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Black Opal Claims It Was Never a Cosmetics Line for Black Women

Avatar • Oct 22, 2015

Black Opal, a well-established cosmetic line, found themselves in hot water yesterday when they responded to a series of Facebook comments regarding ads which seemed to distance them from their overwhelmingly black customer base.

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When Black Opal’s Twitter and Facebook followers saw the ads, they asked some valid questions. Most were black women who were under the impression that Black Opal was a brand geared toward black women or brown-skinned women in general. In their replies the brand made it crystal clear that they never claimed to cater to the skin care needs of black women. We were able to capture screen shots of the comments from Clutch Magazine. FullSizeRender (8)

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Although all of these ladies points are valid, the real meat of this discussion is how Black Opal responding to their consumer’s concerns by claiming that they were never for black women. I’m trying to figure out when that happened. For as long as I can remember, the brand has been in almost every local beauty supply store and drug store in black neighborhoods. And I’ve always associated the brand with black women because those were the women featured in their ads. When did this transition to being a “brand for every shade of beauty” take place? And what exactly does that mean? If it means that they will no longer gear their products toward black women, then they should say that directly. According to their current website, Black Opal’s original muse was a “professional woman of Jamaican descent, who embodied the Black Opal customer”.

Recognizing the importance of building from that strong heritage, Black Opal later introduced a line of makeup specially designed to address the beauty concerns of women of color.” — Black Opal

Call me crazy, but there seems to be quite a bit of evidence pointing in the direction of Black Opal being created to address the skin care needs of black women. Perhaps they’ve exhausted the black dollar and now want to branch out. That’s fine. Just don’t insult your consumer’s intelligence by telling them that they were never your priority when your WEBSITE and overall longevity in the beauty industry clearly illustrates otherwise.

Ladies, what are your thoughts?

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# allcolorsmatters...BS
# allcolorsmatters...BS
5 years ago

Hmmm…

Mordor
Mordor
5 years ago

Fashion Fair it is…

Cosita
Cosita
5 years ago
Reply to  Mordor

That is what I use when I wear foundation or powder. Best for my skin tone. never bought black opal.

TWA4now
TWA4now
5 years ago
Reply to  Cosita

I always had a hard time finding my color and a make up consultant said I was “between” colors and suggested I buy two bottles of “this and that” to compliment my skin…yeah RIGHT! I discovered Smashbox a few years ago. I tried Fashion Fair in my teens and 20s…I may return to that but not Black Opal if that’s their general attitude. Idk…Shea butter, eyeliner, and mascara, and lip gloss works too! 🙂

Guest
Guest
5 years ago

When are we going to learn? Build OUR OWN!!!!!

Marissa Dawson
Marissa Dawson
5 years ago

PPPSSSSSS
Fashion Fair is black owned. Available at Macy’s
Iman’s line is black owned and available at walgreens and ulta **sips tea***

Nei
Nei
5 years ago

Well that just sucks for Black Opal. Given the buying power and billions black people pour into the economy, this company had an opportunity to really dive in and corner our billions. I bet they will see sales plummet before trying some form of inadequate damage control as the watch us turn to companies that unapologetically celebrate us. Brilliant move.

maji
maji
5 years ago
Reply to  Nei

Yeah I read it and was like so now y’all gon front on us!?!?????

Justice S
Justice S
5 years ago

This right here is why I DON’T wear makeup.

kiki
kiki
5 years ago
Reply to  Justice S

I don’t get the uproar. They said they never issued any non-inclusive statement. That is true.

TWA4now
TWA4now
5 years ago

Wow! That’s messed up! MAYBE we should all boycott them. That would send a clear message!

Victoria Owl
Victoria Owl
5 years ago
Reply to  TWA4now

Boycott a makeup company who is only concerned about their profits? Are they worth all that time and energy? Do you think that will make a difference? There are so many other causes that calls for a boycott. Just simply move on and support the black owned beauty companies like Iman, fashion fair etc. And when Black Opal sees that their sales are dropping and then decide to switch it up and cater to us, we just continue to ignore them. No support.

Kurvy Katie
5 years ago

I’m so lost. I always thought they were for women of color.

Kristina
Kristina
5 years ago

…eww

Elle
Elle
5 years ago

BLACK WOMEN, take responsibility for finding out who you’re giving your money to! Who said Black Opal was Black-owned? Their about pages are vague, as is their corporate structure. Just because a company targets Black dollars (Walmart, McDonalds, Sephora) means NOTHING except they’re savvy enough to get rich off of you. Black-owned or not, YOU control them! You want safer products? More corporate transparency? Darker women in ads? Then take your cues from the Bus boycott and SHUT THEM DOWN until they obey!

