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Hair extensions 101 and Health > Make up Tips for African American women

14 Mar 2005

True Colors For Women Of Color
by Cheryl Duffey

Women of color have often felt ignored by cosmetics companies. Many ethnic women have had trouble finding foundation and makeup colors that are flattering . African-American women usually have sensitive, oily skin that scars easily. Products that are powdery can look ashy and chalky on darker complexions, and pink pigmented products are unflattering to ethnic skintones.

In the beginning, there was Fashion Fair. Founded in 1973 and aimed at African-American and Carribean women, it offered darker colors, not available at the time. It is still around, and can be purchased at a handful of stores across the country. The line seems a bit old-fashioned to me. There is a skincare line that includes bleaching cream and oil reduction products. Color choices are conservative, and I could not find a product with a sunscreen (we should all wear sunscreen) . Still, it is a no-frills line for dark- skinned women. www.fashionfair.com.

In 1994, fashion model Iman, tired of mixing her own colors and formulas, started her own cosmetics line. I-man is geared to all women of color, and it really succeeds in its goal. It is a line with multi-cultural appeal, and no unnecessary products. She has pared it down to a wonderful range of essentials.

The products are creamy, and blend well. I like the pressed powder, which leaves a dewy finish. The skincare line is excellent. I recommend Hydrator SPF 15, and Drench, a rich but light moisturizer. Both are $35.00.

Iman has two websites. www.i-man.com is her personal site with info about the products, and her makeup philosophy. It projects the image of a funky urban drama queen, fitting for the wife of David Bowie. Her line can be purchased at www.imanbeauty.com, a very user-friendly site with descriptions of all the items, and easy checkout. I-man is also available at most JC Penney’s.

For women who want a large line with many flattering color options, I suggest Nars, and MAC. Nars has dark lipsticks in lovely shades of brown and burgundy. Nars is available at www.neimanmarcus.com and at major department stores. At the MAC shop I visited recently, there was a lovely dark-skinned makeup artist, with her brushes in a large tool belt around her waist. She was willing to take the time to assist customers with their choices, and she knew the line well. MAC uses women of color as models. Go to www.maccosmetics.com for store locations.

I am a multi-racial woman. I am not Asian, but with my very yellow undertones, I find that Shiseido works well for me. I have always been drawn to the dramatic palettes and unique products. I have been wearing makeup since I was 13, and when I want color, Shiseido has never let me down. Find Shiseido products at most major department stores.

Women of color now have more options, as companies realize the potential of a powerful consumer base. Ideally, cosmetics companies should consider the ethnic market. Most women are willing to pay for quality products and good service, especially if the products are tailored to her needs. A woman of color wants to feel welcome at the cosmetics counter. Consultants should be aware of her needs, and the company should feature ethnic faces in their advertising.

by Cheryl Duffey