L’Oréal addresses beauty’s inclusivity issue with new book

By Becky Bargh | Published: 16-Dec-2020

In partnership with Makeup Museum, the book looks at a history of beauty rituals of black, indigenous and people of colour

French beauty Goliath L’Oréal is addressing beauty’s notorious lack of inclusivity in a new book that celebrates beauty rituals of black, indigenous and people of colour.

Created in partnership with Makeup Museum, ‘Beauty Stories from Around the World’ is said to delve into beauty traditions that other history books have glossed over, all the way from ancient Egypt via the Renaissance period.

L’Oréal will also kick off a year-long digital series via Makeup Museum’s Instagram channel in celebration of the book.

“At L’Oréal, we believe that beauty moves the world, and we are proud to team up with Makeup Museum to bring a more inclusive view of the history of this powerful and positive universal quest,” said Stéphane Rinderknech, President and CEO at L’Oréal USA.

“I am inspired by this education initiative because it lifts up diverse voices to tell stories about beauty that deserves a larger stage and wider audience.”

A group of academics, anthropologists and researchers were curated to put the work together.

Beauty’s chequered past

In terms of inclusivity, the beauty sector does not come out smelling out of roses.

The sector has a chequered past when it comes to diversity and the sector has a long way to go to rectify its mistakes.

But change is afoot and while 2020 has put onus on the Covid-19 pandemic, the revival of the Black Lives Matter movement has given beauty an opportunity to make good on its past behaviour.

Following the death of George Flloyd in May this year, beauty brands flocked to financially support anti-racism charities and pledged their allegiance against racism by posting a black square for Blackout Tuesday.

In the weeks that followed, many began to acknowledge the lack of support for black-owned beauty businesses.

Sephora became the first beauty retailer to pledge 15% of its shelf space to black-founded brands as part of the 15 Percent Pledge movement, which is the equivalent of the black population in the US.

Meanwhile L’Oréal Paris set up its UK Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board to ‘influence and inform’ action plans against racism inside and out of the company.

As part of the board, the group rehired former brand ambassador Munroe Bergdorf after sacking her in 2017.

Bergdorf was let go shortly after her appointment for posting a controversial Facebook message in which she responded to far-right protests in the US.

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