Column by Urisha Blake: We’re too pretty for this!

Young Statian Urisha Blake writes in her blog ‘Island Gyal Chronicles’ about her every day experiences as a black woman living in Holland.

I am often confronted by my dark skin. Every time I go to the drugstore on the hunt for makeup products I am met with a new version of 66 Shades of Beige. The frustrating part of this is that I know that brands like L’Oréal and Maybelline actually make my shade in most of their foundation lines. Yet store like Kruidvat and Etos disappoint me without fail. In the Netherlands black women have to spend more money on their makeup because regular stores pretend as if we do not exist. Constantly being referred to department store brands is particularly upsetting because most students do not have Black Up, MAC and Lancome money. This raises an important question. Why do black people have to pay more to look and feel beautiful?

I do not want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but there must be a reason that stores do not answer my emails or questions when I inquire about their shade range. Tokos are stores that sell products from foreign countries and they charge for that service as exclusivity is usually synonymous with expensive. Women of color, especially black women pay more simply because they have no choice. If you work in an environment that pressures you to wear makeup you immediately have to pay more than your white counterparts and while this may seem like a small thing consider the fact that the odds are already stacked against young black women. Does an up and coming stewardess who already had to take a maximum student loan need this extra bill? Probably not. If you are wondering why the black girl took the maximum student loan it is because she did not have the chance to live with her parents since she left them back in the Caribbean where she could not go to college because her island only has 4000 people. Still think that the system isn’t working against colored women? Read on.

Products for oily skin are hard to find and guess which ethnicity generally has oily skin? You guessed it! All the rich, deeper skintones. There is something to be said about systematic racism and that is a completely different subject but it cannot be a coincidence. One might say that there is no market for drugstore makeup because black girls in the Netherlands only shop at Douglas and ICI Paris XXL (Dutch versions of Ulta/Sephora). The reason for that has nothing to do with our preferences and everything to do with drugstores refusing to carry our shades. Now as a makeup lover I am aware of the problem that my paler friends have because brands also forget about them when making foundations and stores definitely do not order for them. IT SUCKS! However I think it wrong of us to point fingers towards our paper white ladies when an entire race is left out. Any shade of brown is not welcome. That is the message stores like Kruidvat send and I am grateful that online stores like The Makeup Spot and Boozy Shop exist. I just wish they weren’t just online so that we could go and swatch before we buy. The makeup industry is rigged against black women and in the Netherlands it is horrible!

Here are the facts. Brands like L’Oréal and Maybelline do not make sure that their entire shade range is available to countries they sell to. I have emailed time and again to no avail. So I am writing a blog now in hopes that someone will listen and that they will care. Brands need to be here for us, every shade or us. Whether you are as pale as NikkieTutorials or as dark as Nikki Perkins we all deserve better. We are too pretty for this shit!



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