The Shady Foundations of Kat Von D Beauty

The makeup industry is one that over time is slowly making efforts towards diversifying and embracing the many skin tones and shades that exist in human pigment. Major brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills have made strides in stepping up their game and increasing their range of shades, giving women with dark skin an opportunity to finally be represented in makeup.

One brand that isn’t making too many strides but is making a lot of excuses? Kat Von D Beauty.

Kat Von D recently posted a photo of her team on Instagram, and commenters couldn’t help but notice that group of women was not exactly one of major diversity. It was pointed out that as creators and influencers of beauty, one might hope that a makeup team might represent the many women that actually wear makeup.

Von D was quick to point out that her team was indeed a very diverse group of mainly white women.

“Diversity? We have American, Canadian, Dutch, Mexican, Australian, and Argentinian? Not sure what is lacking in ‘diversity’ here,” she said.

For many, this sounded as though it could have been the name of a successful book and film series entitled Fifty Shades of White, but for others, Von D’s explanation was one that made sense.

“Totally agree w KVD!! The idea every race or skin tone has to be represented for anyone to feel included is just crazy!” one Instagram user wrote.


This controversy has arisen almost in tandem with Von D’s brand’s recent development of 13 new foundation shades in its popular Lock-It Foundation. The shades, available in Sephora stores everywhere October 7, vary deeply in undertone and seem to greatly represent a range of light-medium skin tones.

Where they falter, for many, is in their treatment of dark skin tones. Noticeably, dark shades are of a very small number.

“Kat Von D has like 50 shades of foundation for white people and 2 shades for brown people bye I don’t want to hear it” a Twitter user wrote.

Von D defended her brand by using the classic “color-blind” defense, saying, “I’m sorry, but I don’t judge or hire people based off of their skin tone. I don’t care if your black white or neon green — I select my crew by what’s on the inside.”

Here’s the thing: there are not only plenty of women with dark skin tones who wear makeup and love it as a hobby, there are many women with dark skin who also create and develop makeup. For not one creator with dark skin to be on a team of a major makeup brand is not only an issue, but it’s something that shows in Von D’s selection of shades, whether purposefully or not.

Not only is Kat Von D’s defense problematic in its lack of brand awareness, it’s also irresponsible in terms of negating this criticism and downplaying it to an issue of one Instagram commenter. Von D is not willing to admit her brand could do better and her team could use even more help in developing makeup for all women.

Instead of making excuses, Von D should focus on what’s important: the makeup creators and wearers who haven’t yet been able to find their perfect shade in stores.

ColourPop Racist Product Names: Full Story & Details