Black women report difficulty finding makeup in Brazil

Nayra Oliveira tries out makeup that matches better with her skin tone
Nayra Oliveira tries out makeup that matches better with her skin tone

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

From left to right, models Nerida Cocamaro, Mari Fernanda, Priscila Sena and Nayra Oliveira. They tested makeup for makeup for darker skin tones
From left to right, models Nerida Cocamaro, Mari Fernanda, Priscila Sena and Nayra Oliveira. They tested makeup for makeup for darker skin tones

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.

Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o
Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o

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.

Model Priscila Sena tested a base and her skin appeared slightly orange
Model Priscila Sena tested a base and her skin appeared slightly orange

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.

Mari Fernanda has kept a stock of bases since her 20s
Mari Fernanda has kept a stock of bases since her 20s

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.

Brands

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

About Marques Travae 3149 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.

10 Comments

  1. Nice to see dark skinned Brazilian woman. Too often the dark skinned Black woman is missing as one of the faces of Brazil.

    The prices quoted are indeed high. Well, even here in North America it took a very long time for makeup for Black women to be so wide spread. Even in the early 90s it was hard to find good products. This is a great opportunity for an enterprising person to link a deal with Iman to carry her products in Brazil and sell them at a fair price. Even better, for a Black woman in Brazil to create a line of makeup for Black women in Brazil and throughout South America. As they say necessity is the mother of invention.

    • I agree. A black woman should contact Iman’s corporation. Iman probably would be very flattered and happy to help other black women. Stop talking and do it!

  2. I think that we black women should rely on ourselves and create our own solutions instead of waiting for the powers that be (of the beauty industry) to so that for us. They don’t really care because they do not relate with black women’s beauty issues. So, if we want to be empowered, we need to be independent.

    • For those bw who are fortunate enough to have access to the U.S., come here and go to a beauty school. Learn the trade. Return home and make yourselves a fortune.

  3. I think that we black women should rely on ourselves and be the solution we want to see. We shouldn’t lament and expect the powers that be of the beauty industry to meet our needs. They can hardly relate to our beauty issues anyway. So, if we want to be empowered, we need to learn independence.

  4. Exactly. tridugyal. Ladies get together with family and friends and open your own beauty supply store. Import from the U.S. Many of you have family living in the U.S. they can help you order your products. It’s past time that black women step up.
    In the U.S. there are white women who darken their skin, enhance their lips and buttocks. We already have these great qualities. If black men can not appreciate them- then their are other cultures of men who knows how to appreciate our beauty.

    Sending you ladies love from the U.S.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.