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A 'Shark Tank' beauty brand was criticized for lacking deep foundation shades. It tried to fix it and made it worse.

Amanda Krause   

A 'Shark Tank' beauty brand was criticized for lacking deep foundation shades. It tried to fix it and made it worse.
  • Beauty brand Youthforia is facing backlash for selling a dark foundation shade comparable to "tar."
  • The brand was previously criticized for its foundation range being too light for deeper complexions.

When content creator Golloria George reviewed Youthforia's Date Night Foundation in September 2023, she highlighted two major problems with the range's darkest shade.

First, the beauty influencer noted that the product — and the rest of its then-15-count shade range — was too light for people with deep complexions like hers, which Youthforia CEO Fiona Co Chan apologized for at the time.

Second, George said the shade was advertised to look much darker on its packaging and in online photos than it applied in real life.

So, when Youthforia launched 10 new makeup shades in March, George gave the new darkest option — shade 600 — a chance.

But this time, Youthforia's foundation looked too dark, almost like "tar in a bottle," according to George. She proved her point by applying the brand's foundation on one side of her face and solid-black face paint on the other to show how similar they were.

She also tried Youthforia's foundation in its second-darkest shade, number 590, which was drastically lighter in tone and also didn't match her complexion.

"When we say that we want you guys to make shades for us, we don't mean to go to the lab and ask for minstrel-show black," the influencer said in her TikTok review shared on Monday, referencing 1800s theater productions in which actors wore blackface and perpetuated racist stereotypes. "What we mean is to take the browns that you have made, create undertones, and do what you need to do in the lab so it's a darker shade of brown."

Representatives for George and Youthforia did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

@golloria

the darkest shade of the youthforia date night foundation.

♬ original sound - golloria

The California-based beauty brand was founded in 2021 and rose to fame after appearing on a 2023 episode of "Shark Tank," during which Mark Cuban invested in the brand.

The company also became popular on TikTok after its color-changing blush went viral in September of last year, and its products are now sold at Ulta Beauty. The beauty chain did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI.

Widespread beauty backlash

Following George's video, beauty fans and creators across the internet have criticized Youthforia and its attempt to make its foundation range more inclusive.

"Unfollowing because of that malicious attempt at placating black consumers," one person wrote on the brand's Instagram page, where comments are now limited.

Beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina also commented "deep heavy spiritual sigh" on George's review, and TikToker and cosmetic developer The Lipstick Lesbian called it a "master class in what not to do when trying to be inclusive." Meanwhile, Javon Ford, a cosmetic chemist, explained the formulation of different shades in the line and said the darkest one was made with "pure black pigment."

George posted another TikTok video on Wednesday, which she captioned: "It's biologically impossible to be PURE black. there is no pigment in this foundation other than pure BLACK oxide. this was not a mistake."

Problems from the start

Weeks before George's TikTok review, Youthforia shared a video about its struggles to find someone to model shade 600 of its foundation.

"We held a casting call open to the public, but didn't have any attendees who showed up that were within the 600 shade range, which is what led to this journey to find a 600 model!" the brand wrote on Instagram.

So, Youthforia "street cast" two men and shared a video montage of their impromptu photo shoot.

While some people in the comment section applauded the brand for its efforts, other beauty fans didn't believe the makeup matched their skin tones either.

"Hi! I don't think it matched them that well. Shade 600 seems to have no undertone, but it looks like they had more of a red undertone. In my opinion, I think there should be 2 or 3 shades between 590 and 600! " one person wrote in response to the video.

Youthforia has yet to comment on this latest controversy publicly, and its founder has seemingly made her Instagram account private.

Beauty brands have widely been working toward becoming more inclusive in recent years.

Specifically, Rihanna's Fenty Beauty changed the game with its massive foundation range — it now boasts 51 shades — and the foundation from Halsey's brand About Face has become a new favorite. It offers 45 diverse shades.


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