I recently read a well-written post by beauty blogger One Pence about a ethnicity-specialized makeup brand named Black|Up. She pointed out some discomfort she felt about certain features of this brand, which inspired me to explore this brand myself. While my opinions oppose those of One Pence, I respect her point of view and think her post was extremely well-written, with engaging tone and clear logic. Check out her post “Offensive or Not” here.
My Humble Opinion – Is it necessary to have Ethnicity-Specialized Makeup Brands?
I believe that America out of all countries have a need for more prevalent ethnicity-specialized makeup brands. These brands are both proud of the fact that they are making beauty products for minorities and aware of the unsuitability of most mainstream makeup brands for certain minorities.
The truth is, even for Asian skin like mine, which is objectively closer to Caucasian skin tones than African/African-American skin tones are, I had a lot of trouble with finding the perfect shade of foundation. I remember experimenting in middle school with drugstore foundations like Maybelline mineral foundation and matte dream foundation “creams” – they all turned out too pink for me. If you aren’t aware, pink and reds are a dangerous color for Asian skin tones, as it accentuates our natural yellow base and can make our face look swollen. Then, during high school, I decided to splurge on a high-end foundation in an outlet store, praying that more money spent meant better results on my skin. I was wrong. The lightest shade, labeled “porcelain”, made my skin look like I had a fake orange-hued tan. I was disgusted, not with the product, but with myself. My skin didn’t fit into drugstore or high-end foundation categories – is my skin that rare? This question immediately brought up another one: is my skin color not “beautiful” enough? Believe it or not, my the end of middle school, I convinced myself that American people like that orange-fake-tan look, and forced myself to wear that high-end foundation because I thought it was “beautiful”. Those times were not my proudest.
I wish I’d discovered a brand geared towards Asian skin tones that offered, like Black|Up mentions in their “About Us” section, “a true expertise answering darker complexion’s specific needs and offers products that pair professional quality and pleasure of use”. Instead, in high school I discovered Korean BB cream, which is hard to get in stores in the US – I have to go online or go to someplace in Asia. In sum, I fully support this brand based on my own struggles trying to be beautiful and embrace by ethnic origins at the same time.
My Humble Opinion – Is Black|Up an offensive name?
One Pence mentioned that the name of this brand might spur connotations of blackface and other racially charged concepts. I do appreciate the sensitivity that people are showing towards potentially racist connotations, but the name never personally disturbed me. I see the name as an empowerment vibe – going up and striving high on the beauty platform as a person with African/African-American origins. Because of the “|” that separates Black and Up, I didn’t interpret the name as having connotations of blackface (“blacking yourself up”), especially because the brand is not geared towards Caucasians.
That is the end of my little ramble. Do read One Pence’s post for a different opinion on this issue! Like this post if you agree with my opinions or generally support my raising awareness of this brand.