diversity in cosmetics

New Brand Alert! Spktrm Beauty Launches with Foundation in 50 Shades!


Because “Current Beauty Standards not Inclusive.”

The beauty industry is changing it’s face. Many brands preach inclusivity and tote the label of diversity. However, a quick scroll through their social media and just a glance at the shade ranges of their complexion products will prove otherwise. Diversity has become a buzzword in the beauty community as of late. But most of those brands are frontin’. Spktrm Beauty is not. Finally, we’ve come across a brand that rises to the challenge of fully embracing beauty in all forms.

Meet Spktrm Beauty


Spktrm Beauty is redefining what beauty can be.

In a campaign video showcasing what Spktrm Beauty’s vision of inclusive beauty is, there were models ranging in race, age, gender, body shape, hair texture, each model had their own style of makeup, style of dress. All of them were real. You could imagine passing them on the street. And that was beautiful. One model stated, “When we fail to show the full extent of the human experience we’re saying that these experiences don’t hold any value and worth” (source). This is the core as to why representation matters.

We have been sold beauty standards through the eyes of what appeals to the white male gaze and it has shaped the beauty industry for far too long. It takes brands like Spktrm Beauty to dismantle and reshape what we see as beautiful. And they are doing just that!

Spktrm Beauty is the very first company to ban retouching models in their ad campaigns.

Don’t talk about it. Be about it. This is a brave step in the beauty industry and a brave step by these models. It is true that the younger generations yearn for inclusivity but they are the same generations that chase people off of Twitter with cyber bullying. Comments sections on videos and social media posts can be so savage.


We have gotten so used to retouched images that erase the fact that models are humans with weird birthmarks, scars, cellulite, or uneven lips. When people see the ‘flaws’ on models, they sometimes react with verbal violence because it is a reminder of their own flaws and insecurities. A reminder of these aspects of themselves that they have never been able to see as beautiful. So for a brand to tell them that they are. it challenges what they believe and are not always ready to accept.

Retouching has become so ingrained in our culture and contributed to desire for perfection that on our personal Instagrams, we edit photos of ourselves! Facetune is like a right of passage for every beauty blogger. It takes time to see yourself as beautiful. Spktrm Beauty tells us that we just are.


They are launching with a foundation!

Meet Happyface Foundation!


I reached out the the Spktrm Beauty team for more info on their product. The foundation is a “sheer-medium buildable coverage.”

The Big Claim: A foundation that nourishes the skin with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and marula oil!

Need to know: $35, picking a shade may be a little tricky because there aren’t shade descriptions just yet.
Available at Spktrmbeauty.com
Shop here

And it’s available in 50 shades!!!


Want to see your name in a product, who doesn’t right?

Spktrm Beauty will be naming each foundation shade after the first person who buys the shade!!! That’s awesome!

Let’s keep our eyes on Spktrm Beauty to see them grow and so that we can learn to embrace the beauty of ourselves! And let’s encourage more brands to follow suit!

How do you Embrace Your Beauty?

New Pinterest tool lets you add skin color to your search results


Por fin.

Admit it. You’re single and have a secret Pinterest board full of rustic-twinkle light aesthetic that is exactly what you’d want for your dream wedding. Yeah, same. I love scrolling through recipes and beauty looks but, like many media outlets, Pinterest has makes the seeing the representation of people of color like, well, finding a black model on Pinterest. Nearly impossible.


I’m just gonna say it.

Pinterest has been a ‘hail to the size 4 boho white girl whose hair flows long and blonde with summer tanned skin.” In every category. On every mood board. At all times. That is a really tough thing for some people to hear and, the thing is, I’m ok with that. It should make you uncomfortable when you realize that your favorite app to scroll through doesn’t celebrate all people.

What keeps all of us on Pinterest is the fact that it is women celebrating each other.

(And all the organizational tips, right? #virgo4lyfe)


How many times have you shown your hair stylist screenshots of the perfect highlights you saw on Pinterest.

For many of us WOC, seeing how those highlights or that eye shadow color might look with our skin color took a carpal tunnel educing amount of time to find. If you did not explicitly type ‘hair style’ followed by ‘black woman, asian woman, woc,” chances are that you scrolled and scrolled and scrolled and still didn’t find someone with a complexion similar to your own.

