Over the past decade, the beauty industry has begun to embrace inclusivity in its marketing and its products. But with the emergence of the conversation about inclusivity has come a wider definition of what that actually means. Let’s look at 5 brands that have taken the ‘beauty for all’ message to the next level…
BY THE ROAM TEAM 5 MIN READ
The fact or policy of including everyone, no matter who they are or how they identify, and giving all people equal access, opportunity and resource.
The famed name in the inclusivity game, Rihanna’s brand Fenty can be said to be the kickstart that makeup houses needed as far as foundation shades. Embracing all ethnicities, skin tones, and skin types, Fenty tackled colourism in the beauty industry by launching 40 different shades of foundation and concealer, which was later expanded to a range of 50.
But they didn’t just add pigment to lighter shades, as was the norm before. Instead, they produce well-formulated foundations that take different undertones into consideration. Other beauty houses followed suit as a result, and the industry underwent a significant transformation.
Even though it launched just 6 years ago in 2017, Fenty is a figurehead brand that started up the well overdue discourse on the Eurocentric beauty standard in the industry. Rihanna doesn’t stop at foundation, though. Her lingerie line Savage X Fenty is modelled on a range of models of different ages, genders, ethnic backgrounds, and body types.
Fenty has never included the word ‘inclusivity’ in its marketing; the products speak for themselves. From production to advertising, it’s thoughtful, artful, and sexy, while recognising that ‘sexy’ is by no means a narrow category.
Humanrace is Pharrell Williams’ take on wellbeing and self-care for all. Founded in 2020, the brand offers skincare, homeware, footwear, and apparel, but it’s the skincare element that’s really exciting.
The male-owned brand flies in the face of the harmful stereotype that men can only use fairy liquid and 7-in-1 products to look after their skin. Pharrell has been very vocal about the brand’s emphasis on self-care rituals for all people (hence the name).
Gender neutrality in skincare has long been overlooked. Biologically speaking, male and female skin is more or less the same, so the gendered marketing of skincare makes no sense. Humanrace’s vegan, cruelty-free products come in refillable packaging made of recyclable material. It looks sleek, sophisticated, easy to use, and, most importantly, non-gendered in its appearance.
Pharrell’s brand emphasises routine for the sake of self-care, and views the outer body as equally important to the face. The idea is that we look good so that we can feel good, and feeling good isn’t always about appearance. Humanrace promotes gender-neutral skin care as an act of self-love, an outward expression of inner wellness, not just a purely aesthetic goal.
Founded and owned by transgender POC influencer and makeup artist Nikita Dragun, Dragun Beauty was launched with the aim of creating a trans-inclusive space in the makeup industry, and sending a message that counters the brutality and injustice faced by the transgender community.
Launched in 2019 and said to be ‘on hiatus’ in early 2023, the brand has made its comeback and now has several retailers stocking Dragun’s popular products. Despite the rocky start, Dragun Beauty is a trailblazer of trans inclusivity in the industry.
Dragun has said that she wants to reach a point where inclusivity is no longer lauded and applauded, it’s simply a given. It’s bizarre that in 2023 a trans CEO and business owner is a ground-breaking game changer. But a game changer Dragun is, inspiring young trans men and women with her business prowess and success.
Parade offers gender expansive underwear with sizes ranging from XS to 3XL. They specialise in making practical, comfortable underwear that doesn’t conform to gendered definitions of look or feel.
The brand takes typically ‘feminine’ styles like thongs and high rising pants and models them on genderqueer/gender non-conforming models to exemplify that aesthetic preference shouldn’t be based on binary beauty standards.
Too often, underwear is produced to cater to a highly specific (usually unrealistic) body type. It centres sexiness and aesthetics (which we love!) but then ignores functionality. Parade knows that the first step to feeling good in your body is wearing clothes that fit your body. Practicality and sexiness combined: what more could we ask for?
Kohl Kreatives is a makeup brand that believes in disability inclusivity. For a long time, the beauty industry hasn’t paid enough attention to those with disabilities, and Kohl changes that. Their Flex collection features makeup application tools for people with affected motor skills.
The range includes makeup brushes with easy grip handles and fully bendable heads for more functional makeup application. The line also carries chunky mascara wand add-ons for people with unsteady grip or shaky hands. To add to the handiness, the brushes bend all the way backwards and forwards and stand up on their own.
Kohl has taken huge steps when it comes to accessibility in makeup. It recognises that makeup is a powerful confidence building and identity building tool that allows people to look more like how they imagine themselves, and extends this power to the disabled community.
In 2023, there is still a lot of work to do when it comes to making the beauty industry more expansive. The sex care category in particular is falling far behind, which is why here at Roam, we take pride in concentrating on constantly improving our products to make them as accessible and enjoyable for everyone. In the meantime, we can also all recognise and support the brands that have started implementing strategies for inclusivity. We’ll take any excuse to fangirl over Rihanna…