Note from BW of Brazil: Over the past decade or so, along with the growth of the black middle class, the so-called “ethnic market” has heated up in Brazil with increasingly more products and events targeted specifically at persons who consider themselves negros or afrodescendentes. As more and more persons of a mixed race Brazil assume an identidade negra (black identity), they also want to have full access to personal items that are made for their specific physical characteristics and cultural tastes. For black women, besides exploring new ways of wearing and maintaining their hair after they decide to stop straightening it, this also includes finding cosmetics made for a wide range of skin tones. Although Brazil’s “ethnic market” has grown, this task is still a challenge for women who possess skin on the darker end of blackness.
Black women report difficulty finding makeup in Brazil
by Heloísa Negrão
A fictional scene: the winner of the Oscar for best supporting actress this year, voted the most beautiful woman in the world by People magazine and the cover of Vogue US edition this month, Lupita Nyong’o, comes to Brazil and forgets her case of makeup. She doesn’t have foundation, powder and concealer.
Buy products here would not be an easy task. Lupita would not find cosmetics for her color not even in the Lancome brand for which she is the cover girl. Lupita, incidentally, is the first black girl to become the “face” of the brand.
According to Lancôme, there are bases for black women for sale in Brazil, but some darker shades are only found abroad.
Services assistant Jaque de Paula, 27, of São Paulo, confirms that it is not easy to find the darker bases in Brazil, a country where 7.6% of people say they are preto (black) and 43.1%, pardo (brown), according to the last census of the IBGE (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística or Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics).
Therefore, many models end up working with a clean face. “In most jobs, makeup artists do heavier eye make-up, put on lipstick and are ready,” says Nerida Cocamaro, 22.
The model Mari Fernanda, 35, of the HDA agency, specializing in black models, has had a stock bases since her 20s. “It’s common that the base leaves a gray color in the face,” she says.
The models say that learned early to make blends to find their tone and keep a stock of different colors. The greatest difficulty is finding cheaper, domestic bases. The foreign brands that are part of the collection Jaque’s bases are also on sale in Brazil, but the price is higher: M.A.C’s base sales for R$119 (US$54) and at the Make Up Forever is R$177 (US$80). These two brands have the largest portfolios of basic colors.
“Recently I went to New York and stocked up on products. There, at any shopping mall or pharmacy there’s a shelf of products just for black skins. The stores here can’t compare,” says Jaque.
Priscila Sena, 34, also a model, says she no longer cares about the texture of the product or brand. “If I see that there’s a base in my color at the cosmetics store, I buy it,” she says. For black girls, it is also more difficult to choose the base by details such as the level of the skin’s oil, or other attributes, such as the presence of sunscreen and anti-wrinkle effect.
Boticário has no darker shades in its main line, Make B. The Quem Disse, Berenice? brand, of the same group and available for a few years, has a tone that resembles the skin of actress Lupita Nyong’o. Natura has a darker tone in the Aquarela line.
“These colors didn’t exist on the market until recently,” says Carolina Schomer, of Quem Disse, Berenice?, that participated in the creation process of the basic tone of the brand. According to her, it is common to find only two shades for black skin in the portfolios of the bases, and they are usually of low coverage.
Schomer says that darker shades are not the ones that sell. “Many girls are discovering and having access to these products now,” she says. “These bases sell less, but we see a growing demand.”
Avon claims that its line was revamped late last year, and the consumer may not know all the colors yet. “We re-released our entire line of makeup thinking about the skin of the Brazilian woman,” says a spokesperson of the brand.
“Nowadays it’s easier to find the right color foundation. I use two brands: one that sells in the pharmacy, cheaper, and one that I bought at the mall,”says Élida Aquino, 22, one of the authors of the blog Meninas Black Power.
She points out, however, that for girls with darker skin, the demand is still arduous. “But things are improving,” she says.
Source: Agência Acerte