Full Spectrum by CoverGirl: Is this what a celebration of people of color looks like?

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Full Spectrum Matte Ambition Foundation
Full Spectrum Matte Ambition Foundation
Full Spectrum All Day Idol Brightening Concealer
Full Spectrum All Day Idol Brightening Concealer
Full Spectrum Matte Ambition Powder Foundation
Full Spectrum Matte Ambition Powder Foundation
Full Spectrum Sculpt Expert Multiuse Cheek Palette
Full Spectrum Sculpt Expert Multiuse Cheek Palette
Full Spectrum So Saturated Shadow Palettes
Full Spectrum So Saturated Shadow Palettes
Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Quads vs. CoverGirl Eyeshadow Quads
Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Quads vs. CoverGirl Eyeshadow Quads
Full Spectrum Matte Ambition Foundation
Full Spectrum All Day Idol Brightening Concealer
Full Spectrum Matte Ambition Powder Foundation
Full Spectrum Sculpt Expert Multiuse Cheek Palette
Full Spectrum So Saturated Shadow Palettes
Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Quads vs. CoverGirl Eyeshadow Quads

Over the weekend, I noticed a new brand pop up on Ulta called Full Spectrum, which is actually “Full Spectrum CoverGirl” when one looks at the packaging.  It’s categorized under brands as “Full Spectrum,” though, and it doesn’t show up as part of the “CoverGirl” brand category.  I was confused by it, since it seemed more like a sub-line geared towards brighter shades, except it also had base and complexion products, and was separated out as its own brand. This is how CoverGirl announced it to their fans on Instagram: The collection is designed to celebrate Women of Color. 20 different foundation shades! Along with brightening concealers, mattifying primer, eyeshadow palettes, eyeliners, lipsticks and more!”

Through the course of this week, a few publications like Allure and Refinery29 have written up about it, and it is apparently for people of color.  The part that I’m unclear on is whether it’s a sub-line within CoverGirl, intended as more of a sister brand to CoverGirl, or if it’s a mere collection of products from CoverGirl–but Ulta has it separated out as its own brand.  I don’t have the full press release, so based on the snippets quoted and included in the aforementioned publications, here are two key quotes:

“Full Spectrum brings out your truest tones with super rich pigments and hydrating shades that stand out,” says the press release CoverGirl sent to Allure. “[We] understand that inclusivity goes far beyond shade ranges so we’re providing products for eyes, lips, and face that were designed to pop against darker skin tones.” (From Allure)


Johanne Richard, Global R&D Face Manager of CoverGirl, tells Refinery29 that developing this line was important to her because she’s had her fair share of confusion in the cosmetics aisle. “I come from a Haitian background and skin tones in my family run the gamut,” Richard says. “So many of my friends and family have told me stories about mixing foundation shades, so we really wanted to create a collection that addressed the special nuances of our skin.”

Richard and her team spent almost two years measuring the skin tones of various people of color. “Through our research we were able to get a better understanding of the undertones of dark skin — not only to deliver on shades but on finish, too,” says Richard. “Most women of color are put into the same category, but we all have different undertones and our complexions are all really different.” The CoverGirl team also surveyed women of color to find out what this particular group wants, finding that most seek full-coverage complexion products, matte finishes, and vibrant color pigments when picking out makeup. (From Refinery29)

Now, whether it’s a separate line or sub-line or brand, none of it is encouraging and all of it feels very pandering; CoverGirl’s Instagram makes it seem like a collection, more in the vein of the Queen collection. (Read this brief interview with Queen Latifah on Essence on how it started and why… it’ll sound familiar except it’s going on 2019, so it’d be nice to increase inclusivity of the brand’s core offerings, rather than continuing to separate them out.)  We are always being sold to, and diversity and inclusivity are now used as marketing tactics, so we’re likely to see more attempts (without the follow through) in the future.

To a degree, I accept some of that as the cost of progress; I’d rather more options because brands see it as “profitable” than no options, but when major brands like CoverGirl, which has so many layers and people involved throughout the process, seem to miss the nuances of why diversity and inclusivity is important, it’s disheartening. The announcement of the new collection by CoverGirl on their Instagram shows some of the products but has no other campaign material, followed by a promotional image of a palette, and then two model shots.

