If you are a beauty enthusiast like myself, then you have probably heard the recent buzz around Japan based brand, Koh Gen Do Cosmetics. YouTube is saturated with reviews and tutorials praising their Aqua Foundation. Big names like Jaclyn Hill, Carli Bybel, and Nicole Guerriero have all featured products in haul videos. Naturally I wanted to see what the this brand and their foundation is all about.
What I found was it is nearly impossible to find a shade in any of their foundations if you are any deeper in skin tone than the lovely Chrissy Teigan. So why the color chart above that clearly contains deeper shades? Admittedly I hunted for the image and evidence that this brand was not intentionally excluding deeper skin tones. The chart above is the 12 shade range for Koh Gen Do’s Moisture Foundation . However, these shades either no longer exist or are available outside of the scope of the average consumer. They do not appear on the North American Koh Gen Do website.
Upon further investigation I also discovered that Koh Gen Do only has a 7 shade range available in their ever popular Aqua Foundation. Big box retailer Sephora only carries 8 of the 12 shades available in the Moisture Foundation. Do I even need to mention what shades are excluded? Not even upscale Nordstrom has any of the deeper shade range available.
So the question I dare to ask is: in a society where many who are not black seem to believe that there are no longer color lines; how do they explain this blatant exclusion? Furthermore, how can anyone support a brand that is clearly not culturally conscience? As a person who does not like to make claims without foundation I went to Koh Gen Do’s Japan and Korea webpages to view their offerings, and their official North American Instagram page. As both Japan and Korea are 98% ethnically homogeneous nations, I was not stunned that neither Koh Gen Do site carried deeper shades.
Koh Gen Do’s Instagram feed features several people of various nationalities, but very few people of a deeper skin tone. Now I don’t have any resounding proof that the brand is discriminatory, and it isn’t my intent to prove them as such. I am simply shining a light on an issue of great importance. In the days before many of us were born our Black, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Brazilian, Indian sisters could not simply go into a drugstore and find a foundation that matched their skin. Many brands have made strides against this, like L’Oreal who is responsible for one of the most widely known color ranges in North America, True Match.
With that fact being stated, how can anyone support a brand that doesn’t recognize that skin ranges in the most perfect of porcelains to the most even of ebonies?