I have literally typed in my foundation or concealer shade in order to find women who look like me.


Pinterest did an update this week that POC have been asking for for a long time now.

Look at these tweets as your receipts:


I’ve had this exact conversation with my own sister. We were trying to find some Puerto Rican recipes for the holidays that weren’t created by someone went to La Isla Del Encanto and pinned their watered down version of sancocho.


Search by skin color

After you have entered your search, Pinterest has had a row of suggestions to help narrow your search. Now, por fin, finally, the new feature lets you add a skin color. They have added 4 color wheels to choose from. Pick the color wheel that most closely represents the skin color you are looking for. Here I searched ‘glowy makeup.” As you can see, the default result images are of lighter skinned women.


The row of suggestions still includes the option to add, for example, “Dark Skin,” and “Black Girl” to your search like it did before.

Pinterest is an homage to white girls with blonde hair.

Just look at this search of pretty hairstyle from this morning. Pretty hair according to Pinterest is naturally straighter and on a white woman.


But hopefully this new feature will help up us who don’t fit that mold get some inspo too.


This new feature isn’t all the way there yet. Not all searches include the option to add a skin tone to it. I looked up ‘purple smokey eye’ and the color wheels did not pop up. Instead it was the original way you had to search: waiting for the exclusionary results to then add who you are really looking for.


Why does all of this even matter?

Pinterests search results reinforced our societal flaw that we understand beauty as being in one form. It emphasized that ‘white, thin; blonde’ is the default for beauty. You could argue that that hasn’t changed because you still need to add a skin color instead of there being a natural mix of different women in the search results. I agree. White woman is still the Pinterest default setting. However, adding the 4 color wheels is a step in the right direction.


As a beauty editor, I try to be conscious of the beauty shots I choose to share. Pinterest is one of my most frequented sights when it comes to searching for a specific beauty look. Especially when I draft B. Scopes; meetpepperb.com’s beauty horoscopes. I spend a lot of time trying to find WOC: east and south asian, black, latina. All of us. Women and men with all skin tones but I do my best to focus on medium to darker skin tones. Even after I have chosen “The Look” for the horoscope, If I’m not finding models of different skin colors, I abandon that look and find something new. Even if I REALLY wanted to use that look.

I do this because it would be so very easy to just pick 10 pictures of pretty light skinned women.

Easy because we have been conditioned to recognize beauty through a eurocentric gaze. I refuse to be a partner in encouraging that one standard of beauty. I don’t always get it right. I’ve checked my work and I want more diversity.

I think this is a major improvement to Pinterest but I do hope to eventually see a more a organically diverse search result.

beauty is in All of Us.


#blackexcellence IRL At The In Her Shoes Black Women-Owned Holiday Bazaar


The Black Girl Magic Event Of The Season

This past Saturday, Dec. 2nd, I had the pleasure of attending the In Her Shoes Black Women-Owned Holiday Bazaar in New York City. I got to meet dozens of black, female, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and people ready to support one another. They each came from a different background. Each woman had her own unique, "Why I started this business" story. All of them empowered one another. 


Renae Bluitt was the mastermind behind this event that showcased the power of black female entrepreneurs.  She is the founder and creator of the In Her Shoes Blog and Crush Media. She writes,

“I’ve always been intrigued by other women’s stories: their “a-ha” moments, successes, struggles, and most importantly, what inspires them to fight the good fight when times get tough” (source).

This passion for story sharing inspired her to create her documentary film She Did That. The film tells the stories of 5 black female businesswomen that are shattering their industries. She Did That centers on Luvvie Ajayi: best selling author of I’m Judging You, Lisa Price: the creator of the brand, Carol’s Daughter, Melissa Butler: the creator of The Lip Bar, Tonya Rapley: the creator of My Fab Finance, and finally on Renae Bluitt's In Her Shoes Blog story.


Renae is really out here fighting for women! She is an entrepreneur who is not just focused on her own success. Renae Bluitt is creating pathways that allow the grossly neglected population of black women to be seen, to be heard, and supported as business women!

Read more about how, in her own words, in Renae’s blog post, Walmart Supports “She Did That.” & Ramps Up Supplier Inclusion Initiatives (a must read!).  

