Diversity has become a big talking point in beauty, with brands increasingly making it a part of their platforms. But the journey to this point hasn’t exactly been easy.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 4, celebrated makeup artist Pat McGrath revealed why she’s had to resort to using cocoa powder on her face. The 49-year-old British native reflected on her childhood growing up in 1970s in Northampton and how her mother would bring her to beauty stores to buy new products every week — something that ultimately led her to finding her own beauty line.
But “of course back then there wasn’t the colors that was right for dark skin,” she said.
Frustrated with the limited options, her mom would then conjure up a mixture of cocoa powder in the kitchen and emerge with the product all over her face. “[She would say] this is the right tone of powder. And she had dusted it on her face and looked amazing,” McGrath said.
This is also what jump started her own interest in beauty. “And that’s what I ended up doing as well, was making products that I needed backstage,” she explained.
The first product that she reportedly created was a moisturizer by blending oil and water, which she then refrigerated and applied on her own face and her “dolls.”
Although the advent of brands like Fenty Beauty and Huda Beauty have accelerated diversity and inclusion initiatives within beauty, the industry is still largely dominated by products that cater to lighter skin tones. But still with the likes of McGrath constantly pushing for a shift, things seem to be changing.
“We have models from all different social backgrounds, different weight, body types, different religious backgrounds, shows that are over 50 per cent women of color and it just wasn’t there for such a long time,” she said. “And now, it’s just so fantastic to see. Beautiful.”