Kudos to these beauty brands for celebrating diversity

Kudos to these beauty brands for celebrating diversity

True colours

Text: Renée Batchelor

Image: Fenty Beauty

Are we making strides or is it all for show? Whatever your feeling, here are the brands that are trying to make a dent in the diversity argument

Diversity has been a buzzword in fashion and beauty for some time. And while we the world is still wrapping its (collective) head around things like body acceptance, loving your natural hair (hey Meghan Markle!) and even letting men wear women's clothes, let's agree that some steps have been made in the representation of women in advertising campaigns and visuals. Remember that diversity is not just about showing different skin tones, but also women (as well as men and the gender fluid) of different ages, skin types, hair and body types, who may or may not have freckles, tattoos, coloured hair and the like. Here are some beauty brands that have done well in that regard.

The first brand to give models like Duckie and Slick Wood (famous for her gap teeth and shaven head) a try. Queen Rihanna takes the cake and everything else for featuring a diverse slew of beauties — both models and real women — in her campaigns and on Fenty Beauty's Instagram. Notice how after Fenty Beauty, all the brand's Instagrams are beginning to reflect women of colour?


While Marc Jacobs Beauty has been making its mark (as of late) with youthful, teen model Kaia Gerber, it was one of the first major brands to showcase a mature women — the beauteous and talented Jessica Lange, no less — in its makeup campaigns. The diverse mix of beauties repping for the brand in the past and present include Winona Ryder and Adwoa Aboah. And reps from the brand tell us that Jacobs himself handpicks his muses, with the help of industry pundits like mega stylist Katie Grand.


Who would've thought a brand which was founded in the 1960s would be one of the most forward-thinking when it came to representation. Among its firsts, signing on a male spokesperson, James Charles, in 2016 and featuring a model with vitiligio in 2018.


A shoutout to Dove for being one of the few brands to show body diversity and acceptance with its real women campaign that showed women of all complexions and sizes. Not all of what its done have worked — remember the controversial advertisement that started some furor over alleged racism? But overall it has started the conversation and gone where few brands — content to show sleek and idealised versions of women — have dared to go.


We can't leave M.A.C out of this list, as it was among the first to feature a drag queen fronting a lipstick (RuPaul for Viva Glam) and has long been a champion of fighting AIDS with the M.A.C AIDS fund. Plus they were the brand to really bring out foundations of every shade back in the day, when it wasn't popular to do so. The bandwagon? This brand pretty much started it.


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