A lot of my immediate reaction I had to reading the press write-ups on this launch had me feeling the same way I did about Flesh Beauty (read here): you’ve tried so hard to sell me on the idea you want me to believe in that I don’t believe it because I don’t actually see the nuances carried throughout the concept.

If you actually look at the Full Spectrum product offerings, there’s nothing about it that seems particularly geared towards people of color.  The Matte Ambition foundation contains 20 shades, while the concealer has a mere six and powder foundation comes in with 12 shades.  But why 20 shades?  The Matte Ambition shade range starts at Light Cool and goes up to Deep Cool 3.  CoverGirl’s TruBlend Matte, which made a splashy entrance when it expanded to 40 shades earlier this year, seems far better equipped at meeting the needs of a wide spectrum of skin tones and undertones.  (As an aside, CoverGirl’s other foundation ranges have not been expanded and remain at 13 or less shades.)

Also, let’s talk about the shade ranges themselves with a complete lack of real swatches (or even faux-real swatches) — no campaign shots, no models, no brand-provided swatches.  Nothing on Ulta, where you’d buy it, and it’s online only until February 2019, and there’s little that aligns with the press release accompanying this launch.  I think if you’re going to pitch me about the intensity of your pigments, that they’re specifically formulated to pop against all skin tones, that you’d be excited to share that visually in a community where swatching is now the norm.

Full Spectrum Sculpt Expert Multiuse Cheek Palette

There are several lipglosses, liquid lipsticks, and traditional lipsticks that seem like a good mix of colors (for anyone).  I’m totally baffled by having a specific eyeliner formula for people of color when it’s primarily your standard fare for liner; where are some flesh-toned waterline shades. There are currently three cheek trios that don’t seem like they’re celebrating the full spectrum of depths and undertones that people of color come in.  Instead, the cheek trios land in the same territory well-covered by brands in the past: light, medium, maybe medium-dark (they don’t seem that different from CoverGirl’s TruBlend Palettes).

Full Spectrum So Saturated Shadow Palette

The same story is seen in the So Saturated Shadow Palettes, which routinely feature 2-4 very light shades and have the compositions that look like so many other palettes on the market already. They’re even described as “universally flattering highlighter, base, crease and liner shades,” when we know that the right highlight, base, and crease shades differ from skin tone to skin tone, undertone to undertone.

Compared to CoverGirl’s regular Eyeshadow Quads, the So Saturated Eyeshadow Quads are a vast improvement in general intensity/saturation but seem less about fulfilling the needs of a diverse group of skin tones so much as about providing… more saturated… intense color? because the most neutral version is very light but most of the quad variations are bright colors and have skipped the brow and transition type shades.

I’m actually all about the removal of skin tone-dependent shades like highlights and transitions; I’d rather see four colors that are usable by most skin tones and leave the more skin tone-dependent shades to the user.  In my ideal world, brands would, however, provide quads of basics by skin tone (and undertone, but let’s not get greedy) — e.g. a neutral quad for light skin, a neutral quad for medium skin, a neutral quad for dark skin, and a neutral quad for deep skin. But when it comes to providing workhorse neutrals in their line for “people of color,” there certainly seems to be a huge lack of options for a wide spectrum of skin tones.

Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Quads vs. CoverGirl Eyeshadow Quads Palette

There’s also a single version of a Contour & Correct Cream Palette. Part of the desire for diversity in shade ranges is because there is a huge range in depth (and undertone) between very fair to very deep–one size does not fit all.  When I go through and look at the range, I’m not seeing much that seems catered to the “needs” of people of color that isn’t accomplished just by… releasing… non-neutrals or not putting 50% beige in a palette.  I’m not seeing a revolutionary shade range.  I’m not seeing swatches on a spectrum of skin tones when I go to buy the product.

The Queen Collection is either getting more limited distribution or being discontinued so Full Spectrum looks more like a replacement; it’s not carried on Ulta and most retailers, like Target and Walgreens, have only a smattering of shades left. I wish that after 12 years of knowing that their core range was under-serving the full spectrum of skin tones of their customer base, they celebrated people of color by incorporating more products that worked for more skin tones and undertones into their core range.

CoverGirl, as a brand, would be continuing to better serve their customer base and to make strides forward to inclusivity after extending the TruBlend foundation range to 40 shades.  Instead, the continued segmenting out of people of color feels, at best, a very obvious marketing ploy to seem and look PoC-friendly to cash in on a marketplace that’s been demanding more and more from brands on that front.  At worst, it’s bordering on demoralizing to see the separation persist.

