02 · 06 · 2021
To put it bluntly, no.
Skincare products alone are projected to reach 183 billion USD by 2025 (Grand View Research, Inc 2019), making it the largest part of the cosmetic industry. Although we have seen a significant improvement in recent years, much thanks to the groundbreaking launch of Rihanna's Fenty Beauty in 2017, we're still far from home.
Evidently proved in the aftermath of #blackouttuesday on June 2nd, 2020. To support the Black Lives Matter movement and anti-racist demonstrations in the U.S., over 20 million black squares were posted on Instagram by people all over the world. Brands were quick to follow, and brands were quickly called out on. People started questioning their motives. It is good that diversity in fashion, beauty, and skincare is a trending subject. However, trends tend to fade. Therefore, as a brand, it's crucial to make this a lasting change- Something that can be done with a few key aspects.
You can't be what you can't see. Increased visibility has been the most prominent and largest improvement. We see increased diversity in models, influencer collaborations, ambassadors, channels, content, and language. Key emphasis has been put on ensuring that your brand is extending an open invitation for all to feel welcome and included. It shouldn't come down to whether it's profitable or not. But while on the subject, in 2019, Forbes reported that WOC (women of color) in the U.S. spent 80 % more money on cosmetics and twice as much on skincare than the general female market.
The inside counts, too
Closely related to the first point about marketing. Who is behind the camera? Who is developing the products? Who is making the decisions? Diversity starts in the board rooms. #blackouttuesday brought a highlight to companies' hiring policies. At the end of the day, a company's internal culture will always reflect externally. To make a genuine, long-lasting change, diversity needs to be considered both on the inside, and the outside. It's an advocate for inclusivity that will last longer than any marketing campaign.
Learning before earning
It's safe to say that there is a knowledge gap. A photographer needs to know how to set the lighting for different skin tones. Store clerks need broad expertise to guide a diverse consumer base. If you're interested in skincare, you know that we all have different needs. Brands need to be aware of the various challenges that may come with varying skin tones. Testing and developing new products should be just as inclusive as any other part of the business. Knowledge is key.
It’s no longer enough to represent diversity through campaigns; it has to be reflected on the inside as well.
Mona M. Ali
Editor of Diversity and Inclusion at Vogue Scandinavia and founder of Firii - a model and creative agency for people of color.
- Today, POC cannot find the beauty products they are looking for in just any store. We still have a long road ahead of us until we can fill the demand of those who spend about 80% more on cosmetics than the average consumer. We really aren’t living in a diverse society.
- It’s no longer enough to represent diversity through campaigns; it has to be reflected on the inside as well. Companies must start with hiring experts from diverse backgrounds with relevant experiences for each position of the organization. Another way forward is to support locals and black-owned businesses to help close the massive gap.
When I lived in the UK, I used to visit stores owned by men who sold products to WOC. They were often insulting and had ZERO experience. They knew we needed their products and that we would have to come back to their stores. I wished there had been some women who could understand and who could have helped me select the right products for my hair and skin.
To create innovation and further an industry, you need more diversity throughout the organization
Founder of Scandinavian fragrance house UNIFORM - innovating how to interact with perfume.
- Consumers within the skincare and beauty industry have gone from being overlooked to powerful with the platforms to provide greater knowledge, trust, and community -especially for people of color. By developing products targeting a diverse crowd instead of the previous “norm,” niche brands have been able to grab a larger market share with loyal customers who will follow and support them for a long time.
- Brands have started to understand the need to include a broader range of people in front of the camera, which is great. However, to create innovation and further an industry, you need more diversity throughout the organization, including the c-suite. And that has been statistically proven to work. It should be an essential part of any industry or business to look at their surroundings to see where they could find a new perspective or insight about their product or company. Eventually, this would result in increased revenue, creating new industry standards making diversity inevitable for a company that wishes to survive.