In her last podcast episode, Formula Botanica CEO and Green Beauty Conversations’ host Lorraine Dallmeier spoke to Dija Ayodele, celebrated aesthetician and advocate for inclusivity and diversity in the beauty industry.
Dija’s recent book Black Skin: The Definitive Skincare Guide is a pioneering work that along with practical skincare advice for those of Black or darker skin tones tackles the issue of inherent inequality women of colour face as both beauty consumers and in the beauty industry itself. It is a must-read for everyone who wishes to see diversity in the beauty industry.
In this short Green Beauty Opinion, Lorraine follows up on her conversation with Dija to challenge us to not only listen and read about diversity and inclusivity, but also to act now to change the status quo on the discrimination women of colour face every day. Whatever our platform, we all have a chance to alter the narrative that has dominated society’s view of ideals in beauty for hundreds of years.Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Spotify Subscribe on YouTube
Don't pay lip service to diversity. @FormulaBotanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier @herbBlurb challenges us to use our platforms to break beauty's bias against people of colour. #diversity #inclusivebeauty #womenofcolour Click To Tweet
Inclusivity and diversity are words easily slipped into beauty industry discourse. While progress has been made there is a long way to go to erase societal conditioning about Black, Brown and other non-European/Caucasian skin tones.
Lorraine explains that at first she thought that as a white women of a privileged background she was the wrong person to talk about the struggles women of colour face. However, change needs all voices to participate and all of us to act if the beauty industry is to really drill down into why and how it not just historically, but also today still excludes people.
If we all use our platforms, whatever they may be and however widespread our communities, we can help break the bias the beauty industry perpetuates against people of colour. Not using our voices to effect change would be to do a disservice to them.
Diversity in the beauty industry: action is louder than words
Lorraine mentions just three of many glaring and deep-rooted examples of where diversity in the beauty industry is found lacking:
- Product design – as Dija highlighted in the previous podcast, people of colour are consistently underrepresented in the design stage, and certainly in clinical trials of beauty products. Without their say at these crucial early stages of development, it is inevitable beauty products will fail to speak to and include them. They are ‘designed out’ of products right from the start.
- Language – while beauty firms are clearly more sensitive now about how they use language, there are less obvious ways the industry perpetuates the inequalities. For instance, coily and Afro hair reflect less light and appear less shiny than straight. In much haircare advertising and many product descriptions, healthy hair is described as having shine. Hair health has nothing to do with shine, and so immediately we are airing the myth that one hair type is better than others.
- Beauty imagery – Lorraine points out that we still see the white aesthetic dominating in beauty imagery. In her experience of trawling stock libraries for Formula Botanica material, Lorraine has seen poor representation of people of colour yet this is one of the first areas in which the bias can easily and should be redressed.
In conclusion, Lorraine challenges us all to think about how we can use our platforms, whether in the workplace, socially, as indie beauty advocates, on social media or elsewhere, to call out the inequalities.
How will you use your platform as you move forward?
Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed listening, please share, subscribe and review this episode on iTunes, Spotify or Youtube so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.