an Ad a Day

A look at the marketing that surrounds us.

CoverGirl: Good for Every Skin Tone (Except Dark Ones)

Posted by Rosepixie on November 11, 2009

This is an ad for CoverGirl TRUblend, a concealer/liquid foundation, that was found in a fashion magazine:

CoverGirl TRUblend

The text reads:

CoverGirl: easy breezy beautiful CoverGirl

There’s no such thing as too Close

CoverGirl TRUblend

Advanced coverage so much like your own skin – it’s virtually undetectable – no matter how close you zoom in.  Why?  It contains color spheres that are attracted to skin, so they don’t just sit on top like other makeup.  They spread out evenly and blend in seamlessly.  See the difference up close at [url].

Drew is close-up perfect in TRUblend Natural Ivory.

So what first struck me about this ad was that line of shade dots next to the bottle.  Notice anything about them?  Like maybe how they’re pretty much all shades of white skin tones?  Actually, there’s only six different shades of this makeup.  I have no idea why they put so many dots in the ad (to make it seem like they were more personalized to skin tones, I suppose), but the website reveals that there are exactly six shades in the TRU line of makeup.  The darkest, “sable”, is that last dot on the bottom in the ad.  It’s an incredibly light brown shade.  I’ve met several Indian women with skin that tone and one or two black women, but most of the black women I’ve met have darker skin than that.

This ad (and, it seems, this makeup line) just makes so many assumptions about the viewer being white that it’s painful.  “So much like your own skin” doesn’t work with this very light makeup line for many Latinas, black women, Native American women and probably a fair number of women of other backgrounds with darker skin tones too.  But they read fashion magazines and wear makeup too.

Maybe I don’t get it because I really don’t wear makeup, but this ad is clearly suggesting you’re supposed to wear a foundation of your skin tone or something really similar (which jives with the little makeup knowledge I’ve got), but it also suggests that your tone will obviously fall within the very limited range they make, which obviously isn’t true for many women.  I’ve found this problem with lots of makeup ads, leading me to believe that perhaps lack of darker shades is a rampant problem in the makeup market.  So, where do women with darker skin buy makeup?  What brands carry darker shades?  Because it doesn’t seem that whatever brands they could have to buy are advertising… well… anywhere I’m seeing ads.  And now I really want to know!  So please fill me in!


One Response to “CoverGirl: Good for Every Skin Tone (Except Dark Ones)”

  1. Eva said

    L’Oreal has a brand called True Match that has a more complex grid with more colors. I’m not sure how dark their darkest color is, but they give a lot more guidance on how to match warm vs cool skin tones so that your foundation will blend properly into your skin.

    It looks to me like the magic incantation on Google is to search for “African American make up”. It also looks like if you pass a certain midrange brown you’re going to be stuck ordering from specialty cosmetics shops. I could find some that carried much darker products ( ) and some advice on what to choose ( ) but by and large it seems like the large companies are ignoring that part of the market. I’m guessing you’d have to pick up a targeted publication like Ebony to find ads for the products that do exist. 😦

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