People of colour are used to having their skin described as food items. We’re mocha. Caramel. Chocolate.
Arguably, this was okay back in 2003 when there were only about three shades for anyone darker than alabaster and the beauty industry hadn’t had its Fenty revolution yet.
However, in today’s day and age, naming every darker shade after something edible seems backwards to say the least – particularly when it’s done by a company which specialises in ‘showcasing the latest makeup swatches on underrepresented complexions’.
NYC-based beauty company Cocoa Swatches released a picture of a 35-shade foundation palette, ranging from very pale to deep brown. And while the selection of shades was great, the names that accompanied the colours left a lot to be desired.
The lighter hues were called things like ‘cloud’, ‘pearl’ and ‘warm nude’. As soon as the colours became browner, the names changed to ‘honey’, ‘butter pecan’ and ‘tiramisu’.
And you know, people weren’t here for having their skin described as a dessert.
In fact, one Twitter user suggested that if the company insisted on naming darker skin tones after sweet treats, then they should also rename their lighter selection after pale foods:
Because it’s not just an innocent way of describing colour; food is something you devour, something you buy and consume.
Beauty brands have a duty to ensure that their products are empowering, both in their ranges and their marketing strategies – which makes this food-based fetishisation of skin tone seem way out of touch.