Why Don't Stores Carry Makeup For Dark Skinned Girls?
Start writing a post

Why Don't Stores Carry Makeup For Dark Skinned Girls?

Throwing Shade

Why Don't Stores Carry Makeup For Dark Skinned Girls?
Crystal Van Houtte

It's 2017 and dark-skinned women can't buy makeup in most stores, at least not the way most of the population buys makeup. In my teenage years, I used to go to the store with my friends to buy clothes and makeup, much like every other teenage girl. I would stand there in the aisle searching for my shade as my friends quickly grabbed their foundation, lipstick, and eyeliner.

My friends would join in the search after noticing the confusion and frustration that seemed almost engraved on my face. Eventually, someone would suggest that I find a manager and ask if, by some chance, they had an unopened shipment of makeup in the back. The first time this happened during my quest for makeup, I was at Walmart.

When I located the manager and inquired if they had darker shades, she told me that, "They didn't carry it because black people really don't need makeup." There I was going through puberty, yet unable to buy makeup that was my shade.

As I got older, I began to see how important wearing makeup can be for social and economic advancement in this country. Many people don't realize how difficult finding makeup for darker skinned women can be. Most people make snap judgments about character, work ethic, etc., based on appearance.

It is not only important to be well coiffed and dressed appropriately for a job interview, but women, more often that not, must wear makeup for obvious reasons.

When a woman of color goes to a job interview typically we know we must put our best foot forward to combat implicit biases. We know that even with higher education, a strong work ethic, and the drive to succeed, it may not be enough to get a job or promotion we are more than qualified for.

In essence, you are robbed of the ability to make a good first impression in professional, casual, and romantic settings. The one thing most women of color that need makeup know for certain is:

"No Makeup No Job"

Many women of color, like my cousin Danielle, have given up the notion of wearing makeup because of their inability to buy their shade. Some women of color gamble with shades that are kind of close, but somehow end up making them look a bit off. While other women make their own makeup by finding a darker shade of eye shadow without glitter to mix with the darkest foundation they can find.

I live in a large city that is often warmly referred to as "Chocolate City," yet even here I struggle to find anything darker than a brown paper bag and hues of brownish red.

There I stood in Walmart staring at the makeup display looking at the pictures of dark skinned women of color and the custom shelf displays for darker makeup. The slot for darker makeup, as in most chain stores was always empty. Tears began forming in my eyes as I said, "It's 2017 and I can't just drive to the store and buy makeup!"

I started to remember Christmas day a couple of years ago I was in Ithaca, New York. I had gotten a Target gift card and decided to drive over to Target and pick up some makeup. I couldn't find any foundation my shade so I stopped a female employee and asked if they had my shade in the back.

The woman looked at me straight faced and suggested that I "shop somewhere else."

I was absolutely taken aback. It didn't matter how many times I'd run into this problem, it still hurt. I have been given many ridiculous reasons why a store didn't carry darker shades, the most common reason was usually, "We don't carry darker shades because they always get stolen." I have offered to pay in advance to have chain stores carry my shade to no avail.

My mother has to drive over 54 miles each way, from her home to drive to a specialty store to purchase makeup that is her shade. That's over two hours total driving time just to buy makeup when there are literally hundreds of stores that carry makeup in between her home and the specialty store.

The average woman of color can now purchase darker makeup online if there isn't a specialty store within a reasonable driving distance. If there is an unexpected important meeting, date, interview, or event, waiting for makeup to be shipped to your home may take too long.

In my 34 years on this earth, I've had to learn some hard truths about the country I live in. In a society built and driven by capitalism (supply and demand), money from women of color is worth half as much when it comes to buying makeup.

I'll leave you with this one question to ask yourself:

"Why is it that most stores, as a standard operating procedure, don't carry a variety of makeup for women any darker than a brown paper bag, yet they carry mascara from a company whose heir was sentenced to 124 years (reduced to 50) in prison for filming the brutal rapes he committed?"

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lots of people sat on the cinema wearing 3D glasses

Ever wonder what your friend meant when they started babbling about you taking their stapler? Or how whenever you ask your friend for a favor they respond with "As You Wish?" Are you looking for new and creative ways to insult your friends?

Well, look no further. Here is a list of 70 of the most quotable movies of all time. Here you will find answers to your questions along with a multitude of other things such as; new insults for your friends, interesting characters, fantastic story lines, and of course quotes to log into your mind for future use.

Keep Reading...Show less
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less

Unleash Inspiration: 15 Relatable Disney Lyrics!

Leave it to Disney to write lyrics that kids of all ages can relate to.

The 15 most inspiring Disney songs

Disney songs are some of the most relatable and inspiring songs not only because of the lovable characters who sing them, but also because of their well-written song lyrics. While some lyrics make more sense with knowledge of the movie's story line that they were written for, other Disney lyrics are very relatable and inspiring for any listener.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments