Rihanna’s new makeup line, Fenty, launched in September and 12 shades of their liquid foundation are sold out in the website.
Arizona State University student Eileen Hopkins, 24, wears makeup on a daily basis and is very demanding when it comes to the brands she chooses, since she looks for products that are cruelty-free.
Fenty does not test their products on animals nor do they use any animal-derived ingredients, according to People Magazine.
“I really loved the highlighter sets and wish they had in stock when I was looking at them in Sephora. I would be willing to look into their other products when I have more funds to be able to,” Hopkins said.
Besides being environment-friendly, Fenty has been getting a lot of publicity because it focuses on women of color, which have for a long time been ignored by the beauty industry. The company offers 40 different foundation shades.
Other competitors such as Mac and Kate Von D, which have been in the beauty industry for a long time, do not offer as many color options.
Mac has 17 different lines of foundation and BB creams but only offers on average 18 different shades. Kate Von D, on the other hand, has two different kinds of foundation and offers an average of 25 shades.
Mexican Makeup artist and owner of an Arizona local cosmetics company, Linda Valenzuela, explains that the biggest challenge in offering a large variety of skin makeup shades is price.
Having too many products in stock can be complicated because makeup is a product that eventually goes bad and she says that this can turn out to be very expensive, especially for small businesses.
She adds that makeup companies have to offer large variety of shades in order to fully assist consumers because of the large number of different skin tones.
“Like Rihanna’s collection, you have to have lots of shades to make girls happy because there are so many shades. And there are mixtures too. It’s not only African American by itself but it’s an African American mixed with an Anglo or with a Hispanic. And these mixtures also change the shade of the skin,” she said.
Monica Villalobos, vice president of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, says that cosmetics manufacturers tend to ignore women of color, especially Latinas. Even in a place like Phoenix where the Hispanic population make up for a large percentage of the population.
“Latinas account for more than 50 percent of all of the state’s estimated 123,000 Hispanic-owned businesses, which adds another $13 billion to the state’s economy in total gross annual receipts,” James Garcia, spokesperson of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said.
Based on her observations on beauty products available on the market and on the existing data on Latinas in the state, Villalobos believes that not only there’s a lack of shades for women of color but also in the kinds of cosmetics Hispanics are used to wear.
She says there’s not enough natural cosmetics available in the market targeted specifically towards Latinas, which she believes are also a group that have for years used natural products, such as coconut oil and aloe vera, to take care of their hair and skin.
Villalobos also said that Latinas are group more inclined to fix themselves up than others.
The 2017 DATOS publication, a yearly study of the Arizona Hispanic market, show that Hispanics were responsible for about 30% of the health and beauty items shopped online in Phoenix.
“Latinas spend more, they control the purse of the household. They have more surplus income, they over index in virtually almost every spending category. So yes, I think they’re ignored and I think it’s not only a disservice for the consumers but to the companies that miss out in this growing segment,” Villalobos said.
Having a Mexican heritage, Villalobos says that she has seen people that are close to her mix different products or different shades of the same product trying to find just the right color. That’s one of the reasons she said she wasn’t surprised that so many of Fenty’s shades were sold out.
Valenzuela says that she is trained to mix different shades and find each of her client’s right color. But she says she also understands the struggle of finding a good shade.
“For an everyday person, it is important to have just the right color because you don’t want to be mixing, sometimes you don’t have the time and sometimes you don’t how to either,” she said.