Its about damn time.

It was a turning point for the makeup industry when Fenty Beauty released their 40-shade foundation line, catering to the wide variety of skin tones out there that other makeup brands have long since ignored. In that short time, makeup has come a long way in terms of inclusivity and diversity, but the skincare industry lagged behind.

However, although skincare brands have been slow on the uptake, the industry as a whole is now starting to really embrace diversity, recognizing that this is the way forward if they want to stay relevant in a saturated market.

It Starts with Education

Everything starts with education, making it shocking to learn that only 12.2% of dermatology courses have modules that focus on skin of color. It doesn’t help that only 3% of dermatologists in the USA are African American, even though people of color make up 15% of the population. This makes it hardly surprising that half of the dermatologists out there say that they aren’t knowledgable in treating conditions that are specific to skin of color.

Fortunately, times are changing. The American Academy of Dermatology recently launched a three-year diversity initiative, with their aim being to address the many gaps in the industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity.

Skincare brands are recognizing the importance of education too, with Vaseline being a front-runner. Their partnership with Medscape is all about training skin and health care professionals to better treat conditions that affect different skin tones, while their collaboration with HUED, a health tech startup, helps to connect people of color with dermatologists who know how to treat them.

Skincare for People of Color

Many of the skincare products out there simply aren’t suitable for people of color, purely because certain ingredients don’t work well on darker skin tones. Since most of the studies being carried out feature Caucasian participants, it’s near-impossible for a person of color to know how well a product will work on their skin.

Again, this is slowly changing. More and more brands are now creating formulas that either specifically target darker skin tones or are suitable for every skin tone. One such brand is Civant – have a read through some of the Meladerm reviews out there to learn more about how this cruelty-free product works to lighten hyperpigmentation across all skin tones.

Gender Neutral Skincare and Skincare for Men

Diversity isn’t just about skin color – gender inclusivity has been making headlines too. As a result, many skincare brands have responded by producing gender neutral product lines.

Ursa Major and Aesop are two that have been leading the way, and experts predict that the concept of gender neutral beauty is set to be huge.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that gender-specific skincare is going to disappear. However, even with this, women are no longer the sole focus. Skincare for men is becoming increasingly popular, with formulas being created to target the specific skin concerns faced by male skin.

Getting Those Inclusive Products Out There

Even though their formulas may be exactly what the world needs, many black-owned beauty brands struggle to get their products out there, meaning consumers often don’t realize that they even exist.

Thankfully, retailers are finally realizing this and are starting to change their ways. Several brands, including Sephora, Bluemercury, and Macy’s, have signed up for the 15 Percent Pledge, where they promise to stock 15% of their inventory with black-owned brands. Ulta Beauty has also vowed to double the amount of black-owned brands that they stock, while Glossier and L’Oreal are offering grants to black-owned beauty businesses to help them make it in an increasingly competitive market.

Messaging, Advertising, and Packaging 

In addition to diversifying their product lines, many brands are now also altering their messaging, making sure that this is as inclusive as possible too. For example, Unilever, who owns Dove and Axe, have recently said that they’re going to stop using the word “normal” to describe skin, while ASOS eliminated the word “beauty” from their cosmetic products, going with the more gender-neutral term of “Face + Body” instead.

Other brands are also ensuring that their messaging and advertising appeals to a broader group. Take Victorialand Beauty as an example – they make use of a special system on their packaging that enables the visually-impaired to identify products through touch. Cleanlogic, Dr. Jart, and Bioderma have all done similar – their packaging features braille for blind customers.

Diversity is the Future of Beauty

There’s no getting away from it – embracing diversity is what every beauty brand needs to now be doing in order to stay in the game. Yes, the industry as a whole may have been slow to catch on to this, but now that the ball is rolling, changes are coming in fast and thick. Experts have always said that a multi-level shift in the industry is what’s needed to make skincare truly inclusive, and, much to the delight of many, this finally seems to be happening.