We look at five beauty brands that are putting inclusivity first
When I was around 14-years-old, I had a friend who would wear Lynx body spray, which is marketed towards men. Although like me, she identified as a woman, she wore it unashamedly, and I admired her for this. What quickly followed was a phase where both me and the majority of my friends at school started wearing Lynx body spray as well, we all loved it. Maybe it was partly because it made us feel rebellious, that we were going against this gendered marketing, but we loved it nonetheless.
One day though, while I was walking through a shop with a friend from outside of school, I decided to buy another bottle since I was running low at the time. I walked down the aisle where the deodrants were kept, past the ones aimed at women and stood searching the shelves in the ‘men’s deodorant area’ instead. The friend who I was with looked at me with confusion. “Rachael, you’re not in the right section...”, she told me. I looked up at her with a sudden feeling of unease and embarrassment. “That’s men’s deodorant,” she said, trying to get her point across. I told her I knew that, but that I still liked it, what was the harm in that? She wasn’t trying to be mean, but she was clearly still a bit unsure. I became too embarrassed and left the store without buying anything. I went back to using women’s deodorant after that, because that’s what I was supposed to use, right?
Well, that’s what some brands and companies are now beginning to question. This rise of marketing inclusivity - to cater to all genders, skin tones, and sizes - is beginning to spread, and the beauty industry, specifically, is leading the movement.
Here are five brands that are putting inclusivity at the very forefront of what they do:
I can’t even write this list without mentioning Fenty Beauty. The makeup line created by Rhianna in 2017 was an overnight sensation as soon as it was released, with stocks being sold out almost instantly. This is due to its foundation range that included a ground-breaking 40 shades. Most brands’ foundation ranges include only around 15 to 20 shades, with the majority of them being unsuitable for people with especially dark skin tones, so this hugely inclusive range from Fenty Beauty completely rocked the beauty industry and has impacted other brands to follow in their footsteps. As Rhianna says: “Fenty Beauty was created for everyone”.
Fluide is a relatively new startup makeup brand, created in January 2018 by good friends Isabella Giancarlo and Laura Kraber, but they are already breaking barriers in every way. Their brand is focused on being inclusive towards “all gender expressions, gender identities and skin tones”.
Their products are extremely colourful, cruelty-free, vegan, and free from parabens and phthalates - so they really are perfect for everyone. Fluide also gives back the love that it receives, as it donates 5% of all of its profits to US LGBT+ health organisations, and donates products to fundraisers and events to support LGBT+ organisations.
The New York brand Milk Makeup is huge right now due to their fresh take on beauty. Their branding is colourful and fun, and they’re not afraid to take risks and push the boundaries of the beauty industry further with each new release. Their product packaging is deliberately very unisex, and the models they use on their site are diverse in both race and gender.
“The energy of this diverse, dynamic (New York) community is what inspired the line; from the brand's inception, we wanted our products to speak to everyone,” says Georgie Greville, the company’s co-founder and creative director.
The Blur The Lines range - including a matte foundation, setting powder and “blur stick” primer - was especially inspired by this diversity. The range was released as part of a series of short films, which are an ongoing study of “the spectrum of individuality”.
The first film was done through a collaboration with David Yi, the founder and editor of men’s grooming website Very Good Light. Georgie’s main message that she feels is at the forefront of the brand is that “beauty is self-expression, and self-expression should have no boundaries.”
EveryHue Beauty is the latest brainchild of four women - Gizelle Bryant, Karlene Damallie, Erika Liles, and Sophia Rabkin - who, similarly to Rhianna with Fenty Beauty, noticed a hole in the market for accurately matching foundation shades for people of colour, especially those who are multiethnic. “EveryHue Beauty was created by #FourWomenForWomen (and Men) as a passionate and loving collaboration of four women who believe that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and complexions”, as is stated on the brand’s website. The majority of their tinted moisturiser range is catered towards people of colour, with shades ranging from warm to deep.
The makeup brand Jecca Blac was created by Jessica Blackler, a makeup artist and budding entrepreneur from Llandlaff, Wales. While launching her own makeup brand, formally called Jecca and working freelance in Cardiff, she began exploring what makeup services were available for the transgender community. She soon started working with a number of transgender clients, providing them with makeovers and tutorials.
“I want to create a safe space for clients to be themselves and relax in my company,” she says. “And in (the past) 18 months I’ve had over 200 customers, with clients travelling from London, Southampton and from within Wales too.”
Realising this obvious need for a safe space for trans women who are beginning to explore makeup for the first time, she began to focus her new makeup brand on this area, and renamed it Jecca Blac. Her products are designed to appear very unisex, and her colour corrector and concealer pallete are specifically formulated to offer fuller coverage in order to tackle issues such as beard shadow that many transgender women can experience.
These five brands are just the start of what’s to come. Consumers want more and our shopping habits, and our own social awareness has changed, and brands are having to listen. The list of inclusive brands is ever expanding and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
If my 14-year-old self wandered into a shop and wanted to buy a product branded ‘for men’ today - while still a little nervous - I would feel supported by the brands and influencers that are paving the way for anyone to try anything. I don’t think I would leave the shop empty handed, that’s for sure.