Toronto woman accuses makeup industry of ‘shadism’

Click to play video: 'Is there ‘shadeism’ in the makeup industry?' Is there ‘shadeism’ in the makeup industry?
Is there ‘shadeism’ in the makeup industry? Minna Rhee reports – May 31, 2017

A Toronto woman is voicing frustration over what she views as a possible bias in the beauty industry.

Dr. Tamika Hamlet has noticed a concerning trend surrounding make-up designed for consumers with darker skin tones.

The naturopathic doctor keeps encountering the same challenge and wonders why her favourite beauty products keep getting discontinued.

READ MORE: The dark skin experience: What it’s like to be dark-skinned in a world that tells you light is beautiful

“I think that the industry is shadist — in the sense that they do show preference to lighter and they have a habit of discontinuing darker shades,” Hamlet said, adding she feels cosmetic companies typically offer more variety of pressed powders and foundations for those with lighter skin tones.

After years of purchasing the same product, Hamlet encountered this situation after buying her go-to colour from Sephora.

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She said she brought the product home and it was about “10 shades lighter” than what the colour used to be.

“So I brought it back to the store and asked them about it – saying, “I think this is mislabelled,'” she said. “And they were like, ‘No, no, they revamped their colours,’ so that was really frustrating.”

Hamlet said she’s speaking out to raise awareness about the inequality that still exists in the beauty industry.

“That’s a blanket statement. It’s not necessarily wrong,” beauty expert Bahar Niramwalla said, adding ultimately it comes down to sales.

“What is being sold? This is a numbers game as well — if it sells well they’ll restock, if it doesn’t they won’t.”

Annoyed with the lack of choices — a group of Canadian women came up with their own formulations so that women of all races would be able to find a perfect match.

“What we did with the powder foundations was remove the titanium dioxide from our foundations — it’s a thick white powder that sits on top of your skin and makes it look ashy,” Pinki Gosal, co-founder of Vasanti Cosmetics Inc., said.

“So what we did was replace it with an ingredient that makes the skin look more natural. So that’s why when you go to our brand, you don’t have to go two shades darker than your own skin.”

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Gosal added Vasanti has never discontinued a shade in the nearly 10 years they’ve been in business.

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