Watching the sneak peek of She Did That was exhilarating.  The preview included part of the story of the creator of Carol’s Daughter, Lisa Price. It resonated with me. She shared about her experience of struggling in her undergraduate career. Price talked about her battle with depression; needing help but not having the courage to ask. From a vulnerable stage of her life, she found the strength to rise and eventually build a company whose products are easy to find.


The full documentary is set to release in 2018 and based on the short glimpse I saw, it is something that all goal setters must watch and study! These 5 driven women are an inspiration!

After the documentary preview and panel discussion, the Holiday Bazaar was open for business. Here are just a few of the things I found. 


First, we have our very own Pepper B. doing demonstrations of how you can blend your skincare with your makeup for the ultimate healthy glow. She teamed up with Bloomsbury Square, a vegan skincare company, to give shoppers skin to envy. 


Bloomsbury Square was founded by Niambi. “I delight in making products that let nature do what it does best: nurture the body and mind” (source). Using their Featherlight Cucumber SkinNectar with Clary Sage + Geranium, Pepper blended the lightweight oil with a loose pigment to give me the melted peachy highlight of my dreams. I was already wearing makeup and thought that applying an oil could disrupt my “I ain’t woke up like dis, I worked for dis” makeup. Girl. When she finished blending my highlight, I was ready to do some serious exploring at the In Her Shoes Black Women Owned Holiday Bazaar. And off I went!


"Vegan, pure, affordable products inspired by indigenous herbalism and healing." Bloomsbury sq

Find more of Bloomsbury Square here!

Very early in the day, I found myself being pulled in by the force of a sheet mask. A black lace sheet mask to be exact! Eve Milan is a skincare company founded by an esthetician who has 10 years of experience to draw from (source). Eden Gilliam designed these sheet masks to be hydrating without the use of oils. Most sheet masks make you look pretty creepy. Eve Milan’s The Lacial Masque will make you look mysterious. 

"A 5-free skincare line designed to restore confidence back into your skin and give it a healthy glow without the use of harsh chemicals." Eve Milan NY

Find more of Eve Milan NY here!


Next, I headed to our friends over at The Lip Bar. This company is the brainchild of Melissa Butler, one of the 5 featured entrepreneurs in the She Did That film. While there, I met a blogger who loves this company as much as I do. She asked me why I liked The Lip Bar so much. I pointed to this poster and said, “That image right there.” Loyal meetpepperb.com readers must remember back when I reviewed their signature shade, Bawse Lady. I basically fangirled. The imagery used by The Lip Bar is untethered.

On a wall covered in beauty campaigns, The Lip Bar’s vision is striking and magnetic. I was thrilled to see that their table was swarming all day with shoppers ready to drop coin on their lipsticks!


Read Pepper’s interview of Melissa Butler here.


Read my review of the liquid matte lipstick in Bawse Lady here. And Amanda’s review of liquid matte lipstick in Man Eater here


“I am passionate about creating an inclusive narrative on what beauty is and reminding women that we don't have to settle for anything.” Melissa Butler

Find more from The Lip Bar here!


There was another friend of meetpepperb.com who was a vendor at the In Her Shoes Black Women Owned Holiday Bazaar. LIT Brooklyn is a homemade candle company founded by Denequa Williams. These soy candles are a favorite of our website. The scents Joy and Home were quickly added to my mental wishlist. Citrus scents give me life!

Read Pepper’s Interveiw of Denequa Williams here.


“Made from our homes to be enjoyed in yours.” - Denequa Williams

More from LIT Brooklyn here!


Jasmine Lawrence sought to remedy her damaged hair dating back to when she was 11 years old! (source). She’s a healthy hair guru prodigy! Lawrence created Eden Bodyworks. They had one of the most extensive lines of product to be featured at the Holiday Bazaar. They even had a range of products for kids. 


