In June 2016, the cosmetic company, ColourPop, released a new line of contour-intended sculpting sticks with insensitive names, such as “Yikes,” “Typo,” and “Dume,” for their three darkest shades. ColourPop’s lack of regard to their African American consumers serves as a reminder that the cosmetic industry often fails to include and fully embrace Black women. It is important to explore the relationship between the cosmetic industry and Black women because reoccurring negative experiences may be indicative of systemic oppression – illustrating that Black women’s personal experiences reach a political sphere. Furthermore, the parallels between history and contemporary experiences provide proof of Black women’s theorization within U.S. beauty culture.

I will discuss the historical background of Black women and skin tone. Then, I will delve into an analysis of Black women’s contemporary experiences with cosmetics and hegemonic beauty ideals from this research study. They discussed the challenges of finding appropriate cosmetics for their skin tone and childhood experiences of learning dominant beauty ideals. Despite the inadequate inclusion of Black women in the cosmetic industry, Black women remain resilient and have created a space within a racist cosmetic industry.


Laura Harrison

Committee Member

Ana Perez

Committee Member

Kebba Darboe

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Ethnic Studies


Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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