TWA4now
TWA4now
5 years ago
Reply to  Elle

Elle, I’m with you.…GET ON THE BUS!

Sandy
Sandy
5 years ago
Reply to  Elle

Amen girl…

Christle
Christle
5 years ago

if this is a black owned company that provides services for women of colour and just so happens to also provide services for other lighter/white ppl, does that mean they don’t deserve support? they don’t have to be like the white owned companies and exclude a type of person as if its justified because everyone else does it. I’ve never bought any of their products but I don’t feel that they should be boycotted. Granted there was an initial focus on women of colour because of a lack of products for us but they aren’t saying they were never for… Read more »

Lee
Lee
5 years ago

Victoria, that’s what ‘boycott’ means, to individually move on and spend your dollars elsewhere, i.e., an ‘economical boycott’.

Cerise Slg
Cerise Slg
5 years ago
Sammy
Sammy
5 years ago

This seems to be a reoccurring theme. Why do a growing number of companies with high volumes of black customers feel like they must distance themselves. Are they embarrassed or disgusted by the black women/men that pour billions into their industry? Even Shea Moisture (which is supposed to be black owned) pulled the whole “inclusion” mess when people questioned the appearance of white people in their ads. I’m not outraged at either company (exhausted is more befitting), but there are ways to be inclusive without alienating or belittling ANY of your customers. I’m done. Although I’m not into cosmetics, I’m… Read more »

beabrezzy91
beabrezzy91
5 years ago
Reply to  Sammy

i think it’s because people in general make such a big deal about black products vs white products. white people usually assume they can’t use products made for black hair and a lot of black people do the same with “white products”, instead of everybody just using what works for them. i imagine the inclusion thing is just a marketing strategy to let everybody know the product is for everyone. lol tbh though i’m kind of an eternal optimist when it comes to these kinds of things.

Sammy
Sammy
5 years ago
Reply to  beabrezzy91

I totally understand the strategy behind inclusion and pandering to a wider white audience. I love seeing small brands, particularly black owned, grow and flourish. However I find it disheartening when a company builds their brand foundation off the a black clientele (not often catered to) and then abandons them in order to leave the “ethnic” aisle. White society needs to erase the notion that something that is marketed to black people is only for black people. And I haven’t met a black person, young or old, who has had enough access or money to shop exclusively with black owned/marketed… Read more »

Myllee
Myllee
5 years ago
Reply to  beabrezzy91

Many Black people use “White products”, Aussie, Herbal Essences, Tresemme, John Frieda etc.…

Exactly.
Exactly.
5 years ago
Reply to  Sammy

Luster’s Detangler PCJ line

Darla Jones
Darla Jones
5 years ago
Reply to  Sammy

Cantu shea butter leave in repair cream.

Sammy
Sammy
5 years ago
Reply to  Darla Jones

Thanks, Darla! I’ll give it a try.

TWA4now
TWA4now
5 years ago
Reply to  Sammy

I totally agree with you!!! Yep, I still have some Shea Moisturizer products…i simply STILL LOVE myself…I haven’t opened it yet! 🙂 You can try Qhemet Biologics Conditioning Ghee or Knot on my watch instant detangling therapy–unsure of the price. All the best too you!

Myllee
Myllee
5 years ago

Lies, they made their money off Black women. Please show me in Latina magazine, Asian American Magazine etcc.… where was their ads running but I can tell you there were plenty in Essence, Ebony, Jet, Black hair etc.… Iman cosmetics to name one has always included WOC and has been quite successfull in doing so without anyone holding it against them.

Shamala
Shamala
5 years ago

Iman, Black Up, Sacha cosmestics. All POC owned and availble online and in ulta and other drug stores.

Elle
Elle
5 years ago
Reply to  Shamala

BlackUp is not Black owned and its ownership structure is unclear. Kama Maharaj, owner of Sacha cosmetics, is a POC though does not identify as Black.

disqus_GujoVT1ikE
disqus_GujoVT1ikE
5 years ago

this Makeup line is made for women of color, check them out https://www.facebook.com/NagiCosmetics

Mackenzie Irick Milks
Mackenzie Irick Milks
5 years ago

Whether they were or were not geared toward catering to the needs of Black women, can they not do that while also capturing the market share of our other sisters who are not Black? Especially since Black women come in all shades as well? Is the upset here that Black Opal denied that they were ever created for women of color when their original statement said so? Sure, that’s shady. Don’t lie. Say you are expanding. Or, is the upset that they are now attempting to expand into the market for non-Black women? If we rage and rage against makeup… Read more »

Elle
Elle
5 years ago

CLEARLY the disbelief is, as you pointed out, the obvious lie. Black dollars were singly targeted for years by Black Opal. When customers complained about the trend in their ads marginalizing certain skin tones, BO responded with an audacious lie they assumed would suffice for a naive audience. Black women aren’t children hoarding toys from ‘White girls’, we’re not ‘raging’ against an expanding brand, we’re OFFENDED at being so casually dismissed by a brand WE built. That, is the “upset”.

