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Contoured, Highlighted And Bronzed: The Business Of Makeup47:08

Rihanna's Fenty Beauty brand has been praised for its wide range of shades.
Rihanna's Fenty Beauty brand has been praised for its wide range of shades.
This article is more than 1 year old.

Okay haters, the makeup industry isn’t frivolous.

It’s worthy of our time. For one thing, Forbes values the makeup industry at $445 billion.

And not only that, it can be a coping mechanism.

Here’s what Jia Tolentino wrote in The New Yorker:

Over the summer, in one of many small, ridiculous attempts to affirm to myself that I will outlive the Trump Administration, I decided to incorporate both retinol and sunscreen into my daily skin-care routine. Both were recommended to me last year by a dermatologist. Retinol is an anti-aging ingredient, and I flinched, a little, fancying myself too young, at twenty-eight, for the Sisyphean hobby of trying to halt the effects of time on one’s body…When my skin feels good, I feel happy: my skin is a miraculous six-pound organ that keeps my blood and muscle from spilling all over the C train, and I’d like to treat it well.

Rihanna’s Fenty beauty brand was praised upon its launch last year for including 40 foundation shades.

From Elle:

It was an unprecedented launch — brands often do shade extensions later — and makeup lovers sang her praises for creating a truly inclusive makeup line that catered to all women, men (see: Daniel Kaluuya), deeper skin tones, albino skin, and anyone who identified any way in between. The much-deserved excitement and joy sent a clear message to the beauty industry: Do better.

What’s going on in the beauty industry? How has social media affected makeup consumers?

And will we ever get to the bottom of how to do a perfect liquid eyeliner cat eye?


Tiffany Gill, Associate professor of history and Africana studies, University of Delaware; author: Beauty Shop Politics: African American Women’s Activism in the Beauty Industry

Jordyn Holman, Reporter, Bloomberg

Ofunne Amaka, Founder, Cocoa Swatches

Arshia Moorjani, YouTuber and beauty blogger

Krystal Robertson, Makeup consumer

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