ICYMI: My thoughts on the ‘Fenty’ effect and the #brownbeauty consumer

It’s a new month! September has come upon us once again and it is time to get back into the swing of things!!
I am gearing up to return to business school tomorrow, which will herald the start of the planning towards my dissertation! I will be focusing on researching the experience of women of colour in the beauty industry as both leaders and consumers over the coming months! I am very much looking forward to delving into this topic, to understand it further from the academic stand points of organisational behaviour, human resource management, marketing strategy and innovation.
Over the summer I shared my reflections on the ‘Fenty’ effect and future opportunities for the beauty industry as the customer base diversifies.
Check out my thoughts on the iD magazine website…


… and on the Natwest Business Hub website.


As, I mentioned when Rihanna launched her brand and the fanfare from the mainstream media ensued, the customer has ALWAYS been here and the success of the Fenty launch was no surprise t us.

Although there have been a number of product extensions and new launches to cater to the consumer of colour since Fenty Beauty exploded onto the beauty scene, including the extension to the Too Faced Born This Way range in partnership with Jackie Aina and the Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop range by NYX x Alissa Ashley, too many of these companies are still missing the mark.

Images: Cocoa Swatches

For every step that is (seemingly) taken to move forward another faux pas that negates any progress made swiftly follows. BECCA’s recent social media communication for new foundation launch highlights this (BECCA was recently acquired by Estee Lauder Companies).
The questionable image that was featured on the brand’s Instagram account showed four arms of different skin tones modelling swatches of the new Skin Love Weightless Blur Foundation. However the palms of the deeper toned ‘models’ were noticeably coloured in and not representative of the palms of person of colour.

After several days of silence BECCA responded with an explanation…

…but as many of the comments asked, why did this happen in the first place?
As long as the beauty industry seeks to only commoditise the bodies of people of colour as opposed to genuinely servicing all of the needs of this consumer group I believe that such incidences will continue to occur. The queen of #brownbeauty swatching Coco Swatches articulated this perfectly:

💯 Thanks @refinery29 + @amberdeexterous. Link in bio.

A post shared by Cocoa Swatches (@cocoaswatches) on


I will be analysing incidences such as these through an academically critical lens and I will be reaching out to you for your help and opinions too!

Let me know your thoughts about the BECCA faux pas in the meantime!

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