Mackenzie Irick Milks
Mackenzie Irick Milks
5 years ago
Reply to  Elle

Hi Elle. No, that is not clear in the least. While the lie is offensive, there are many women whose issue is with the expansion into territory that includes White women, and who could absolutely care less where and how Black Opal started. There are many women who feel “dang, we can’t have ANYTHING for ourselves?”, and thus are behaving exactly like children hoarding toys from White girls, as you put it. There are many women who are raging because they feel as if something sacred to them has been diluted. So, while clear to you, you are not the… Read more »

maji
maji
5 years ago

Theyz a lie lie lie. I damn sho thought they was for black folks and my sister who buy the brand do too lol wow!

maji
maji
5 years ago

Clearly you ain’t take read between the lines 101. The distance they tryin to put between black chicks and them is obvious, like black women wasn’t holding them down from jump street. Its a shame first black up now this. I may have to stop wearing makeup soon as ain’t gonna be no black owned companies left. Fashion Fair and Iman stay down!!

maji
maji
5 years ago

Are you crazy? Your statement said why boycott and then let’s boycott without saying we boycottin. I can’t stand when peeps say there are more important things to boycott like we can’t be for boycottin black opal and companies putting products in non recyclables at the same time . hitting companies in their pockets is the only hit that counts and getting more people to do it the better

Victoria Owl
Victoria Owl
5 years ago
Reply to  maji

and @TWA4now You’re right. wrong wording. I just realized the foolishness I wrote after the fact…sighs. My bad. This is what I get for reading and posting comments while tired and most likely delirious. I probably had a dramatic definition of boycotting in my head at the time..Smh. It also goes to show you how much I enjoy this site.

TWA4now
TWA4now
5 years ago
Reply to  Victoria Owl

It’s cool voice what YOU want to say. I will make it clear: They WANT our black dollars but NOT US! If they don’t want US, why not say Black Opal-For Women Of Color and have ads that represent different kinds of women too?! Tell me, what were their intentions toward us? Take our money but DON’T include us? Their ads look MIGHTY black to me! (Sigh) I degress…

TWA4now
TWA4now
5 years ago
Reply to  maji

Crazy is right! If we stop spending money. with them recyclables or not, that WOULD send a clear message to a company that clearly says they didn’t intent to MAKE their products for is in the FIRST place.

no such thing
no such thing
5 years ago

Are you positive they are blackowned?

redpaperlantern
redpaperlantern
5 years ago

Not a problem at all. They are free to sell/market to whom they choose. All this means is that blacks need to start founding their own trading organizations and brands. Problem solved. There is a collective that is actually working on doing just that.

Ugonna Wosu
Ugonna Wosu
5 years ago

News to this African woman. The “average” is not that dark. There’s a vast array, just like there are for AAs.

Lily Seymour
5 years ago

I’ve never worn their products anyway so i’m really not offended by what they had to say, but in my honest opinion, I wouldn’t buy them after seeing all this information posted today.

OS Abahi
OS Abahi
5 years ago

African woman here. This isn’t true at all. Even here they are actually really dark, and we have a wide array of shades as well.

Sugabelly
5 years ago

Most African women are not as dark as Lupita and Alec. Most African women are medium brown. Very dark populations are majority in Sudan, Senegal, Ghana, and Kenya, but Nigerians are generally average medium brown and South Africans are average tan brown

EllieLo
EllieLo
5 years ago

…why the f you lyin’? Why you always lyin’? Mmmmohmygod, stop f‑in’ lyin’!!

Why is your name freakin’ “Black Opal” if you weren’t geared towards black women? Black geared companies usually have ‘black’ somewhere in their title, so sorry if we got you mixed up with another company!

Lauralei99
Lauralei99
5 years ago

Bye BO.

Monique
Monique
5 years ago

Why would they name themselves black opal then if it wasn’t geared towards black woman ? Thank God I don’t wear makeup.

