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Markets & trends

How inclusive foundation stole the show in 2018

Cruelty-free makeup, magnetic eyelashes and CBD oil: these were just some of the major beauty trends of 2018. But the last 12 months belong, indisputably, to the humble foundation. This year saw a flurry of beauty brands finally address a lack of diversity across the industry, by expanding their foundation shade ranges to give shoppers of all skin tones more choice than ever before.

Foundation ranges expanded to include more shades this past year. - Photo : (...)

Foundation ranges expanded to include more shades this past year. - Photo : © VladimirFLoyd / iStock

The movement was arguably kick-started by Rihanna, whose Fenty Beauty debut collection was lauded for its inclusive 40-shade foundation range upon its launch back in September 2017. It didn’t take long for other brands to sit up and take notice: in May 2018, Tarte Cosmetics announced that it was expanding its ’Amazonian Clay’ foundation range to include 40 different skin tone shades, up from 25, with 10 of the new shades falling into the "tan to deep" range. June saw the cult brand Too Faced unveil the results of its collaboration with blogger and influencer Jackie Aina in the form of an expansion of its ‘Born This Way’ foundation by 11 shades, bringing the total to 35, while Estée Lauder boosted its ’Double Wear’ foundation range from 42 to 56 different hues over the summer.

There were also plenty of newcomers to the foundation sector that focused on diversity - Marc Jacobs Beauty launched its new "Shameless Youthful-look 24-h Longwear Foundation" in February with 29 different shades, with the brand proclaiming that the product "never appears chalky on camera or ashy on any skin tone." Natural beauty brand Lush Cosmetics tested out a foundation release in June, with a limited-edition 40-shade strong ’Slap Stick’ foundation collection, and NYX Cosmetics unveiled its 45-shade-strong ’Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ line in August, featuring a precise decimal labelling system that allows shoppers to choose both the perfect shade and undertone for their complexions. Revlon, meanwhile, upped its beauty game with the launch of a new prestige makeup brand, ’Flesh,’ over the summer, offering 40 shades of foundation.

So has the beauty industry resolved its diversity issues? Not quite, but this year has shown that brands are at least learning fast that, in this day and age, inclusivity sells. When Beautyblender made its first foray into the makeup industry in July with a 32-piece foundation line titled ’Bounce’, it was criticized for being too limited in terms of shade ranges. This month, the brand added a further eight shades to its repertoire. Here’s to a beautiful - and inclusive - 2019. 

AFP/Relaxnews

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