Fans of the brand are voicing their concern on social media
UPDATE 5/1/2018: In a statement shared with PeopleStyle, Alice Chen, VP of Marketing at Physicians Formula, has addressed comments in regards to the brand’s recent Instagram posts.
“2018 was a pivotal year for Physicians Formula – it was a year of evolution. Our foremost initiative for the brand was to become more inclusive of today’s consumer, with the ongoing commitment to bring healthy beauty to all. That diversity is represented in our internal brand team itself. It is our goal and commitment to project our personal expressions to our brand and our product offerings. We are continuing to build out our shade ranges and product assortments. As a proud WOC myself, I am staunch in this commitment and have made it a mandate in the future evolution of Physicians Formula.”
Our recent Instagram post for our new Butter Highlighter shades fell short of delivering our promise to represent all our fans. For that, we sincerely apologize. This was an oversight and not indicative of the brand, the brand holders, the future of the brand, nor even of our daily social voice. We know personally how important it is to create products for all, and we strive towards this goal every day. We will continue to work to voice this goal in our social platforms in more transparency moving forward. Thank you for your time.”
While many cosmetics brands have taken steps in the right direction when it comes to creating diverse and inclusive makeup shade ranges, Physicians Formula appears to be behind on the cultural conversation — at least as far as the Internet is concerned.
In Instagram posts shared by the brand over the weekend, two new highlighter shades were announced as additions to the brand’s Butter Highlighter range. There’s Galactic, a pale pink shimmery shade, and Full Moon, an ivory shade. But despite the the movement towards more inclusive products in the beauty industry (we’re looking at you, Fenty Beauty), many feel Physicians Formula missed the mark with the range of women who were chosen to model the new products.
First, the brand showed one shade on a group of arms, each of which had a slightly different skin tone ranging from fair to tan. There were no arm models representing deeper skin tones, and commenters were quick to voice their concerns.
“This is not a very good depiction of skin tone range,” wrote one user. Another wrote, “How you gonna pull this bulls*** in 2018. Do better.”
Then, seemingly ignoring commenters’ outrage, the brand posted another photo (top), announcing the second shade — again, on the same small range of skin tones.
“TWO new shades of Butter Highlighter?! We’re shook… are you? Butter up and GLOW with new Butter Highlighter in ‘Full Moon’ and ‘Galactic’,” the photo was captioned.
And fans were in fact “shook,” but not in the way the brand had expected.
“This is complete nonsense. These will look ashy on anyone darker than medium skin tone,” one commenter said, while another said, “So darker skin women don’t exist or don’t matter?” Another wrote, “Shame on you for continuing to ignore POC.”
On Monday, the brand shared another look at the “Galactic” shade, this time on two faces: one fair-skinned woman with freckles and a second modeled by a women with a darker complexion. However, the brand has still yet to show the product on an extensive range of skin tones.