It is a basic human right.
When I started my blog last August, one of the topic that I blogged about very early on was that of the lack of choice of bases/foundations for women of colour here in the UK.
Well, what a difference a year can make! Not only has 2012 been the year of the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee and beginning of the end of the X Factor franchise (sorry guys..I am strictly a ‘Strictly’ fan!!!), this year saw a plethora of mainstream beauty brands launch (or re-introduce)foundation shades for darker skin tones – which means more choice!!
I have reviewd a selection of these products – Lancome, Avon, Laura Mercier, YSL, Illamasqua…
…I am currently testing the new Liz Earle shades (yes, you read correctly – Liz Earle has developed a range of shades for the woman of colour too!!)…
…however there are several brands/ranges that I am yet to try and review, partly due to my busy schedule, especially during the summer with my involvement in the Olympics – these brands include Benefit, Chanel, Estee Lauder and the newest range from Boots No 7.
I am sure that you have seen Boots’ No 7 Foundation Match Service offering in store – I certainly did when it arrived back in August..
…and I snapped away, vowing to make a trip back to try the service out but I just never got around to it, so I was really pleased when I saw that fellow #blackbritbblogger, Mimi author of BLKMimiLDN had tried and reviewed the service and the new product.
She has kindly allowed me to re-post her publication!
Boots No.7 Foundation Match Made Service
This week (24.10.2012) we heard reports that number crunchers have estimated that the ‘Black Consumer’ spending power in the UK was worth a £300 Billion (is that all?), it has come to be of no surprise to me that many of the established high-street brands have begun to try and encourage us to spend money in their stores. Step forward Boot’s No.7 who, under the creative directorship of Lisa Eldridge, have developed their range of foundation to include more colours for Black Women in a range of finishes.
I decided to take advantage of a free lunch break and popped into a Boots in Hammersmith in order to try out their new No.7 Foundation Match Made Service. In order to take some of the anxiety of shopping for foundation, No.7 claim to have developed a device that matches you with the colour in their range. The device quickly takes a number of instant pictures of the skin on your jaw-line and comes up with a recommendation as to which shade you are within their range. As a woman of colour I wanted to see if this device would cater to my shade and so allowed the lovely consultant, Thomas, to work his magic. I was placed at ease by how quickly (and painless) the whole process was, he then gave me a run down of the various finishes and benefits each finish provided that was applicable to my skin type and preference.
The shade Walnut was quickly identified as being the correct shade for me. I opted for the Instant Radiance range as it wasn’t matt and added a bit more dimension to my face. It took a little while for me to get the consistency of the foundation right when applying it and have realised that it works best when I colour correct my dark patches around my eyes prior to application. The finish was excellent and matched my skin perfectly. I received the best ever compliment when wearing this foundation from a relative who asked remarked that my skin looked really healthy when I bumped into them at a recent party!
On the whole, I am loving the fact that a high street brand has stepped up to the plate and decided to expand it’s range to include more shades. The Foundation Match Made Service has certainly thrown down the gauntlet to other makeup brands to ensure clients are adequately matched within their range and end the appalling situation where women of any colour, are incorrectly paired to foundations by overzealous sales associates on a counter.
So thumbs up to Boots for this new service and the actual product formulations – I have read several reviews by bloggers of all skin tones and the general consensus is that product is a great buy!
So why oh why did Boots fail to adequately communicate the vast shade range in the marketing campaign for the launch?
The in store material does feature the darker shades of the foundations that are available, but neither the TV ad..
…nor the print ad featured a woman of colour!!! I cannot for the life of me think why a large organisation such as Boots would fail to see how important this is. It is one of the most data driven organisations (we all know that the information collected via our beloved Advantage Card is used to build a perfect profile of our shopping behaviour so that the company uses to sell you more stuff!!) and it has the talent and the budgets to create communications that resonate with all of its customers.
This fact was highlighted to me once again when I was at a friend’s house and the above ad came on the TV. I began to lament about how I still hadn’t gotten around to trying out the service. She then remarked that she had no idea that there were shades potentially suitable for her skin tone and based on the advertising she had just assumed that it was yet another major launch that did not not cater to her skin type and had just written the product off!!
Who is signing off these creatives?? Lisa Eldrige mentions in this video, that in developing the new range, over 2000 women participated in the process…so why didn’t it occur to the marketing department at Boots’ HQ to feature a woman with dark skin in the comms?
I am baffled!
That being said…I was also disappointed with Boots’ current Christmas ad…again where are the women of colour? Where are the women that LOOK LIKE ME??!!
I love Boots’, I really do – the fantastic product, the variety, the accessibility, the trust it holds with the consumer – all of these aspects are what sets it apart as the beauty destination for the nation, but I am hoping to see campaigns that reflect the diverse customer base that it serves in the future.