Where is my shade? - Beauty Activist


In this ID special Model and Beauty Activist Philomena Kwao explores and shares her struggles of finding the right shade of make up for her skin tone. And she is not alone! Its 2016 and black fashion models still carry their foundations in their bag to set and I am one of them. I used to back in the day come with my base already done as I found out that many MUA's didn't have the right shade. (And let me not get started about the different undertones that we have us black girls have.) Nowadays I take a "risk" and go to set bare face and it has gotten a little bit better but the fear is still there. For me my fear no.1 is more about the lack of knowledge on Afro/Black hair on set. Also another reason why I work with so many wigs. More about that in another blog coming up soon. The fear of make up on the job come at no.2. I trained myself to learn how to look my best with my hair and also my make up. But what can you do when you don't even have the basic tools eg foundations, concealers, powders and so on.

Philomena goes in to different drugstores and swatches the foundations in their darkest shades.  Showing the lack of brands that cater to darker skin tones. But she also speaks to people who have taken matters in their own hands and started to create. Speaking to London based cosmetics entrepreneur Florence Adepoju who made products catered to women of colour. See her site for more info on her products www.MDMFlow.com

Myself and ladies of colour can relate to using and owing some Fashion Fair and Black Up. When I was younger I remember walking in North London to my local Boots and seeing a whole Fashion Fair stand. I was in heaven!  

Philomena then met up with legendary supermodel & beauty pioneer Iman. Going back a few years I even remember going to the library when I was living in Southend and reading Iman's book "The Beauty of Color". Seeing such a variety of beauty in different shades, hues and tones and that beauty truly comes in more shades than one. More on Iman's Cosmetic products on her site: www.Imancosmetics.com


The interview scratches the surface of a deeper issue at hand. The lack of beauty products aimed at darker skin tones. There are a few products that have realised this issue and are trying. For example L'oreal's True Match 'Super Blendable Make up' foundation reaches to a beautiful W10 shade. Which is rare for a drugstore brand however that shade is only available selected drugstores in the US. I am disappointed because you can't find that foundation type on the UK site. However they have the L'oreal True Match Liquid Foundation which goes up to a C10 C for cool but doesn't do the W for Warm thats available in the drug store in NYC. 


I have know Philomena for many years and I have friends and family members that are darker than me and I see the struggle of finding make up that works for us. Not just the right foundation but little things such finding the right nude or a simple pink lip. And we can go on and talk about different shades of nude underwear and tights, which have made a huge change over the year in providing different shades for different tones. 

Beautiful in every skin tone 

Beautiful in every skin tone 

Hopefully documents like this will have people/companies/websites talking and realising that theres still a high demand for more shades and variety of cosmetic products. Lets keep our eyes open for a change to come. 

Here is the full special: 


Until next time


XO Rose