Shortly after the beauty brand's highly anticipated Aug. 3 launch of their new Skin Love collection, BECCA Cosmetics was accused of photoshopping a model's arm in order to make it appear darker. Not long after the promotional photo was made public, several Twitter users and Instagram users took to the respective platforms to call out the brand for the hiccup.
The product swatches in question were from BECCA's Skin Love Weightless Blur Foundation, which comes in 24 shades and were originally tested on fair, medium, olive, and deep skin tones. The issues followers of the brand pointed out was that each forearm that was modeled looked oddly familiar in shape, and the palms of the darker models' hands appeared to be discolored.
"So did becca cosmetics really refuse to hire black women for these swatches?" Twitter user @xfarahalyx lamented. "They just edited a white hand darker? Look at the two darker hand’s palms." Other people noticed the apparent photo editing as well, with another account chiming in to add, "Not only is this an issue of race but if you’re editing the color to match your swatches, I’d say that’s a little a lot like being dishonest about how well your products match different skin colors."
In response to the accusations, BECCA Cosmetics released the following statement across their social media channels:
Thanks to everyone who shared feedback on our recent arm swatch image, we hear you and want you to know that we remain committed to continually representing our inclusive BECCA Beauties. Some insights: Truth: The image featured four models of different ethnicities. Truth: We acknowledge the way we adjusted the image missed the mark and are deeply sorry for this oversight. Truth: BECCA is committed to showcasing the lightest to the deepest skin tones and hiring inclusive models for our campaigns. To demonstrate this commitment, we’ve re-shot with real girls from the BECCA office #BECCASkinLove
While the brand may have made a major mistake with their swatch photo, it is important to note what BECCA has gotten right with the Skin Love roll-out. Typically, when browsing for foundations online (and even in store), the lighter colors tend to appear before the deeper tones. But BECCA decided to showcase their products the other way around, with the darker colors coming first. The brand also used a wide variety of ethically diverse models from a number of races to showcase each shade, which is a huge contrast to inclusion issues the beauty industry has typically faced in the past.
"Five years ago, I couldn’t match some women who would come in — it was frustrating to turn people away, who might have had coloring like mine,” Lancôme counter manager, Emmanuel Macareno, who is Hispanic, told The New York Times in 2014. "Even three years ago, we had more color but we didn’t have the range. It was all neutral colors. Now there are more warmer colors."
So while BECCA may need give their photos a closer eye when editing, the brand does seem to be getting on the right track as far as overall inclusion goes.