The Diversity Gap in Clean Beauty

LUV + CO. Editorial Assistant
By: Mariah McCauley

Growing up I used to believe that I would never be able to wear makeup. I remember going to the mall with my friends to visit beauty counters and stores. We would try on all the samples of lipsticks, blushes, eye shadows, etc., and by the end of the day my face would be swollen and covered in red hives. I have always had extremely sensitive skin and severe allergies which makes it very difficult for me to find beauty products that I can use. Most makeup and skin care products from mainstream brands are made with ingredients that I am allergic to or that are just plain toxic for the body. During the time that I began to start wearing makeup, these brands were all that was available, and so I thought I would never be able to be a part of the beauty world.


A few years ago my luck changed, as this was just around the time that the clean beauty community began to explode. Many women were becoming more conscious of the harmful ingredients in all of their beauty products and began to demand a safer cosmetics industry. Women like me with skin ailments and allergies finally began to feel represented and catered to in the beauty industry as more brands were created to address our needs. However, there was something missing. I began to notice all of the ads on TV. The posters in mainstream beauty stores. The perfectly curated brand pages on Instagram with clean minimal aesthetics and green accents. It seemed as though the only people that these new products were being marketed to were white women.


At first it wasn’t a huge deal. There were only a few brands at the time, and I was sure things would change. However, as the years went by and clean beauty became more mainstream, with a new brand coming onto the scene each week, one thing remained the same. Women of color were being left out of the clean beauty conversation. We were left out of the ads and influencer campaigns. We were even left out of the shade offerings in makeup as most foundation ranges ended at my skin tone or a shade lighter (as a Black woman I fall on the lighter end of the spectrum). Darker shades were completely ignored….except at a few indie clean beauty companies such as LUV + CO.


loose mineral foundation


The cosmetics industry has an ugly history of marketing beauty products with harmful ingredients and dangerous side effects to women of color. As a result, our communities have suffered from numerous health issues such as infertility, fibroids, alopecia, and even cancer. If there is any group of people that are most in need of clean and safe beauty products it is women of color.


It is because of this history and the lack of diversity in clean beauty that made me so excited when LUV + CO. was introduced to the market. I’ve been a fan ever since!  Finally, a clean color cosmetics brand, from its inception, that was made for us, by us! LUV fills the gap in clean beauty by making women of color the center of the brand, not tokens or diversity hires. This can be seen from all the packaging editions LUV has introduced over the last six years that included women of color (especially Black women) imagery.  All 18 shades of the Melanin Match Mineral Foundation are perfectly formulated to match our skin (undertones included). The same goes for the 12 colors of the Lip Glosses and 10 colors of the Moisturizing Lipsticks. No more seeing a pretty lip color and having to put it back after swatching a sample because it doesn’t look good on a Black woman. Most important though is that each and every product is not formulated with ingredients from the Gets NO LUV List:


 no no list ingredients


The month of June brought one of the most unprecedented times in our history. Black Lives Matter protests flooded each continent as the world witnessed the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many others. Social media exploded and with it brought a reckoning for systemic racism. No industry was safe as people called out the racist and anti-black practices in corporations. Clean beauty was no exception. Brands scrambled as consumers were quick to point out their non inclusive products, marketing campaigns, and Instagram feeds. Major retailers of clean beauty committed to the 15 percent pledge which called on companies to commit 15% of their shelf space to Black owned brands.


I hope that as the world changes, clean beauty changes with it. It is time for that image of exclusivity to end. It is important that we consumers in the clean beauty space not only hold white brands and companies accountable for their actions but to also support and uplift BIPOC creators, influencers, and entrepreneurs in the clean beauty industry. By supporting companies like LUV + CO. we ensure a diverse and inclusive industry because everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, deserves to have access to clean, healthy, and safe beauty.

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1 comment

  • I just started using your products last week. I have a lipgloss and lipstick and they’re both feel yummy on my lips. The colors, Magic and Brown Sugar Babe, are very complimentary even though I like a darker brown tone…I luv Luv&Co!

    Jacki Richardson

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