Jamie Evans
Jamie Evans
5 years ago
Reply to  Monique

Black Opal” isn’t about being black. A black opal is unique and considered very beautiful (which it is). I read years ago that is the real reason they called the company Black Opal

Natural Oils for Hair & Health

No they are not actually. African women come in all shades as well but the average isn’t Alec or Lupita’s complexion but there is nothing wrong with their complexion. Just want to address the misinformation. Thanks.

Joy Villa
Joy Villa
5 years ago

This might be untrue. According to their site, it seems our fears that they are no longer for mainly women of color are unfounded. I just went to their website and screenshot this. It seems like they are centered on WOC but are not “excluding” all women to use their makeup. What do you all think, ladies?

Sleepytime
Sleepytime
5 years ago
Reply to  Joy Villa

I think this article is clickbait, meant to stir up emotions to get more views. The company clearly stated their policy was not non-inclusive, that is not the same as saying they aren’t for Blacks.

Jamie Evans
Jamie Evans
5 years ago

From looking at their ads way back when I understood they were a cosmetics company who catered to all women of color,not just black women. They have been saying that in their ads for years! What I like is that we weren’t left out, but no they were not exclusively for black women, just like Cover Girl & Maybeline is not just for caucasians

BlackGirlShortHair
BlackGirlShortHair
5 years ago

left to me, i don’t even see anything wrong with what is happening. they said it’s not for a particular race but for everybody. i think that’s fine. and it’s as simple as buying another product is you don’t find your shade in Black Opal. It doesn’t have to be Black Opal.

Whachusay?
Whachusay?
5 years ago

Their statement did not say they were not for Black women. They clearly stated that their policy was not to be non-inclusive. Either the person writing this article misinterpreted the statement or willingly wrote an article as clickbait to rile up the ABW. Newsflash: there are many non Black women whose skin tones don’t fall into the categories frequently represented by major lines. You don’t have to be Black to have yellow/orange/bronze undertones. Companies are in business to make money & they have to appeal to as many customers as possible. So, would Black women rather rant about not wanting high… Read more »

Sleepytime
Sleepytime
5 years ago

Do you buy your SM products directly from SM or from Target? What about every other product you buy or service used for daily life? Black ppl are blind to the fact that everything we buy is owned by someone else. You and a few other ppl not buying BO makeup has no effect on the trillions that we spend with companies & owners & stockholders who care nothing about us other than taking our money. We spend to get poorer & make white folk richer.That’s what ppl need to be upset about.

Alex
Alex
5 years ago

Not true at all. They are all shades From the lightest, to brown, to medium dark, to almost blue/dark shades. What they do have is the darkest shade in Africa that North Americans don’t really have a lot of. Just dark shades in Africa is not the case. Google and look at pictures. You will be very surprised.

Sandy
Sandy
5 years ago

Black Opal is full of caca. Why are they lying? If woman who do buy Black Opal would start boycotting there products, they would go out of business as the black woman is their main demographic. They just opened a whole can of worms here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they start losing customers because of there bogus claim that there products are not for black women, or I should say mainly for black woman. puh-leez.… Gawd I just hate when companies do this crap and wanna try distancing themselves from us. They better remember who pumps the money… Read more »

Wanda Ifyaknowme
Wanda Ifyaknowme
5 years ago

Since they claim they never were catering to me, I will leave them be and purchase cosmetics from those who are not ashamed or otherwise dissuaded from recognizing me as their customer base.

bloop
bloop
5 years ago

As usual, another company uses Black women to pump their business up and then leave us high and dry for white consumers. I’m actually expecting most natural hair companies who are black owned to sell to white companies or try to “include everyone” (aka want that white $$$)
As much as I love the natural hair community, i’m just expecting its gonna end up in a massive sellout and just a money making thing :/

TWA4now
TWA4now
5 years ago

LET’S NOT be deceived, they knew.EXACTLY what they were doing…right or wrong!

specifix
specifix
4 years ago

http://www.FloriRoberts.com for black women yesterday, today and tomorrow!

Amanda
Amanda
4 years ago
Reply to  specifix

They must not sell all colors everywhere because I’ve never seen those darker shades at my local stores

Chrissy Haughton
Chrissy Haughton
4 years ago

Black Radiance is a cosmetic line, I have tried from my local rite aid. I’m not sure if they cater to women of color only. I can’t speak on that until I find out. But they have all shades from black light-skinned girl to the black dark-skinned girl. I love them. Black Opal from my experience only had light- skinned tones to only a Carmel. I couldn’t find my color. They never really catered to dark-skinned girls. I’m a dark-skinned chocolate girl. I’ll take black radiance any day. Also I have heard that Loreal has shades for us black women. Here’s the… Read more »

Amanda
Amanda
4 years ago

They must not sell all colors everywhere because I’ve never seen those darker shades at my local stores in Ohio

AlenaCraig
AlenaCraig
4 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

The stores choose which shades they wish to sell.

