I love beauty launches. But, the one I'm going to tell you about is different. It fed my inner beauty lover and made me feel like a little girl again.
PUR Cosmetics and Mattel recently released a new 10-piece collaboration filled with lipsticks, lashes, a beautiful complexion brush, a 12-piece palette, a highlighter palette, a mask, and a lip gloss. As a black woman with a deeper skin tone, I am usually underwhelmed by makeup collaborations. Most of the time, I can only use one or two of the products in the release because, to be frank, no one in the creative process is thinking about me. The word "diversity" is usually a buzzword, not a meaningful thought beyond what will get a release trending.
Growing up, Barbie was a large part of my life, but from a distance. My sister and I had many Barbie dolls, but we couldn't play with them because they were "collector's items" as my mom put it. Not to be touched. We could only gaze at them from below their placement on the unreachable shelves in our rooms through their boxes.
Now that I'm older, I get it. Finding a Barbie doll, well any doll for that matter, without white skin was an anomaly at the time. So, when I saw this collection roll out with a dark-skinned woman front and center — I was shook.
The night of the launch party, I pulled up to a house in Mid-City Los Angeles with a pink corvette to my right as I entered the house with pink decor everywhere. There were pink cookies. Pink cocktails. Pink photo ops. The little girl in me was going ham. I was standing in a real-life Barbie playhouse surrounded by makeup, sweets, and walls filled with Barbie dolls.
As the night went on, I get a chance to meet members of the PUR and Mattel team that worked to put this collaboration together. One of which was Tisha Thompson, the Vice President of Marketing and Innovation, and she was black.
I hate calling attention to that fact, but in the beauty game, it is important.
In my mind, I was fangirling. Because even in this time of "diversity", it's rare you see a woman of color, let alone a black woman, behind the products we're wearing. After meeting her, I knew the marketing wasn't a result of a white person in a boardroom trying to create a campaign because inclusion is trending. It was clear this was organic and coming from a place of authenticity.
"The entire motive behind this collaboration is to empower beauty lovers to showcase their unique beauty and limitless potential through the use of beautiful makeup and skincare products," said Thompson. "That can't be accomplished without intentional representation in all facets of the launch. We wanted not only to create a marketing campaign that was representative of our PUR Beauties but formulated with colors and shades that would flatter all skin types and tones, as well."
The little girl in me walked away, saying, "I want to be like her when I grow up." And the 33-year-old woman I am today knows it's possible. The collection is filled with products you'll not only want to use like the semi-matte lipstick (the color and staying power are amazing), and the 12-piece eyeshadow palette. But, in true Barbie fashion, the packaging is encrusted with pink rhinestones and glitter (that won't come off on you).
We know that collabs come at us daily, but this one is worth a look because it has us in mind.
Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.
Featured image by PUR Cosmetics/Instagram