Find out the best global beauty giants and indie makeup brands that are putting diversity and inclusivity at the heat of their products development to better serve an increasingly diverse audience
In today’s beauty climate, many makeup brands have started researching and developing more inclusive lines in an effort to appeal to an increasingly diverse clientele, whose needs and spending power for so long have been overlooked by the industry.
From global beauty giants to indie beauty brands, the makeup industry is going through an exciting period of change, where honouring diversity and inclusivity from a place of integrity to better serve customers is being revisited. Here are some of the makeup brands with inclusive lines that are paving the way in that space.
Foundation shades: 67 shades (Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation) that provides a matte finish with medium-to-full buildable coverage that lasts for 24 hours)
Celebrating diversity and individuality has always been in M·A·C DNA since its inception in March 1984 in a Toronto department store by makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and salon owner Frank Angelo. The makeup brand’s ethos has always been about inclusion, their mantra being “All Ages, All Races, All Sexes.” We are impressed by M.A.C incredible ability to cater to the needs of a diverse base of consumers and professional makeup artists alike. Part of the Estée Lauder Companies since 1994, M·A·C is sold today in over 105 countries around the world.
We are particularly obsessed with the shine-controlling and easily blendable Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation that both increases UV protection and gives a flawless barely-there makeup look. The beautifully pigmented Devoted to Chili Powder Kiss Lipstick, with its moisture-matte finish, delivers an effortlessly chic soft-focus colour. And our all-time favourite Give me Sun!Mineralize SkinFinish Natural slow-baked powder provides a subtle natural finish to the face.
Foundation shades: 61 shades (Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10 Foundation) with 24-hour staying power, matte, waterproof, offering medium-to-full coverage)
Do you remember those days post Covid-19, when you were too scared to properly kiss your friends and your significant other, or to dance too much at a party, for fear of ruining the gorgeous makeup you’ve spent ages applying? Darling, those days are over thanks to Estee Lauder sweat-, heat- and humidity-resistant, waterproof Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup SPF 10 Foundation.
The technically advanced and highly innovative beauty giant, founded in 1946, came up with a 24-hour colour true Foundation that even skin tone and does not look grey on deeper skin tones. No touchups needed. Throw in the Sumptuous Extreme Waterproof Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara and the Pure Color Envy Sculpting Blush+ Highlighter Duo to add freshness and radiance to your cheeks, and go live your best life.
Foundation shades: 51 shades (Uoma’s Say What?! Foundation) weightless, adjustable coverage, long-lasting, vibrant matte finish with blurring effects)
The Afropolitan makeup brand Uoma Beauty, which officially launched in 2019, is currently disrupting the beauty industry with the release of its groundbreaking Uoma’s Say What?! Foundation in 51 shades. For Uoma Beauty founder & CEO Sharon Chuter, being inclusive is about being true to yourself and respecting what is different about others. This is well reflected in the makeup brand products’ names and packaging that embody her African heritage and celebrate African goddesses and powerful Black women.
What we love about Uoma Beauty is its unique approach to foundation shade formulation that went much deeper than the standard approach used in the makeup industry. Instead of having one foundation base formula that is subsequently pigmented in different colours to cater to different skin tones, the makeup brand developed different formulas for its foundation shades based on skin tones and associated skin concerns. Beyond the bestselling foundation, we also like the high impact and highly pigmented Allure UOMA Beauty Black Magic Color Palette and the Boss Gloss Liquid Marble.
Since its 2017 epic launch with a 40-shade-foundation range, now extended to 50 shades, Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has redefined the meaning of diversity and inclusivity for the beauty industry. The demand was so strong that it instantly sold out. By releasing hard-to-match shades for fair and dark skin tones from the outset, the LVMH backed makeup brand has firmly positioned itself as a global heavyweight in the beauty industry.
From its campaign’s diverse cast, its lightweight Pro Filt’r foundation designed to make skin look like skin, to the elegant Match Stix Matte Skinstick and the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer, no expense is spared by Fenty Beauty to deliver a memorable shopping experience to us all. What we love as well is that makeup brand products are easily accessible both online and offline, and the makeup brand is expanding to emerging markets.
Foundation shades: 43 shades (Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 ) with 16-hour full-coverage matte formula)
Bobbi Brown Essentials has been one of the most progressive makeup brands of the 1990’s that consistently championed diversity and inclusivity. In 1992, one year after its launch, Bobbi Brown changed the face of the industry with 10 original foundation sticks made for a wide range of skin tones in a time when makeup was generally made for few.
With financial backing from the Estée Lauder Companies Inc. since 1995, Bobbi Brown continues its inclusivity relevancy with its sublime 43 shades of Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 that enhances, not hides,your true beauty. Pair it with bestselling Vitamin Enriched Face Base – To Go and the highly pigmented crease-free Instant Full Coverage Concealer for an exquisite look.
Foundation shades: 40 shades (Sheer Glow Foundation) with buildable coverage, natural finish, Paraben, alcohol and fragrance free)
Nars Cosmetics is the first high fashion makeup brand to have enlisted Black supermodel Naomi Campbell in 2019 for her to front the brand beauty campaigns for its iconic Orgasm Collection and its new Radiance Repowered range. Before that, Naomi Campbell had never fronted a beauty campaign in her 32-year long career in high fashion. A long standing friend of Naomi Campbell, Nars Cosmetics founder, makeup artist and photographer François Nars who launched his brand in 1994, shot the campaign images himself.
The beauty campaign included foundation shade extensions and Skin Deep Eye Palette and Super Radiant Booster bestsellers. We are also very fond of Nars Cosmetics Walnut Soft Matte Complete Concealer and the Tropical Express Quad Eyeshadow which really bring out the soft finishing touches to a high end makeup look.
Pat McGrath Labs
Foundation shades: 36 colour choices and five shade levels (Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation) easily blendable and buildable from a sheer veil to flawless medium coverage)
If you are into high fashion makeup, then Pat McGrath Labs is the perfect makeup brand for you. The makeup brand offers custom-curated products and tutorials for all skin types, tones and undertones. Products and tutorials are very often inspired by the legendary editorial and makeup artist McGrath’s work as a makeup artist for runway shows including Versace, Gucci, and Balenciaga.
The Black-owned makeup brand, now worth $1 billion, debuted in 2015 with a $40 product called Gold 001, a multipurpose gold pigment, that sold out within six minutes of its release. A few more products including Skin Fetish 003, a three-piece highlighting kit, and Lust 004, a sparkly lip kit were subsequently added to the line. A much broader collection was launched in 2017 with lip liners, lipsticks, mascara, eyeliners and an eyeshadow palette.