Why This Photo of Marc Jacobs Foundations Is Upsetting People

Photographic evidence of just how lacking Marc Jacobs’ foundation shade range really is. Photo: @mannymua733

Many women with darker skin can relate to the struggle of trying to find a foundation that actually matches their skin tone. Wherever they come from, whatever their race or ethnicity, many women of color can tell you when they shop for foundations, it can be a challenge as many brands overlook the diverse undertones and shades women with darker skin come in. 

The folks at Marc Jacobs Beauty inadvertently provided us with a friendly reminder of this sad fact after sending a package of its Remarcable foundation range to YouTube beauty guru MannyMua, who posted an image of his box of goodies to Instagram. “HUGE thank you to @themarcjacobs@marcbeauty for the amazing package! I literally use this foundation at every event/ meet n greet and I love it (great for oily skin and those who want full coverage) and now I’m about to mix some colors for my perfect shade,” he wrote excitedly.

Well, turns out Manny’s followers weren’t as impressed with the gift as he was. Many noticed that out of 22 shades, it seems that only three would match women with darker skin tones. We checked the Marc Jacobs website and it certainly looks like there are only three shades available for women of color who aren’t fairer skinned. And considering darker women come in various shades and undertones, we think it’s safe to say that a paltry trio of deep tones wouldn’t match that many dark beauties in the first place. Manny’s fans did not hesitate to voice their criticism on Jacobs’ woefully lacking shade range, and the photo of the foundation box has been plastered all over social media as yet another example of how some beauty companies continue to ignore women of color when it comes to their product selection. 

According to some commenters on Instagram, Manny responded to the controversy by taking to Snapchat to tell people not to get upset, as the frosted bottles made the foundations appear lighter. But we’re not buying it. It’s pretty obvious here the variety of colors for dark women here is lacking, as one commenter pointed out. “The bottles are frosty, yes, but it’s very, very clear that there are only 3-4 shades for POC if I’m being generous. Finding foundation as a black woman (or man) is incredibly difficult because of companies like this. Our skin has many different undertones and throwing 3 generic shades of brown out there and hoping for the best is unacceptable. Clearly Marc Jacobs understands undertones; he has 90 different shades of white there, but he couldn’t be bothered to make more than 3 for his black clientele?” 

The @blackgirlstips Twitter account got a hold of the image, using it to illustrate just how difficult it is for black women (and, we’d like to add, dark-skinned women of other races) to find a foundation. “How do you have 19 shades of pale and 3 random brown shades?” they asked.

And it’s not a black and white issue. Women of various races and ethnicities come in deep skin tones. They exist, have money, and want to spend it on a proper foundation. As one commenter on Manny’s page said, “I completely understand everyone’s point but not only black people go through this… I’m brown, Indian from the Caribbean and I’ve never gotten a perfect foundation match besides Lancôme. I tried Chanel, Dior, Tarte, you name it and nothing matched me so go figure.”

Of course, there are brands like MAC, Make Up For Ever, BlackUp cosmetics, Sacha cosmetics, IMAN cosmetics, CoverGirl Queen, and more who have a wide range of foundation shades. But too often, when shopping for foundation you will run into the above mentioned issue. Should fans of Marc Jacobs Beauty be overlooked when it comes to foundation, just because they have dark skin? Of course not. But it seems as if the cosmetics brand doesn’t care to accommodate a certain segment of the population, part of which has tremendous spending power. Sounds like bad business to us.

Darker women should and do patronize the brands that carry their shades, but they shouldn’t have to be so selective when trying to look for a foundation, just because the brand they want to buy from isn’t interested in catering to them. 

The fact is, if you can make 19 varying shades for lighter-skinned women, it can’t be too much of a stretch to come out with more options for the darker women buying your foundation. It’s also important to note that women with extremely pale skin also have a hard time matching foundations and are frequently overlooked by mainstream brands. But it appears Marc Jacobs took the time to cater to them here, so why not make the same effort for the other end of the spectrum?

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest for nonstop inspiration delivered fresh to your feed, every day.