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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Why don’t you have my shade?

February 16, 2022

When I set out to write this article I thought, would it even be relevant considering the strides that have been made in recent years with respect to representation? Well, I was wrong to doubt myself. Here’s why.

I have been seeing powder foundations taking Instagram and TikTok by storm. This really appealed to me because I have oily skin and oily skin + powder = makeup that won’t budge. I came across a product on IG reels called the:  L’Oréal Infallible 24H Fresh Wear In a Powder Foundation, Waterproof Matte Finish. People really seemed to like it. So, the next time I was at the store, I made a mental reminder to check out the makeup section and see if I could find it. 

I found it all right, and this was the darkest shade:


To be fair, after looking online, they do have a larger shade range than that. But the shades sold at the store I was at stopped at 220 Sand.

I guess because it has been going viral they were sold out of most shades so I couldn’t even get the darkest one available, instead, I had to go with 140 Golden Beige (which is not my shade). This is why I’m writing this article. 

The problem 

Drugstore makeup is such a valuable commodity. It allows those who cannot afford the high-end brands to enjoy affordable and (for the most part) quality products. However, it has never fully catered to the array of beautiful skin tones we see in the world around us every day. The majority of the foundation, concealer, powder, etc. shades available fall in the fair, light, and medium categories. As the shades get darker, the less variety there tends to be and as a woman of colour, this is frustrating. 

As a teenager I loved makeup! I struggled with acne and makeup gave me the confidence to deal with it. But, at that age, I didn’t have the kind of money you’d spend at Sephora. So, I had to work with drugstore products and it was brutal. I could never find something to match me. It was always too orange or too light. Once I was able to buy high-end makeup I never looked to the drugstore again for complexion products. 

This is the problem. 

I should be able to walk into any space and feel represented. I should be able to walk into the drugstore and find a foundation shade that matches me. There have been so many cool drugstore releases that I’ve wanted to try but I couldn’t because there just wasn’t going to be a shade that worked for me. 

Progress: The Fenty Effect

Looking back, 2017 seemed to be the biggest year for inclusivity in makeup. Most notably with the launch of Fenty Beauty by Rihanna. She launched a foundation that came in 40 shades [1]. This has since been increased to 50 shades which also applies to other launches in the brand.  

 Thus, the “Fenty Effect” began as many brands began to follow suit. That’s not to say that Fenty was the first brand to put out a diverse shade range. Some of the pioneering brands listed by Elle include, “M.A.C had 43 existing shades of its Pro Longwear Foundation when Fenty launched. Maybelline expanded its Fit Me line of foundation by 16 shades in May 2017, bringing the total up to 40. Plus, Make Up For Ever's Ultra HD Foundation dropped back in 2015 with 40 shades.”, and CoverFx [1].

Reading that quote was so eye-opening to me because M.A.C, Maybelline, Make Up For Ever, and CoverFx were all brands I used before 2017 because they were the ones with a wide enough shade range for me to choose from comfortably. 

Since then, I feel like the game has changed for complexion products as the Fenty Effect has created a new standard for diversity in shade ranges. 

Brands to support 

As compiled by Style Democracy, here is a list of 10 Of The Most Inclusive Beauty Brands To Shop. These are all brands that you can find in Canada as well! 

In addition 3 of my personal favourites not mentioned on this list are: 

Advocates on Youtube 

I love watching Youtube makeup tutorials and reviews. I especially enjoy hearing the perspectives of people of colour and their honest thoughts about diversity and representation in the beauty industry. Here are some of my favourite Youtubers to follow: 

Jackie Aina 

Nyma Tang 

Deepica Mutyala 

Nabela Noor

Overall, has there been progress? Yes! Do we still have a long way to go? Also yes. I sincerely hope that one day I can walk into the drugstore and not have to look the other way at a brand because they don’t have a shade remotely similar to mine. That will be the day that drugstore makeup redeems itself in my eyes.