Redefining Beauty: Two Major Companies Expand Beauty’s Horizons

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Kenyetta Whitfield | kw162913@ohio.edu | @ken_whitty

It is no secret to people of color that the beauty industry can be extremely Eurocentric. Brands like Essence and Louis Vuitton, however, are trying to make it a bit easier to diversify the beauty industry for those who don’t fit under the “nude” skin color that permeates the market.

In August, Essence launched the Essence Beauty Box, a monthly subscription similar to the Birch Box. According to the Essence Beauty Box website, the beauty box is “a service to help women of color discover beauty products.” Women of color regularly face obstacles when searching for products that match their skin tone, not even considering specialty products that help with hyper pigmentation.

Essence is setting itself apart from the endless sea of beauty subscription services with an even bigger marketing strategy. Haley Wilbur of Mashable writes that the company will try to feature a product from an independent, African-American owned business in each box.

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Louboutin’s newest collection of varying shades of nude draws women together. Source: nymag.com

Essence isn’t the only company that has made strides to diversify the fashion and beauty industry. World-renowned designer Christian Louboutin recently extended his collection of nude heels to feature shades that are more skin-tone inclusive. For most, the color nude means something that matches your skin tone, but the majority of the fashion world has a seemingly different definition, synonymous to a barely pink or beige tint.

According to New York Magazine, Louboutin’s line “trie[s] to make it a little easier on people who want to wear shoes to match their skin color.” The designer asked Shiona Turini, Jane Keltner de Valle and Nina Garcia respectively to style his infamous red-bottom heels in any way they pleased and each of the women dawned a pair matching their individual skin color.

The move is a small step for the fashion industry and challenges the idea that there is one universal nude. Both Essence and Louboutin’s new business ventures represent a shift in the beauty business that is much more culturally aware. It seems that everyone is excited to see how inclusive the fashion industry will become in the future as the public demands changes in the cookie-cutter image that yesterday’s fashion sphere creates.

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