A reader, Nitya, brought this subject up in the comments section, and I have to admit, it isn’t something I’d paid any attention to until now, despite consistently trying to push for more shade varieties that include women of colour. But now she’s said it, it’s been bothering me. And, it’s the fact that beauty brands are still using the term Shade Natural to descripe light coloured foundation. Clearly, it is only ‘natural’ for one section of society and as we are a global multi-cultural community, it’s completely inappropriate. Nitya commented, “naming any shade ‘Natural’ does a disservice to both fairer and darker women, who should not have to feel there is something unnatural about their skin colour.”
When I did my research on this, looking at brands that still use the term ‘natural’ to denote a fair skin tone, I could only come up with Max Factor and Boots 17 Photo Finish, although Maybelline use the term Natural Beige, as do some other brands with terms such as Natural Rose. Clinique have used ‘neutral’, which is inoffensive, and many brands, such as YSL Youth Liberator, and of course, MAC, use a number system.
When I looked at shade names, such as linen and caramel, they are descriptive of the colour, which is what you need in a foundation (easier to remember than numbers, as well) even if they are a little clichéd, but natural needs to go.
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