Inclusivity within the beauty industry should be the norm, but sadly, we’re still throwing parties for the few that get it right. But if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that societal beauty norms are finally, slowly but surely being deconstructed. Makeup brands are expanding their shade ranges and models aren’t exclusively a size 2.
Beauty insiders are finally realizing that success isn’t solely dependent on top-notch formulations; it should also cater to people of all shapes, sizes, styles and shades. There’s still a long way to go, but these 7 brands are giving us hope and leading the charge. Ahead, see what made them such standouts in 2017.
From the moment we first saw ads for Rihanna‘s highly anticipated Fenty Beauty line, we knew it would be a hit, much like everything else the record-breaking singer touches. But beyond her obvious star power, what makes the brand so groundbreaking is its effortless approach to ensuring that men and women of all shades and backgrounds are included. From dark-skinned beauties like Duckie Thot to fair faces like Selena Forrest, the gamut of products—including a 40-shade foundation range—prove that there’s truly something for everyone.
The makeup brand, whose roll-on products have made it easier than ever to apply powder and cream formulas, has always done a good job of showcasing a wide range of beauty through its ads. But this year, it upped the ante with its “Blur the Lines” campaign. The project, done in collaboration with the grooming site Very Good Light, was created to celebrate gender fluidity and freedom through cosmetics. It featured a slew of beautiful (and, of course, diverse) faces, including Avie Acosta and Eddy LeRoy.
In September, the affordable beauty brand ventured into new territory by casting a model with albinism in a makeup campaign; a first in the cosmetics industry. Diandra Forrest, who has long been a regular on and off the runway, was the face of the “Breaking Beauty” collection, with the intention of deconstructing the mainstream ideals that encourage us to hide what makes us unique. In the accompanying ads, she was joined by two other groundbreaking women; Valentijn de Hingh, a transgender model, DJ, and writer, and Mama Cāx, a cancer survivor and amputee activist.
This widely lauded beauty brand, known for its customizable coverage, championed diversity this fall with the “Nude is Not Beige” campaign. Besides promoting its best-selling Natural Finish Foundation, the monumental moment also marked the launch of the brand’s online shade-matcher, which allows customers to have their skin tone analyzed and paired with their best foundation shade. But overall, the initiative provided a much-needed reminder that any and every shade of skin is beautiful.
We’re well acquainted with the set of harmful ingredients often found in nail polishes, but this year, Orly took things a step further for its Muslim customers. The popular brand teamed up with the website Muslim Girl to release a six-piece collection of nail colors, all halal-certified and water-permeable. It marked the first time a beauty brand had created something that specifically caters to Muslim women. And besides the safe ingredients, the colors are beautiful, too.
In March, a slew of standout beauties, including “Melanin Goddess” Khoudia Diop and blogger Jessica Wang, teamed up for Make Up For Ever’s “Blend In, Stand Out” campaign. The brand, whose 40-shade range Ultra HD Foundation is a cult favorite, brought these influencers together to “create their own rules of diversity and inspire others to do the same. The ads, which featured each person individually and as a collection, proved that the brand’s products truly do include all shades and styles.
Our favorite millennial pink brand has never made a big deal out of featuring women of all shapes and sizes, and 2017 was no different. Besides the debut of its first-ever fragrance, “Glossier You,” the start-up also launched a breathtaking campaign for its Body Hero products, which featured a diverse range of body types, from the then-pregnant Olympian Swin Cash Canal to model Paloma Elsesser (who’s also a part of the Fenty Beauty crew). By featuring all these women in its ads, Glossier showed that you don’t need to look a certain way to use their products; rather, all are welcome.
We can’t wait to see what all of these all-star brands do in 2018.