Stroll down any drugstore cosmetics isle and you’ll notice a growing trend: More makeup choices for people of color. Cosmetic companies have taken note of United States census figures that calculate by 2042 Americans who identify themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, American Indian, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander will together outnumber non-Hispanic whites, according to the New York Times.
And it’s a market cosmetics companies want in on.
Of the six major cosmetic retailers found at Target, four offer foundation options for diverse people. These include Revlon, L’Oreal, CoverGirl and Maybelline, all of which rank in the top 10 world’s best selling brands according to Forbes.
Lines that do not carry foundation options are Almay and Neutrogena. The parent companies of Almay and Neutrogena offer foundation options for people of color through sister lines Revlon and CoverGirl, respectively.
CoverGirl is the only bestselling makeup brand to offer a full line of options to women of color with its Queen brand. The branding of Queen’s various color options mirrored similar trends across brands and includes: Sand, Almond Glow, Warm Caramel, Spicy Brown, Amber Glow, Toffee, Soft Copper, Rich Mink, Classic Bronze, Golden Honey, Sheer Espresso and True Ebony.
Similar to its other brands with foundations for people of color, Queen’s branding equates skin color to food and natural elements. It differs in that each color is named with an adjective and a noun, which is a trend across makeup for lighter skin colors.
A search of Google shows that naming for foundation for Caucasian women is closely associated with makeup. First page Google results for common foundation names such as Beige, Ivory and Nude Beige were closely related with foundation.5
Naming for foundation for people of diversity was never related to a makeup color and yielded literal results for search terms like Amber Glow and Warm Caramel.
Makeup for Caucasians was more likely to be named with adjectives like Natural, Class, True, Nude and Fresh. Its counterpart was much less likely to feature such adjectives. Across the four brands offering foundation options for people of color, only CoverGirl featured names that included similar adjectives (True Ebony and Classic Bronze).
What can consumers draw from an analysis of major cosmetic companies and their branding of foundation for people of color? The answer to that question ranges depending on who is asked. It is imperative that consumers continue to analyze branding of diverse foundation options.
What do you think of branding for foundation? Does anything pop out to you?