Growing up, I rarely saw a reflection of myself in beauty industry ads. I found it discouraging that most of the products I used were created by people who didn’t look like me or understand me.
Like many women of color, one of my first memories with makeup wasn’t exactly a happy one. I was a junior in college at Howard University and had decided it was time to buy my own foundation. Before college, I attended an all-girls high school in New Orleans and I rarely wore makeup. If I did, it was for a special occasion and it was something my mom had picked out for me.
So, I walked into Sephora, beaming with confidence. I told the consultant I needed help finding my shade in foundation and that I had worn NARS and Bobbi Brown in the past. She began testing different colors from different brands on my hand. They were all wrong – I mean all wrong. Some were too dark, too light and just not right. She ended up convincing me that we had found my match and I went home ready to slay my face. When I painted on my new foundation, I looked in the mirror and was horrified. I thought to myself, how could she possibly think this was my shade? I looked as though I had dipped my face in caramel mixed with sriracha sauce. I returned to Sephora three more times before finally finding my color — NARS Tahoe Medium Dark 2 to be exact. It was in that moment that I truly felt something had to change.
Fast forward to 2019, more and more people of color are launching brands for people of color. It’s about time.
So this seemed like the perfect moment to take a deep dive and research just how far the beauty industry has come in the past decade, and quite honestly I was shocked by the progress.
Not only have brands like NARS and MAC introduced a plethora of additional foundation and concealer shades, but entrepreneurial black women have demanded their seat at the table and have launched their own lines that directly cater to WOC’s needs. In the Hinted list attached here, you’ll find my favorite products that I swear by and some brands that I recently discovered. The selections are perfect for summer. By the time you try these, you’ll be praising your melanin — because beauty should make you feel more comfortable in your skin, not convince you to fit into someone else’s idea of what “natural” looks like.
Rihanna truly changed the game when she announced she was coming out with a makeup line. The original PROFILTR foundation launch included an unprecedented 40 shades and has since expanded to 50. According to Fenty Beauty’s website, the singer was inspired to step into the makeup world after “seeing a void in the industry for products that performed across all skin types and tones.” She filled this void by launching Fenty “so that women everywhere would be included.”
I fell in love with lip gloss at an early age and have remained a fan. However, I find it so hard to find a simple clear gloss, so when Rihanna came out with Pro Kiss’r Luscious Lip Balm I was sold. The product not only hydrates and nourishes my lips but it gives me a natural shine.
I recently have become obsessed with highlighter. The look of being sun-kissed and glowing just makes me feel so confident. Fenty Beauty’s Body Lava allows me to translate the radiance of my face highlighter to my entire body. While I don’t use this everyday, it definitely enhances all of my vacation looks or night out ensembles.
Kristen Crawley is the definition of a girlboss. She’s a mom, wife, jewelry designer, influencer and beauty icon.
She started her brand with just lip masks, which soon took over.
“Our lips are the most neglected part of our face when it comes to beauty,” Crawley told Violet Grey. The simple soft pink mask doesn’t require a lot of effort and can be applied while in an Uber or right before bed. The success of the beauty hack has propelled her to launch more products — the eye mask.
The Star Eye mask is ideal if you’re trying to reduce puffiness, bags, or overall stress put on your eyes due to work and other stressors. Just like the lip mask, the eye mask can easily be put on before a big night out or right before a quick power nap.
PAT McGRATH LABS
All hail Queen Pat. If you haven’t heard of this makeup legend by now then you’re doing something wrong. She is most known for her editorial makeup looks, creating concepts for Fashion weeks across the globe, magazine covers and more.
Her brand, Pat McGrath Labs is now valued at $1 billion after only 3 years, according to Women’s Wear Daily.
The further I get into adulthood, the more daring I am with my looks. I am loving McGrath’s Mothership Subliminal Palette as it comes in fun shades like electric blue.
Robyn Merrett lives in LA and serves as Hinted’s Contributing Fashion Editor.