Universal Beauty


Izzy Colón, news-features writer

Run out of foundation just before a big event? Most women can go to Walgreens and pick up a shade that works, but for some, particularly women of color like Camryn Howe, sophomore, it is not that simple. Howe said she has trouble finding makeup that works with her complexion because she has a dark skin tone. From foundations to blushes, makeup is not made for all skin tones.

“When I go into the store looking for a foundation I always find around six shades of light, one or two shades of medium, and one shade of what they call ‘deep,’” Howe said. “I’m of mixed descent and I find it really surprising that even with how light my skin is I can never find the right shade.”

Emily Lynch, sophomore, agrees that the variety of shades is lacking. She says she has a lot of fun doing her makeup, but this is a major setback.

“I find it hard to get the right match for my skin,” Lynch said. “I sort of guess which shade is closest, but a lot of the time it won’t come out as dark as it looks. I’m stuck with makeup I can’t wear and [trying to find the right shade] starts to cost too much. It’s a struggle just to do something I enjoy.”

Howe said her mother, who is Haitian and Native American, has an even harder time finding makeup that works for her. She said even the darkest shades of makeup are not dark enough for her mother’s skin and wash her out

“Makeup brands with more variety in shade come with a price tag of $25-50 and my family just can’t afford it,” Howe said. “My mother has pretty much given up on [finding the right shade of] makeup altogether.”

Howe said it frustrates her that people of color are seen as not as prominent to manufacturers, and that this translates to what she feels about her place in society. Howe says there are many small disadvantages like this as a person of color,  she says the world views her as inferior.

“As manufacturers of makeup, they typically sell the colors they think will sell the best,” Howe said. “[They do not sell shades for women of color] even though we make up a considerable part of the consumer market.”

Ramona Miller, assistant principal, said she feels that all of these issues tie back to beauty standards. Miller says that there are many obstacles for women of color in attaining beauty, including finding makeup that works on their skin.

“I’ve always known [this was a problem], because friends of mine would wear makeup and we didn’t even have the options we have now,” Miller said. “You would see [women wearing] makeup that was really not for their skin tone. Just seeing that made me very aware of [the lack of makeup available] for us.”