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Monday, July 20, 2015

Is Fashion Fair still THE beauty brand for black women?

Fashion Fair has always been around in my life as far back as I can remember. Growing up in any ethnic home in the 80s everyone's mum used Fashion Fair makeup or skin care; you couldn't miss the bright pink packaging that stood out a mile. As such I'd put the brand in the "products mums use bin" and never once tried it myself.
The largest black-owned cosmetics company, Fashion Fair was started by Eunice Johnson in 1958 after noticing that models of colour had to mix and blend various shades of foundation to achieve the right colour for their skin tones. After approaching several established brands to increase their shade selections – which was met with resistance – Eunice went to a private cosmetics lab and started to develop her own range. Over 40 years later, it is still widely regarded as a 'pioneering' cosmetics range for black women and in 2008 it rebranded with an on-trend look.

Rediscovering a cult brand

When the 'Carnival' collection press release hit my inbox, after initially dismissing it, I thought it could be the perfect opportunity to give the cult brand a chance and I booked in for a Fashion Fair makeover.
I arrived at their makeup counter in Debenhams where I was taken through the entire range and the first thing I noticed was although the packaging had changed, the light fragrance and signature colours were welcoming and familiar.
For Spring/Summer 2015, their collection echoes the spirit of summer in the city. The array of vibrant colours, centering on metallic golds, are inspired by the sunkissed Caribbean and the culture within. There are 6 playful eye shadows and 6 glamorous lipsticks which can be used along with the foundations, concealers and pressed powders across the range.

The foundations and concealers

Starting with the base, I was informed by the lovely makeup artist Sara that there is no way to buy a 'perfect' foundation or concealer shade as every one has different undertones and the best way is the old way; to mix. These are the base options:
True Finish Refining Mineral Foundation: this is illuminating and gives light-medium coverage, ideal for all skin types. Available in three different undertones (Yellow, Neutral and Red) and 18 shades (Alluring Cocoa in the Yellow camp was mine).
True Fix Foundation - 'Dual Shade Blending Compact': Two coordinated shades in one compact which blend to contour and highlight the face. Medium-full coverage, demi-matte finish, great for all skin types. It's available in 15 duos and is great for all skin types.
Perfect Finish SoufflĂ© Makeup - a mousse foundation with a powder-smooth finish: Skin perfecting full coverage foundation that absorbs oil for a stay-true soft finish. 10 shades available across Red, Yellow and Neutral undertone groups.
Cover Tone - a camouflage concealer: Covers moderate to severe skin imperfections. Available in 6 shades across Red, Yellow and Neutral undertone groups. Can be used on face and body.
Fast Finish Creamy Foundation Stick: Glides on and dries to a smudge-proof powder finish. Adjustable coverage, good for evening-out skin tone as opposed to concealing. Available in 17 shades available across Red, Yellow and Neutral undertone groups.

The new eyes and lips

The eye shadow selection was great as the colours had very strong pigments and looked really bold on. The new summery shades are Touch of Gold, Sahara Sand, Safari Brown, Ocean, Indigo and Amethyst.
For my lips I tried the new bright colours Divine Pink, Ole Orange, Royal Orchid, Grapesicle, Sepia and Confidance. Though these are all lovely shades, I prefer a matte finish so I ended up selecting a lipstick from the main range called Rebel.


The range has come on leaps and bounds since the 80s but I feel like a lot more work needs to be done for Fashion Fair to restore itself as 'THE makeup for women of colour' as the application processes seem dated to me. I understand the concept of "if it aint broke, why fix it" but in 2015, the idea of using two or more foundations to get the right shade for day-to-day wear is exhausting! It made me feel like my makeup was caked although the formulas aren't heavy or greasy on application.
The market for black women is now very competitive, as almost ALL makeup brands both high end and high street have extended their ranges to cover this off. If Fashion Fair is to stay relevant, it needs another image overhaul. This should not take away from how good the products offered are or their composition, but having lost touch with an entire generation they need to bring brand awareness back to us. Let's hope they do!

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