Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Black Cosmetics: Great Strides & Great Failures

You guys know I love my membership at sites like SheSpeaks and BzzAgent. Like anyone, I enjoy getting to find out about and try new products, not to mention how much fun I get in telling you guys about them!

Here comes the "But" part of this post...

I am really disappointed that, among items featured on these "try-and-tell" sites, there are not more cosmetics and hair products suited for black women. If you ask me (and, yes, I know you didn't), the companies who produce products for black women are really missing out. (And when I talk about these products, I don't care whether or not they are black-owned or produced; I'm strictly talking from an end-user perspective here.)

When the BB creams became so mainstream popular that everyone and their cousin jumped on the train, I missed out. I'm still sitting in the station, waiting for a BB cream to come along that won't make me look two shades of ashy.

Now, here's the thing, I did a quick search of BB creams for black women. There are quite a few out there, but only a handful that come in a greater variety of shades.

BlackUp has some shades so beautiful, they make me want to cry. I'm going to have to get hold of some trial sizes of this. Now!

$39.50 for the CC cream

$42 for this foundation
See? My face was over here just craving that CC cream! Even at those prices, it's worth it to have a shade that matches and works well for your skin type. It's not like you're going to be buying it once a month or so, right?

I actually have some loose face powder by BlackUp. The powder was a gift, so I didn't go over and check the price, but... Guess what? It's about half a shade off from what I need. The person who gifted it to me had to choose from an online photo of the product. Wouldn't it be nice if I could have sampled a couple of shades first? Shade problems aside, that is some really good product.

Now, because of the average price of a really good foundation or CC (or BB or DD!) cream, it's really not worth buying a full-sized product without knowing the benefits. Even if a product matches your skin tone, you don't want one that leaves your face feeling dry, or looking un-natural. That's why reviews are so important. Reviews by people like you and me (and not some celebrity or anyone else most of us can't relate to) are key. We can compare value to price and quality. We can tell each other how well the product fits our "regular" lifestyle and budget.

No offense to Garnier (or Neutrogena, Covergirl, etc), but I don't fall into the generalized category of shades you've determined to be "Dark" or "Deep". I'm not Halle Berry or Queen Latifah. I'm closer to Lupita Nyong'o. There's usually no decent shade of foundation for me in the aisles of Walmart. Matter of fact, there are lot of women who have trouble finding a good shade of makeup in mass retail stores. Once not long ago,  I had a nice chat with a Caucasian lady in the makeup section at Walmart. She was having problems locating a shade for her peachy-tan undertones. She said that she had once found a decent product from one brand, but it was hard to find on local shelves.


Back to my point though: When are the black cosmetic brands going to get with the movement of putting there products out there for folks to try before they spend money or the wrong shade or type? When I find a good product, I talk about it, and then the people I've talked to talk about it. Word of mouth. Get it?

In late 2013, one beauty and personal care analyst was talking about the "boom" in ethnic cosmetics. It's true. I'm starting to see lots and lots of diversity in cosmetic products, but the producers need to look past the faces they see on the TV and movie screens. There are more shades to "ethnic" than "Medium", "Medium Deep" and "Mahogany". I'm waiting to see some truer-to-skin shades for women like me.

For the brands out there who do have a good range of shades, please start working with us consumers more by getting samples and trial sizes into the retail aisles. We "regular" folk will spend good money on good products - once we have a chance to see that they are good. And because we are "regular", we don't often hit up Nordstrom or Macy's; you'll reach us quicker at Target, Walgreens and Walmart. (Okay, maybe that last was just for folks like me!)

Ladies, for those of you who live in an area with better access to products, check out the stroy of DooBop. For the rest of you (and me), you can try looking for these brands:

I'm going to leave you with some images. Shades, tones and hues...
Black Opal

Bobbi Brown

Flori Roberts

Iman got it right!



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