Lanaya Waters
Lanaya Waters
4 years ago

Just an update, Black Up, Black Opal, Flori Roberts, Black Radiance, and Sacha are NOT black owned. Still amazing brands but I know a lot of confusion are surrounding those brands.

You can cater to a specific need without being black owned but Black Opal has always been geared towards darker skin. Once they became a bigger brand, now they want to be more commercial, and not just in the beauty supply stores.

A.M.
A.M.
5 years ago

First, I want to say I know for certain Black Opal was/is developed for women of color. My former dermatologist was one of two black doctors who created the product to address the issues women of color have with our skin. Second, if you read Black Opal’s Response to the comments, it says they never claimed to be to exclude other people but was created for women of color. Maybe the response wasn’t warm and fuzzy but it certainly didn’t say it wasn’t made for women of color. Read the response again for yourself and stop drawing conclusions based on… Read more »

EbonyLolita
EbonyLolita
5 years ago

You only have to tell me ONCE I’m not welcomed and Indont go back. The only thing I bought from Black Opal was there concealer. I’ll be moving on to another brand based on that response! Not a problem! Found another website that highlighted over 20 straight up Black owned & operated makeup line. We have CHOICES now Sistas! Let our dollars be a sign of that!

Na'Shay Alexis Parks
Na'Shay Alexis Parks
5 years ago

I’m sorry. I’m not understanding the outrage. It doesn’t seem to me that they have offered conflicting statements, nor does it seem that they are trying to alienate black women.

They say that they are geared toward women of color. That term includes black women, but we aren’t the only group that it includes.

Courtney Wheeler
Courtney Wheeler
5 years ago

they are lying. F them anyway.

Tammie Thomas
Tammie Thomas
5 years ago

Well I’ll just pass right on over them whenever I see them from now on! Thanks for sharing this story!!

Saran
Saran
5 years ago

These companies never take black women seriously, for when they run these kinf of jokes on us they don’t feel the impact on their sales volume. they’ll still continue to make money.

Kolli
Kolli
5 years ago

I will never buy another Black Opal product. I know they don’t care about that because they have “every shade of beauty” dollars now, but it makes me feel better

Elle P.
Elle P.
5 years ago

Looks like I’ll be going back to Shea Moisture makeup…
#blackowned

Ayp
Ayp
3 years ago
Reply to  Elle P.

Only 51% Black-owned and the recent shenanigans of that company make me think they are moving in the same direction of Black Opal.

Lana
Lana
3 years ago
Reply to  Elle P.

Not black owned.. only 51%.

kia
kia
5 years ago

The way some of these companies sit on their high horse is astonishing. I’d rather shop at a white owned lined that makes 4 shades for black girls than wear a line that’s made for black girls and swear they aren’t. At least the white owned company is upfront with their intentions from the get go. Smashbox, MAC, & Bare Minerals has never failed me.

blu jamaican
blu jamaican
5 years ago

Smh. Are they embarrassed to say they are geared towards black women? I’m trying to support black owned companies regarding skin care… No more black opal for me.

Spiderqueen
Spiderqueen
5 years ago

I only wanted to make a point about Queen Dei’s comment about average black women. Alec and Lupita are darker than the average African American woman but in Africa they’re pretty averagely dark.

clever_moniker
5 years ago

The shareholders are on that all lives matter kick. They want to make sure they have nothing to do with blackness right now.

Philly Jawn
Philly Jawn
5 years ago

black opal well the title is sure misleading

Amelia
Amelia
3 years ago

So you can’t use a beauty brand unless it excludes others? What the fuck makes you so special? BO DOES cater to black women, it just also caters to women of other colours. This entire article sounds like a toddler’s tantrum, “I can’t have it so no one can!” You call yourselves “strong black women” but are threatened to the point of an online witchhunt because a brand makes makeup for white women too. “Strong” my ass. If there were a brand called “Porcelain Doll” that made makeup for very pale women, then introduced a line of darker shades and… Read more »

Black Girl With Long Hair
Reply to  Amelia

First off, don’t expect to have any of your future comments approved on this site. Because you are canceled. Second, are you aware of how few beauty companies cater to black women? We spend more on hair and beauty than any other ethnicity of women, we are early adapters of beauty trends and brands, but we are always ALWAYS relegated to the ‘back of the bus’ when it comes to beauty brands. As soon as brands cross over to mainstream recognition, they move AWAY from black women consumers. We are not asking for brands to cater to just us, we… Read more »

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