Eden Bodyworks distributed a bag of samples featuring a new product line scented with Almond + Marshmallow. Included in the bag was their Split End Repair Masque, Hydration Serum, and Therapy Leave-In Conditioner. I don’t know how Eden Bodyworks took two very sweet scents, almond and MARSHMALLOW, and somehow crafted something that doesn’t suffocate your nose. When I opened the products, I was very hesitant to give it a sniff test. I feared the worst. But I was very wrong. It smells amazing! Because I just have sample sizes, I am very hesitant to give our readers a review. I don’t think I can give an in-depth review the way I like to. However, if you are interested in hearing a ‘first impressions’ type of review, leave a comment saying so!

“EDEN BodyWorks™ provides natural products that integrate wellness and beauty inspired by nature to restore and maintain the hair and body’s original design.” Eden Bodyworks

More on Eden Bodyworks here!


FInally, we come to Limegreen. This skincare line prides itself on products that are multifunctional. Multi Oil, Multi Wash, Multi Spray, and even a Multi Candle - it’s bomb, too. Aromatherapy that melts into a massage oil so you can calm your nerves and soothe your muscles.


While speaking with one of it’s founders, I learned that this company was born from wanting to help a friend in need. Her friend was diagnosed with cancer. Cancer patients are restricted to what products they can use on their skin based on the treatment they could be receiving. She told me that one day after work, she decided to pop into Whole Foods to see what she can blend together to help her friend.

From there, giving relief to a friend, bloomed into a passion project that flourished into a business.


I took home with me a bottle of Limegreen’s Multi Oil scented with lotus. How great is this packaging! There is prideful showmanship in the way the box opens up like a door revealing what’s behind curtain number 1. While at the event, I tested the oil on my dry-growing out-bleached blonde hair focusing on my ends. Did this oil not make my hair look and feel like silk! I was impressed!


I have since tried it on my face, just once, though. You will get a full review in the future. It’s basically Winter, so my skin concern, along with the fading of my golden summer glow, is dry, flaky skin. Mostly on my forehead. When I applied the oil, I expected to have to add an extra drop to my forehead because it usually needs extra TLC. Not the case! My forehead did not feel tight or itchy and the best part is that my skin did not feel sticky or greasy from the oil! While the oil is marketed as a makeup remover, I don’t really see myself using it that way because the oil is kind of thick. Which is great for hydration, but I don’t love that for cleansing. I will test it out and write about it for a full review.

"Through natural, multi-use products, Limegreen aims to promote a lifestyle that is healthy for the body, sustainable for the environment, and unifying for people of all backgrounds." Limegreen

Find more Limegreen here!

There were so many more brands at the In Her Shoes Black Women Owned Holiday Bazaar. This event was an exhibit of the entrepreneurship of black women. Renae Bluitt shared a statistic that black women-owned businesses “generate $52.6 billion” (source). There was music, wine, artists, and there was even a proposal at the end! Congrats! Make sure you check out In Her Shoe Blog and keep your eyes open for the release of She Did That. Thank you for having us!

Full list of vendors here

It's holiday time! If you want to support more black women owned business, check out Renae's shopping guide.
In Her Shoes Shopping Guide: 75 Black Women-Owned Brands to Know, Love & Support here

Special shout out to my Kiss & Recharge Powerbank Luxe! Kept me charged and connected all day! Link to shop below!

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Why IT Cosmetics Challenging The Beauty Industry To Be More Diverse Is Absolutely Ridiculous

It’s absolute lunacy.


I have a question for Jamie Kern Lima. How did your images of beauty impact our mothers and our sisters, and how did they impact our daughters? What did you do with the power that is you? 

Founder of IT Cosmetics, Jamie Kern Lima, accepted the CEW Achiever Award and gave an acceptance speech which has gone viral. Kern Lima told the story of how her brand came to be. Despite being rejected by an investor who doubted she could sell beauty because she is overweight, she kept going. As a plus size girl myself, I felt empowered by her success! I did! She proved that age and weight cannot define beauty. After the success of IT Cosmetics, the body shaming investor emailed Kern Lima and admitted he made and mistake and congratulated her. That was some real fat girl vindication right there! 

