Aïmara Coupet - Actually, it should be said that there is a will to open to everyone today. The market has changed a lot as regards coloured skins, compared to about twenty years ago. There are more shades available. But if you really want to meet mixed to dark skins’ makeup needs, you need to go much farther and try and innovate, rather than just add a few shades. That is not enough. Generally speaking, there is very little Research & Development going on for these skin types, although they are very specific and different from Caucasian skins. They are still little-known. For example, there are very few documented actives available for phototypes 5 or 6. Besides, if you take a look at the skincare market segmentation, half is dedicated to anti-wrinkle products, which definitely does not correspond to a dark skin need.
Premium Beauty News - What are dark skins’ specificities?
Aïmara Coupet - There are several, but the main specificities are hyperpigmentation and dyschromia, i.e. a more or less pigmented skin depending on the face or body area. There is a lack of evenness, as certain areas are very dark, others lighter. There are also differences in how they heal - the process usually leaves spots. Lastly, they tend to be combination to oily skins, which does not mean they are not dehydrated, quite the contrary. The unbalance between sebum production and dehydration is a significant element to be taken into account. Dehydrated dark skins often look dull and lack radiance. These specificities directly impact the makeup result. On the positive side, the epidermis is more resistant, firmer, and less likely to have wrinkles and suffer from photoaging - it has a lower risk to develop a skin cancer. That is one of the reasons why I recommend not adding an SPF to a foundation, especially if it prevents the product from providing a bright complexion. The skin should not look grey or dull. A protective sun care product may replace it if needed, but to me, results prevail as far as makeup is concerned: the first mission of a foundation is to provide a beautiful complexion. Physiological differences should also be taken into account, like those of lips, which are thicker, often bicoloured, and sometimes much textured. It is important when it comes to designing a lipstick.
Premium Beauty News - How can companies develop ranges with new, better-adapted shades?
Aïmara Coupet - The first question is, “is this formula efficient at providing dark skins with a beautiful complexion?” Certain textures are much too oily and shiny for them, and the makeup result is not satisfactory, while other formulas do not accept enough pigments. As a matter of fact, making a darker shade does not come up to just increasing the black content, it also means working on the other pigments. In addition, certain pigments do not create a nice result on dark skins: certain brown shades can turn pink, for example, or yellow colours may become grey or greenish. So, the pigments added to the formula are very important, they need to be worked according to the formula. There are better-adapted ingredients available, but they are still not properly identified for an application on black skins. Researchers are still learning, testing and making mistakes…
Premium Beauty News - What do you recommend for brands to improve their offering?
Aïmara Coupet - As regards makeup, the idea is to think of the result first: think like a makeup artist rather than a marketer. Brands need to change the way they see things. Instead of copying/pasting formulas intended for Caucasian skins, they should strengthen their R&D and focus research on these specific skins. Why not do things the other way round? Why could a dark-skin-suited innovation not be adapted to light skins? Brands should think differently. It is the industry’s mission to open to mixed skins. Mixed skins represent the majority of tomorrow’s consumers.