Popular cosmetic brand CoverGirl is commendably encouraging the makeup industry to embrace diversity in their advertising campaigns. This change in perspective has been in high demand and the fact that societal norms of conventional beauty are finally being questioned is a huge victory. The makeup industry continuously lacks variety in the brand ambassadors that represent their products. A study by design firm Canva––reported by Refinery29––claims that when viewing makeup advertisements, consumers will see a “slew of almost-identical portraits that display similar hair colors, skin tones, and even facial structures.” Most of those portraits are that of white, celebrity women.
Although many may argue that this issue is not important, the lack of equal representation in the makeup industry has widespread effects.
Having only white, affluent women represent makeup brands can lead many young people to suffer from self-esteem issues. The models currently used by many brands create an unattainable level of perfection due to their celebrity status. Furthermore, there is a massive misrepresentation of consumers; people buying the products are highly diverse in age, race, economic status and gender.
Recently, however, the makeup industry has been making changes. “Instead of prescribing a one-look-fits-all approach, our favorite companies are reconsidering what it means to be truly inclusive in the beauty space,” Teen Vogue writer Sarah Wu said.
CoverGirl has effectively modified their brand’s advertising in hopes to change the way mainstream cosmetic companies are perceived. Their advertisements—and the models in them—are becoming increasingly representative of different groups of people.
For instance, the brand recently introduced their “So Lashy” mascara as part of a new “#LashEquality” campaign, which features a variety of brand ambassadors that differ from the usual white, conventionally attractive representatives. The hashtag “#LashEquality” is also being used to encourage the appreciation for all types of unconventional beauty within the industry.
The brand ambassadors for this specific campaign include celebrities such as Sofia Vergara and Katy Perry, but also some progressive additions. Arguably the most notable of these is 17-year-old high school senior and YouTube makeup artist James Charles.
The New York Times commented on the decision to utilize a male ambassador. “The selection of Mr. James by CoverGirl comes amid a broader questioning of traditional gender boundaries in fashion and beauty,” New York Times writer Valeriya Safronova said.
The makeup industry has previously ignored their male following and typically focused marketing on a female-only audience, therefore creating an unwelcoming environment for makeup-loving men within society. As a CoverGirl, Charles will now be a role model for males everywhere.
Another commendable addition to the CoverGirl ambassador team is Muslim beauty blogger Nura Afia. Afia said that she used to believe her hijab would hold her back because she rarely saw herself represented in advertisements, according to CNN. With her new role, however, Afia is optimistic about the positive effects that her representation as a minority will have.
“It means that little girls that grew up like me have something to look up to,” she said.
The inclusion of both Charles and Afia in the CoverGirl brand is an incredible step forward in the beauty industry. The publicity surrounding these models will allow many consumers to find worthy role models and to redefine their standards for beauty.
Other cosmetic brands should follow CoverGirl’s lead and continue to foster inclusion by showcasing a variety of models. In general, the industry has been corrupt for so long, profiting off the insecurities of individuals in creating unachievable beauty standards—this needs to come to an end.
With CoverGirl’s efforts, we can only hope that, one day, every young boy and girl can look up at a cosmetic billboard or makeup advertisement to see someone that represents them personally.