Have you ever been in a store looking for Black beauty products and couldn’t find them? I know I have. From shampoo and conditioner (especially after “The Big Chop”), to make-up and moisturizer, it’s not difficult to end up looking like a dusty Chia-Pet with an attitude if you forget your beauty products at home while on vacation.

Excuse the bad memories.

At the 2012 WWD Beauty CEO Summit, former long-legged cat-walker turned executive, Iman, says that she feels our pain and is equally tired of the beauty segregation that seems to be an ugly characteristic of many major retailers. She pulled no punches taking behemoth corporations such as Wal-Mart, Target and Walgreens to task for not being more in tune with the beauty needs of women of color:

“I have customers from all over the world that look for the products, but I also have customers in the U.S. that can’t find the product in a store near them,”she revealed.

She also shared the reaction of some retailers when she was shopping around her brand:

“Oh, black women don’t buy liquid foundation, right?” Wrong. We do and will continue to as long as more brands start offering shades for women of color,” said the former supermodel.

Her observation about the perception that women of color do not wear liquid foundation really struck home for me. To be honest, I never did delve into liquid because I feared looking like a breakfast pancake — in late afternoon; instead, I opted for a good moisturizer and light face powder to control shine. But one day, I found myself curious after seeing a commercial (which craftily featured a black woman) super-excited about “true-to-life’ shades that promised “a perfect match.”  Not only that, it also promised moisturization and shine control.

This was it, I thought, a win-win and my intro into the liquid family! Wrong.

Being the fair-skinned woman that I am, I found myself standing next to a white woman in Wal-Mart who barely suppressed a chortle while trying — and failing — to help me find a shade that didn’t make me look like either a Japanese Geisha Girl or an Oompa-Loompa.

This and other reasons are why I applaud Iman for standing up for black beauty products. With the purchasing power of African-American consumers projected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, black women can no longer be ignored. And it shouldn’t take a cab downtown and a trip on the Underground Railroad to fulfill our basic beauty needs.

Weigh in Clutchettes: What’s the one “Black Beauty” product that you can’t live without?



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