lady

    I think brands like Fashion Fair and Iman do not get the love from bloggers of colour because their blogger relations strategy is not there yet. I am sure Fashion Fair is working on that.

  • sageh

    It’s not about personal experience – it is about knowledge of your subject. Regardless of the shade of your skin or what is available at your local store (they blog – they have access to the internet too, and thus complete and accurate information to pass on), if you hold yourself out as a subject matter expert, I expect you to be one. If I worked for a cosmetics company and it was my business to know cosmetics, I would not want to hire / someone representing my line who was not knowledgeable. I was simply saying in that case I understood why brands were not working with her.

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    OMG!! Your comment just gave me a flashback that I had TOTALLY forgotten about. It was my senior year and a classmate and I decided to go downtown to get our makeup done to see how we would look for prom. My classmate was light skinned and very pretty. Me? Pretty and brown skinned. The man did my classmate’s face first, complimenting (colorstruck) her skin, hair (wavy) and eyes (she was wearing green contacts). He worked on her face like he was Michaelangelo. Me? I got no comments and I looked like I should’ve went straight to the corner for a “date”. Luckily for prom night, I did my own damn makeup and I looked fantastic and my prom went fantastic.

  • http://lashicmondrellsmiles.blogspot.com/ LaShic Mondrell

    I completely agree. Just me personally, I think it’s rude when bloggers don’t reply back. I understand personal issues like deaths in the family, computer crashes, and health scares, but even if someone gets 1,000 comments a day, I think responding with an overall comment thanking everyone or getting an assistant or intern to comment and handle social media interaction is just social media etiquette 101.

  • http://lashicmondrellsmiles.blogspot.com/ LaShic Mondrell

    That’s disheartening to learn. I also think that they’ve started carrying less of their products in stores like Dillards, which is where I buy their products. I’m hoping that they get a PR and social media overhaul and don’t completely fade out. I’m going to check out your blog because not many people review Fashion Fair.

  • MS29

    What about Destiny Godley on YT? She has lots of makeup/skincare tutorials for dark skin.

  • http://gravatar.com/ceecollegegal CeeCee

    Honestly, I feel like natural hair-care blogs are superior to most brown beauty blogs.

    I’ve learned how to make my own lotion, soap, make candles, and cook grilled salmon.

    I love beauty and fashion, but some of these brown beauty bloggers just stink.

    I have noticed that a lot of brown beauty bloggers only talk about white beauty product lines. I would love to read more about BlackUp, Black Opal, Fashion Fair, Iman, and more.

    For instance, BlackUp has a loose powder, what’s that about? I would love to see a demonstration about how to utilize this product instead of reading about it on BlackUp’s website. Also, what are the advantages and disadvantages of wearing BlackUp’s full coverage foundation versus their fluid foundation?

  • http://www.ondolady.com/ Ondo Lady

    A lot of people are put off by the name, Black-Up. Also I have heard a few beauty bloggers and customer complain about their customer service at the counters. Moreover they seem to be invisible – I have emailed them two or three times for information and never got a reply. I would love to know more about some of these brands too but I can only do so they meet me half way.

  • http://gravatar.com/ceecollegegal CeeCee

    So true, I have heard a few negative things about Black Opal too. I just wish these black cosmetic companies would do more to get out their products to the black public. lol

  • Kimmie Gee

    *rolls eyes* I really don’t think that cosmetic companies are “biased” towards brown beauty bloggers.Money sees no color; if these corporations notice that a certain blog has a lot of reach, visibility, and clout, I’m absolutely positive that they wouldnt hesitate advertise with said brown blogger.

    It’s not always about race.Plus, I think this is just about brown bloggers whining that they’re not getting enough free stuff and sponsorships. You’re going to have to do a little bit more to stick out…like the author said, blogging is an over-saturated industry. You need to do what you can to catch their eye.

  • WhatIThink

    First a history lesson. All cosmetics originate in Africa from face painting, to skin protection, skin care, creams, ointments, soap, hair colors, hair styling and so forth. Many of your ingredients come from Africa as well, such as aloe and shea butter. So why on earth are Africans the only people so desperate to imitate and emulate those who have only stolen their ideas and have shown them clearly that they don’t admire or respect black people, their history or traditions.

    And for real though, most of these black beauty bloggers are trying too hard to be whites in black face rather than promoting their own beauty standard and identity as black women. They believe that if they try hard enough and straighten their hair enough or wear enough white fashion and cosmetics that they will be accepted as white folks. Sorry the truth is that you wont and they don’t really want you promoting them and their identity because white people can promote white fashion and beauty better than black folks.

    But it is sad that black folks are still having this identity crisis and treating fake hair and fake nails and fake everything as a badge of honor. That is why black folks are spending more money than everyone on cosmetics and beauty. They are trying overcompensate for being on the bottom of the social and economic ladder rejected by the larger society because of skin color. But no matter how you try and cover it up and straighten it out, you are still a curly headed black woman and everybody knows it and they still reject your for it.

    Once black people get it through their thick skulls that black people have no friends they will start acting like they got sense, save their money and use it to build their own.

  • Lyla

    Rhianna definitely looks beautiful here along with her lipstick and makeup. The color combo really soothes her skin tone.

  • http://www.luxurybrownbeauty.com Tiyana

    Great feedback. Duly noted!

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