Why ColorIQ and Virtual Try-On Is Important

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This post is slightly relevant to current events, but I figured I would go about it in an indirect way to give us all a break from the rest of the world. It goes without saying that there is some serious overall tension between racial and ethnic groups, but I am hoping to provide you with an optimistic/hopeful take on what is going on.

During this past semester, I did what I had formerly thought was the unthinkable: I started wearing makeup. Now, for most of you, if not all, this probably isn’t a big deal to you by any means. It was huge for me because until June 2016, I was adamant about not ever wearing makeup unless deemed “absolutely necessary.” I don’t know what triggered it, but I just changed my mind one day. And since then, I have developed an almost obsessive love for the makeup world with my go-to source being Sephora. I’m about to go on a rant, but we’ll come back to Sephora. Don’t worry.

I’m about to say something that is fairly obvious to you when you see me: I am a black woman. Being a black woman comes with a tremendous amount of difficult obstacles, which, sadly, are present in the world of makeup.

More and more, people are speaking up about the lack of variety in makeup products for people with darker skin tones. If you were to look up foundation right now, you are more likely to find your perfect match if you have a lighter skin, while those of us with darker skin tend to feel like we’re looking for a needle in a haystack. What usually ends up happening, unfortunately, is we have to buy 2-3 brands of foundation and mix them to get the perfect shade. You can expect me to not pay for that.

There has also been some serious backlash from models with darker skin. Models with darker skin have been told to bring in their own makeup to accommodate the fact the makeup artists do not have makeup that works for them. In some cases, models have had to apply their own makeup because the makeup artists didn’t know to “adapt” to the darker skin tone. Really?

The other issue I have is the fact that a lot of the black models I see tend to have makeup that looks like this:

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, these women are absolutely stunning, but I am not the kind of person who is into these bright colors. I personally don’t appreciate it when someone recommends I purchase an orange lipstick solely for the fact that my skin tone gives the orange an extra pop. I’m not here to be striking or to stand out any more than black skin calls for, I’m just trying to look as normal as possible. Just like almost everyone else that I know.

And it doesn’t help when companies like ColourPop release a new line of makeup that essentially insults darker skin tones. Names like “Yikes” and “Typo” are quite offensive and thankfully, people felt strongly enough to speak up about it and get an apology from the company. Baby steps, right?

Enter Sephora. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Sephora is basically heaven for the majority of makeup consumers. Sephora is basically the GameStop of makeup. All the major products from all the major brands all in one place. What more could you ask for? Well, Sephora answered that question when they launched their in-store ColorIQ service and online Virtual Product Try-On. Let me explain.

ColorIQ

For the people who have the time and energy to go to a Sephora store, you can have your face scanned and matched to a specific ColorIQ. From there, the database matches you with face and eye makeup products sold by Sephora.

 

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I, personally, am a huge fan of this because it helps me narrow down my search for the perfect foundation, bb/cc creme, and concealer that I want and/or need. More than that, Sephora does this for you for free. Like I said, what more could you possibly want?! Well, for starters, I would actually like it if they expanded the service into more makeup products such as eyeshadow, lipstick, contour, and highlighter. I’m assuming they’re working on it while I type this.

Virtual Try-On

This is for the lazy people such as myself. I have no shame. When I get bored, instead of binge watching Netflix, I go on Sephora and just browse through their products until I just can’t browse anymore—usually because it is extremely dire that I return to my homework. Again, no shame.

 

 

The Virtual Try-On is fantastic for those who love lipstick and lashes. Sadly for me, I’m only drawn to lipstick. You can choose between the faces of different models or upload your own photo to see how a specific lip/lash brand and product will look on you/the model.

Why am I appreciative of Sephora? I think it goes without saying, but in a day and age where it feels like everywhere I turn, I am constantly being told that not only am I forgotten, but I don’t belong nor am I wanted. So, when I see a big company like Sephora have products that work with my skin tone, let alone have an entire service dedicated to showing me the products that they for me. It makes me feel special, and I don’t get that a lot, so I’m taking what I can get. I suppose you can think of this as a post about a business making digital/technological upgrades with a hint of social justice.

So, at the end of the day, I hope that this post provided you with some insight on a topic you might not be too familiar with. And even more than that, I hope you enjoyed the read. Thank you for making it through!

3 comments

  1. Really interesting post! As you can imagine, I am not all that familiar with makeup. My experience has largely been limited to watching a girlfriend put on makeup in the past. I even encouraged any girls I dated to not feel pressured to put on makeup, so I was drawn in by your change of heart. It is fascinating to me that you transitioned from using no makeup at all to be engulfed in a whole new world/experience. I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this transition and your changed perspective. It’s also shocking to me that when you arrived in this world, there weren’t the right tones available. I always felt that businesses operating in their best interest would cater towards customer needs, and money from a minority group is no different anyone else’s. On the virtual try on, I always have skepticism of a computers ability to accurately portray colors in a realistic manner, do you feel that it actually works accurately?

  2. mikeknoll98 · ·

    I’ll put my cards on the table and say this has never crossed my mind. As a caucasian male nothing like this has ever applied to me and this article actually blew my mind. I admire what Sophia has done and I think we need to start to see other big name brands move in this direction, to make all customers feel equally represented and wanted! Also after reading this, now if I ever go to buy makeup for someone I will use the ColorIQ and Virtual Try-On features to try and buy the best gift. Thank you for this insight into your world!!

  3. I absolutely love Sephora’s ColorIQ (so I’m super happy to see someone write about it haha!). As a colored woman myself, I have yellow undertones in my skin and constant changes in the color of my skin (due to natural tanning in the summer) that make it difficult for me to find a proper foundation shade that’s not catered towards Caucasian women. It was totally cool during one of my visits to have a Sephora associate hold the ColorIQ device to my face and find perfect matches for me. I almost always use the ColorIQ when I’m at Sephora, but I’ve never heard of the Virtual Try On feature so that’s something to definitely check out next time!

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