My first question to the lovely PR lady was about the brand's focus. I'd seen concern being expressed on twitter about the racial mix or bias of bloggers being invited to the event of a cosmetics company aimed at black ladies. And apparently that was the focus of the original company Sleek Cosmetics, but 5 years ago, along with the re branding to Sleek Makeup, they set a focus of affordable makeup for all. With the spotlight on skin tone not race. For marketing shots, they deliberately choose racially ambiguous models with the aim that we look and simply see beauty not skin colour.Am I disappointed? Yeah. I'm disappointed. Perhaps it's irrational to feel this way, but it was pretty good - felt good - to have the one brand that recognised that hey, black people have slightly different makeup needs, let's address that and make products that black women can use, and lets make them easily available and affordable.
I mean, I'm a student, who is broke most of the time, and I could walk into a Superdrug and get myself a foundation that fit my colour, a concealer, and then some pigmented eyeshadow that shows up on my skin tone (dark skin absorbs colour) and a lipstick that *gasp* was a nude on me! A brown lipstick that was probably very unappealing to lighter skinned shoppers. ("Why would you wear that colour? That wouldn't suit anyone!" I heard asked once, directed towards Sleek's "Cocoa" shade. I did hide a chuckle.) I don't see many other high street brands making brown lipstick. Nude lipstick. Lipliners like Cherry Oak/Rich Brown/Soft Brown that actually look decent on our skin. Flattering lip colours on ladies that share my skin tone, like "Perfect Plum" and "Chocolate Kiss" Pout Polishes.
I don't know for how much longer I'll be able to do that. The Eye Dusts are already being discontinued, and the old range of True Colour lipsticks, which contained dark brown nudes such as Cocoa, Blaze, and Earth, has been completely discontinued. I'm hoping to talk directly to their PR person to try and clarify their position, so I'll update this post if/when that happens. Fingers crossed, yeah?
I love England, I really do. It's a great country and people are really accepting of people that aren't of the same skin colour as themselves. It's just that, when you have demographics like what England has, which is that white is obviously the majority (92.14%, from the 2001 census) but there is still a sizeable (compared to many other countries, for example Japan or Korea which are extremely ethnically homogenous) migrant population, and of this, many are black, but what is in the stores still caters to the white majority. Which makes economic sense. Nothing wrong with that. It's just when that happens, it's hard for the minority that still constitutes a portion of the population to find cosmetics that are going to look good on them, and take into account their specific needs, as it were. Which is when Sleek came in, specifically targeted towards us. But they're not any more. Their ethos is the same as what every other high street brand proclaims, which is that it's for "everybody". Which means the majority. Which means lighter skin. Sorry, but I'm calling it out for what it is. Already, with the unreleased Nude collections and what have you, the products being touted as nude simply aren't really, on the skin of many (black) women. I can't judge until I actually swatch it instore - I'm going by the photographs and swatches I've seen online already, but yeah. What would be great is if they released different palettes/collections, with different colours of "nude". After all, nude can come in brown, pink, yellow (no offence intended, at all). All sorts of colours. Why not cater to a slightly wider range of nude? Feel free to shoot me down, people.
What I'm curious about is whether this "everybody" will extend to Sleek's overseas operations. I'm going to take Nigeria as an example, because I am Nigerian :P We have a far less diverse ethnic lineup. As in, the country itself has a very large, diverse amount of ethnic groups. But they're all considered Black African. I can't find any statistics that indicate how many foreigners we have in Nigeria but I'm sure it's not as many as is present in Britain. Will it make economic sense for Sleek to switch their focus from black women in Nigeria? Will the same range of foundation be available in Nigeria as I can find currently in Superdrug? When I visit Nigeria (hopefully) late this year I'll let you guys know what I can find. If I go. It's a bit uncertain because of the house move :/ No monehz.
I've looked over what I've written, and I don't see anything that could be construed as libellous or is incorrect, but if someone does spot something, please tell me off/let me know! I've tried to double check everything that I've written with the information at hand, so yeah.
Ultimately, I'll keep using the Sleek stuff that I have, and I'm sure to purchase more when something comes out that takes my fancy (I still need that concealer. And the Primer Palette. And some more Pout Polishes....*insert wishlist*) They make good products, it's just I'm a little saddened by the change of focus.
Anyway, I'm sure that I'll get over my disappointment, and in the meantime, Sleek are still producers of good quality, affordable makeup. So yeah, continue enjoying their products.
Do you guys still want to see reviews of the stuff I bought, or should I leave it? I'm perfectly happy to review it if you guys want to see it!
EDIT: Follow up here.
Sleek's Response here.