Jamie Kern Lima goes on to challenge the beauty industry to change the images they use to market their products. As a consumer, I think she is right. I am so tired of false images of women being used to build onto my insecurities so they can sell products. I do want to see women like me, to see women like my friends, and people in my family to be the faces of the beauty industry. Kern Lima said, “I believe the most beautiful women are real. We come in all shapes. We come in all sizes. We come in all different hair textures, all skin tones. We come in all ages.” She wants the beauty industry to realize that the lack of diversity causes people to feel less about themselves. She ends with: "How will these images of beauty impact your mothers and your sisters, and how will they impact your daughters? ...What will you do with the power that is you?”

IT Cosmetics is pushing for diversity? The company who carries 7 shades of foundation. The shades that range from fair to medium. The company who carries 5 shades of light foundation and 2 shades of sorta brown -but on a day when you feel sick -shades of foundation. That is the company who congratulated itself for being diverse. The company that asked brands to look at images of beauty they put forward and change them to bring forth diversity. Jamie Kern Lima gave a speech about having a successful company because of the unique marketing tactic of featuring before and after images of real women. The thing is, ya’ll really left out a ton of real women.  

What actually happened, is that IT Cosmetics showed other beauty brands how successful a company can be without women of color with darker skin tones. That the exclusion of women with skin that is deeper than tan is worth a $1.2 billion acquisition. 

IT Cosmetics did not revolutionize the beauty industry. They capitalized on their target market. When you think of who buys IT Cosmetics, what comes to mind are women in their 40s, moms, small business owners, and executives. They sell an image of success. That is who they believe their consumers aspire to be. Their makeup isn’t glitz and glam. IT Cosmetics is neutral, it’s work wear, it’s great skincare. Let’s look at Urban Decay for their marketing and who their target audience is. Urban Decay is edgy, young, daring, and fearlessly colorful. Hiring actor Ruby Rose to be the face of their Vice Lipstick launch fit their mold. Ruby Rose embodied the UD image. That image is who their shoppers aspire to be. IT Cosmetics made their mold. Who fits in it and who doesn’t. They used target marketing to become successful. They didn’t have to spend money on pulling in different types of consumers. 

Jamie Kern Lima spoke about the models they hired and images they used highlighting real women. There was age diversity but that’s about it. IT Cosmetics didn’t need to hire young models because young makeup wearers don’t fear fine lines. They didn’t use editorially thin models because the average middle-aged woman is not supermodel skinny. IT Cosmetics doesn’t make complexion products for darker women. Dark women of color were not part of IT Cosmetics image of success. Or at least that is the message we received. 

Furthermore, the names they give their foundation shades are deceptive. For their foundation Confidence in a Compact, IT Cosmetics labeled the darkest shade 'deep.' However, the description of the shade is "rich tan." Deep or tan, it can't be both. 

(  source  ) These are 5 of 7 swatches of their Confidence In a Compact. As someone with a medium-tan complexion, I don't believe that of the shades a brand has available, that I should be able to use the deepest.

(source) These are 5 of 7 swatches of their Confidence In a Compact. As someone with a medium-tan complexion, I don't believe that of the shades a brand has available, that I should be able to use the deepest.

It’s astounding that IT Cosmetics sends PR packages to dark-skinned bloggers with the hopes of being featured for some low-cost advertising. They have the audacity to request PR from people who can’t even wear their complexion products. Here is the difficult spot beauty bloggers often find themselves in. Speaking up to defend themselves from a brand could mean missing out on getting PR. Those PR packages mean we can create for our followers without breaking our budgets. While as a blogger, I am grateful for any PR from any company. But never will I stay silent when something is as unconscionable as the exclusion of women of color. 

Women of color matter. We deserve to feel and be seen as beautiful. We should see ourselves represented in waves, not in puddles. Never doubt that we have the courage to speak up for ourselves and each other. You can not speak about diversity while excluding darker women.

In an interview with Allure, Jamie Kern Lima was asked if she received any backlash since her speech has gone viral. This was her response:

“Every time you do something brave in life, it always comes with haters and critics, and of course anytime you are fearless and speak up against the status quo, the same thing happens.”

It’s not ‘hating’ when you tell someone that you matter. If you truly believe in your message, you would not fear a critic. It’s not brave to be successful while excluding an entire population. And you did not stand up against the status quo. You were right next to them the whole time. 

See Jamie Kern Lima's full speech here. 

What are your thoughts? Has IT Cosmetics done enough to challenge the beauty industry on diversity?