For many of us, representation — in advertising, the media, and, of course, the beauty industry — hasn’t always been easy to come by. Truthfully, in many cases, it’s still not, but things have started looking up. Driven by passionate, socially conscious beauty-lovers and the emergence of modern brands, a new wave of inclusivity and consciousness has begun in the beauty world. The past few years have been marked with expansive shade ranges, inclusive campaigns, and an emphasis on the stories that we all have to tell.
But before inclusivity became an industry-wide word and ad campaigns actually felt relatable, there was one place we could always turn to for beauty advice on features that mirrored ours: family. Ahead, we tapped two closely bonded trios to shed light on how they’ve navigated the beauty community over the years and found comfort — and confidence — in their family circles.
Good things come in threes, and one glance at sisters Soleil, Rebecca, and Gabriela proves this statement has never been more true — or looked so cool. But they haven’t always felt this way. “Growing up, there was a huge lack of women of color in the beauty industry,” Rebecca says. “As a result, my self-confidence took a toll.”
Soleil agrees. “I remember being a kid and telling my dad I didn’t believe I was beautiful,” she says. “I remember being teased for my forehead, thick legs, big nose, skin complexion, and my hair so much that mentally, I’m still trying to break through those insecurities and completely love who I am and what I look like today.” Luckily, having a built-in support system helps the sisters lift each other up and see their true beauty. “We have always told one another how beautiful each of us are,” Gabriela says. “Shooting [these photos] with Soleil and Becca was shocking, because this is a turning point in understanding our self-image.”
“There is self-care in doing your makeup,” Gabriela says. But when your routine involves the extra steps of mixing products to create your perfect shades, the experience can feel more stressful than therapeutic. Luckily, with new Sephora foundations from Fenty Beauty, Milk Makeup, and Laura Mercier, things are about to get easier.
As an occasional foundation user searching for a product that matched her complexion and moisturized her skin, Rebecca found Milk Makeup’s Flex Foundation Stick ideal for evening out her complexion without dehydrating her skin. And for Soleil, who says finding her exact color is “nearly impossible,” Fenty Beauty’s famous 50-shade range has a perfect match for her in its new Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation. Gabriela, on the other hand, favors a light and natural beauty look, making Laura Mercier’s cult-favorite Tinted Moisturizer an easy choice for the subtle radiance, hydration, and SPF protection it provides.
Shared beauty struggles between sisters is one thing, but you’d be surprised at just how similar they can be across generations, too. This is the case for Bibi and her two daughters, Nouri and Sarah. “I think we’ve all had similar beauty experiences considering we all have similar skin tones and textures,” Sarah says. From dealing with acne scars to finding shade matches for their complexions year-round, their struggles are not uncommon — just often overlooked.
“It is SO important for beauty brands to have a plethora of options for all skin tones and skin types,” Nouri says. The sentiment is unanimous, with Sarah adding that "beauty brands have to represent people of all ethnicities now more than ever before.” And for Bibi, representing all ages is just important as shades. "For those like me, [makeup] even helps me feel even a bit younger," she says. "I believe beauty brands should include more older women."
On the foundation front, Bibi, Nouri, and Sarah all agree that finding their shades has proven difficult in the past — especially in formulas that meet their needs and preferences. Bibi turns to foundation daily to cover up discoloration; Nouri and Sarah favor a more natural look but opt for foundation to cover up hyperpigmentation, scars, and acne.
That’s where Sephora and three noteworthy foundations (including two new launches!) come in. The Smashbox Studio Skin Full Coverage Foundation balances out Bibi’s combination dry-oily skin while creating a soft-focus, blurring effect to smooth any problem areas. For Nouri, Sephora Collection’s new Tinted Moisturizer is the perfect choice, providing her with sheer-to-medium buildable coverage while keeping her skin simultaneously moisturized and matiffied. And for Sarah, Pat McGrath’s buzzworthy Skin Fetish Foundation provides her with natural, buildable coverage that feels practically weightless.
Credits: Photographer: Matthew Zach; Art Director: Meg Konigsburg; Producer: Cassie Doyle; Wardrobe Stylist: Emma Sousa; HMU Artist: Ashley Rebecca; Prop Stylist: Aja Coon