I rarely buy drugstore cosmetics. My experiences with drugstore makeup has been disappointing. The eyeshadows typically have a chalky texture and appearance, and so does the blush. Generally the only cosmetics I buy at drugstores are nail polish, mascara and occasionally I might purchase a lipstick.
I purchase a majority of my makeup from the counter at a department store, from makeup retailers like Sephora and Ulta, or online directly from the manufacturer.
As a woman of color, I have always had an issue primarily with drugstore foundation. Finding a color that suits me is nearly impossible. When I browse drugstore shelves for foundation I see 8 to 10 shades for lighter skin and 3 or 4 shades for darker skin (if I’m lucky). Living in San Diego (especially in beach-cities), I realize the lack of a large number of women of color is most likely the reason most drugstores don’t have my shade, but it is incredibly frustrating!
In order to find my perfect shade, I opt to buy my foundation from the department store counter so that I can make sure the shade is right for me before leaving with the product. A lot of women do this for various reasons, but my issue is with the fact that I do not have the option to purchase my makeup anywhere else! Purchasing a drugstore foundation in a pinch for $10 is not an option for women of my complexion, we have to buy at the makeup counter and each time pay upwards of $25.
Neutrogena, Maybelline, L’Oreal…they all advertise a wide range of colors on television and print, but when one looks at their websites there isn’t much of a range for women of color. Most of them carry between 12 and 18 shades, and most of those shades are not appropriate for women with darker complexions. The shades that are darker are quite inappropriate for all. They generally tend to have reddish undertones that don’t suit everyone and women of color come in more than just 4 shades. It honestly almost seems like an afterthought to these brands.
Just yesterday I thought to check my local CVS for a foundation in my shade. I was really hoping to find something that would suit me since I just threw my son a birthday party and didn’t especially want to go and spend nearly $30 (with tax) on new foundation. As I suspected, I didn’t find anything in my shade and started Tweeting about it. A few beauty bloggers (who are women of color) started Tweeting back and suggesting a few brands for me to look into. Those brands were: Black Opal, IMAN Cosmetics, Covergirl Queen Collection and Black Radiance.
Here’s what I found out about those brands after a bit of research (using each website’s respective product locators):
- Black Opal cosmetics are only carried at 5 locations in San Diego County and all of those locations are in South San Diego, so those of you in Northern San Diego cities will have to drive 45+ minutes.
- Cover Girl Queen Collection is not carried in ANY San Diego locations.
- IMAN Cosmetics is not carried in ANY San Diego locations.
- Black Radiance IS carried in Walgreens stores across San Diego County, but they only have 4 shades of foundation.
So…what is a girl to do? I just don’t know. The truth is this, even if a company’s website displays a variety of shades for darker skin tones, there’s just no guarantee that you’ll find that shade when you show up to a store. This honestly is NOT just a San Diego problem. I’ve spent this evening reading countless blog posts and articles by women of color all over the country who have problems finding their shade in drugstore cosmetics. It’s 2013! One would think these companies would create a more diverse range of shades to cater to everyone!
I suppose I could take it personally, or I can just realize…they’re just not that into me.
San Diego Ladies of color: Where do you buy your foundation? Have you encountered this same issue?
Also, HERE is a great post regarding IMAN and her makeup line for Women of Color (at Huffington Post). Many women see the need, and it’s definitely not just a San Diego problem!