Rebecca Willing, of Indian descent, says she suffers from not being able to buy makeup that suits her at any Australian supermarket – store or online.
“I moved from the UK to Australia when I was 15 and it will always be in supermarkets,” he said.
“For the past 20 years, it has been basically impossible to buy makeup for any brand of dark colors in the Macbeth aisle.
“My relatives in the UK couldn’t believe it because all the shades are available on supermarket shelves. You can go to Tesco and Asta and there are all shades of brown. It’s the same in the US, so I don’t know why we’re lagging behind in Australia,” he said.
Until last Friday – Ms Willing said she had not hesitated to decorate her local Woolworth store for years – she was excited when she went to see a new beauty range.
“MCoBeauty is a new company that has just come out, they use culturally different models, and they advertise and beat all of these shades online, so I thought‘ OK, let’s see this, ’” he said.
The face of Australian comedian Celeste Barber, the products only sell on Woolworths and Big W, were advertised at half price last week.
But when Ms Willing came to the makeup aisle, she saw the same old problem. Eight bottles in a “ivory” shade found the base, and 12 tons of brown.
“I tried another Woolworths, they had none. The manager checked the computer and found that the dark color sold in any store was ‘medium brown’,” he said.
“Actually, the darkest color available for purchase online at both Woolworths and Big W is‘ medium brown ’.
“It makes me so angry. It’s so disgusting.
When Ms Willing contacted Woolworths and MCoBeauty she was told it could be purchased online through MCoBeauty.
But for $ 28 for foundation and sh10 shipping, Ms Willing said customers who buy lighter shades at the Woolworths store will have to pay $ 38 to buy online through MCoBeauty instead of $ 13.
“Denying access to products for people with certain skin tones and paying more for the same product is a kind of discrimination and completely unacceptable,” he said.
While some may find the availability of makeup in supermarkets a trivial matter, Ms Willing said the issue is far greater than makeup.
“My three-year-old daughter has slightly lighter skin than me, but is still darker,” he said.
“I do not want her growing up without trying to do makeup with her friends who are in stores. I want her to feel included. I want her to see the color references on the shelves.
“It feels like we’re invisible. Supermarkets do not want us to appear or be a part of this general beauty. It’s like we’re not.”
Ms Willing said there may be a much larger market for darker makeup shades than supermarkets realize, but even then, supply should not be dictated by demand at this event.
“While only a small percentage of the population needs these colors, it is being ignored and excluded by hundreds of thousands of people in Australia,” Ms Willing said in her petition.
“Supermarket and retail store results for purchasing products related to customers’ skin color should not be considered the same as buying chips from popular chips to store shelves – cosmetic shades are not an ‘option’ for customers in dark colors.”
A spokesman for Woolworths aims for its supermarket range to reflect the diverse mix of its customers.
“At the entire supermarket we select products based on the quantity of demand, but we understand that we need a different approach to deliver a more inclusive range of cosmetics,” Spokesman Nine.com said.
“We have previously tested a wide selection of cosmetic tones online to help our customers improve our store and the cosmetics we offer online.”
A Coles spokesman told Nine.com. Supermarket chain “Celebrated diversity”.
“We work with our suppliers to provide a wide variety of cosmetics and cater to the needs of our customers. We appreciate customer feedback and are always looking for ways to enhance our offering. We will review the opportunity to increase our range online with customer request.”
When contacted by Nine.com, Aldi declined to comment.
A spokesman for MCoBeauty said the company wants to save its entire range on Woolworths and Big W, which understands that this is not possible due to layered space limitations.
Contact reporter Emily McPherson at [email protected]