Last week Maybelline US announced that Tanzanian born model Herieth Paul had been signed as the new face of their brand. A gorgeous dark skinned model with short natural hair, she represents a different type of beauty than the typical cookie-cutter eurocentric features we see, a good sign of progress, what's not to like?
However, last night I noticed this ad on my digital copy of Essence magazine featuring another Maybelline ambassador; British model Jourdan Dunn.
It's a typical maybelline advert telling you you about the benefits of their products , except I noticed the product looked familiar and that was because I had seen this advert on TV a few days ago :
Now, I am an absolute product junkie; no lie, I spend so much on beauty products it makes my debit card cry, I am a cosmetics company's dream because advertising tends to works on me.
So after seeing the Jourdan advert online and the commercial as I usually do, I researched it. I searched for it first on boots.com and I saw the choice of shades; Nude, sun beige, Ivory, Beige, Fawn and Natural Ivory, basically all white people shades. In fact they understand that white people have various types of shades and variety in skin tone they gave the same names twice.
A little disheartened I went on the official maybelline website to confirm what the actual shades available in the U.K because sometimes boots also like to ignore women of colour and not carry certain shades. Of course the same 6 shades were available.
Here is a screenshot:
And the screenshot from the US site
This is the same product, same formulation, same description but in the United states they have twice as many shades.
Even though I am annoyed by this I am not surprised, this is an issue that plagues any woman who is not white. Getting anything to suit your skin tone from global beauty brands is almost impossible.
I like so many other black women have to buy high end foundations and concealer because billion dollar beauty corporations simply don't cater for us. They always make the same excuses saying there is no market for the product which is just not true. There is a huge population of black women in the United Kingdom.
Maybelline, L'oreal, Rimmel, Max Factor and any other drugstore brand do we not have skin? Don't we also need makeup? Not everyone can afford to or have to be subjected to spending over £20 on foundation.
Maybelline has taken a Black British woman and used her in their adverts to sell products but Jourdan couldn't walk into boots or super drug and buy the same product she is advertising.
It is sad because I buy maybelline and other drugstore brands regularly. Their mascaras are amazing but they are still not catering to a huge and hungry market and we are still having this discussion in 2016