Had CoverGirl merely billed Full Spectrum as their take on fully-pigmented, unforgivably bright and electric colors and hues and incorporated those pops of color across eyeshadow quads/palettes, cheek colors, lip products, and eyeliners, it could have been an interesting collection, particularly if they’d shown swatches (at least entice us!). They could have, in their marketing spiel, addressed how they researched and were very careful to ensure that the colors translated well across skin tones and would maintain true in color regardless of skin tone. Anastasia from Viseart has mentioned this before; how they specifically test colors on deeper skin tones first and work their way to the lightest skin tone when they develop their products, like eyeshadow.

Instead, I keep going back to Fenty Beauty and its launch, where the brand made it clear that they were going to be an inclusive brand that celebrated diversity, but you could see that attitude reflected across their brand–not just in the foundation shade range, but the undertones, depths, balance of the range, and then in the diversity shown throughout the campaigns (and not just at launch but since then).  It seems so easy to get it right and yet brands miss time after time when it comes to following through but too often want to be patted on the back for how inclusive! diverse! they are.

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Excellent write up Christine. I’ve really enjoyed your ongoing commentary about these changes in the beauty industry, and I always look forward to reading your take on these issues as they arise. I have no real problem with people trying to court diversity/inclusion for dollar signs, but they have to do it right to deserve the market share they’re pursuing. As you said, they get it wrong more often than getting it right.

Either way, I like knowing who’s doing it right, so I can spend my money on a brand that’s actually trying to make room for me in their market. Although I’m medium-dark/tan, finding undertones that actually match my skin tone has been difficult. I remember when I got matched to a Fenty foundation, I actually said out loud to the makeup artist, “Wow, I’ve never had more than one option for my skin tone that looks really good. This is a new feeling.” I love brands or collaborators like Fenty that just get that feeling and make options available to everyone.

Yep! There is a “better” way to do it, and this isn’t it. I don’t know how a major brand like CoverGirl doesn’t have every step thought through.

Wow, this is just…weird. Why can’t brands focus more on expanding their original lines where needed? (Or actually figure out undertones, but just getting good range of depths would be a good first step…)

This just seems SO disingenuous from CoverGirl I’m honestly kind of appalled. They’re going to tout an “inclusive” sub brand specifically for POC but then only offer *six* concealer shades & 20 foundation shades. Like what were they thinking here?

I think it’s also extra disappointing to see because you know this went through multiple teams to get approved & launched & yet still turned out like this.

So many layers and yet not enough attention paid to all the details (although I’m not sold on it being a line, sub-line, sister brand, or anything like that if it’s marketed this way). It seems like the “norm” in order to really make a statement about your shade range being diverse is 40, so 20, which is slowly becoming more of the new standard, seems odd.

Agreeing with you 100% Megan. Took exact wording out of my head. Come on Cover Girl with so many designers, chemists, meetings, media you go through and no one shouted this a half way done crappy distribution?! Either go full steam or don’t bother. I have always preferred Cover Girl over Revlon or Maybelline but I’m not happy about this shady half way ass introduction of very few shades. Be honest and true you have the bucks!

wow! Thank you Christine! In brazilian portuguese we would say “você lacrou”, that means that you make great, unexpected and professional content! Congratulations

“Instead, the continued segmenting out of people of color feels, at best, a very obvious marketing ploy to seem and look PoC-friendly to cash in on a marketplace that’s been demanding more and more from brands on that front. At worst, it’s bordering on demoralizing to see the separation persist.”

Hear, hear! Thank you Christine.

Hi Christine, I’ve only just found out about this Covergirl extention from this post, so thanks for bringing it to our attention. I just don’t see how it makes sense that all the makeup needs for woc are gonna fit neatly into a small offering of products and a mere 20 foundations. The range of skin tones in this category is so nuanced. I’m just thinking how Fenty has foundation shades from 100’s to 400’s with 10 in each category. 200’s to 400’s encompass the majority of woc (although some woc even fall into the 100s range), that’s 3/4 (30) of their foundations.

Looking at there being more focus on bright colorful shadows and lipsticks and less focus on having more foundations, and more shades of the blush/bronzer/highlighter trios doesn’t make sense to me for a line marketed this way. I think woc (or is it just me lol) are more in need of eyeshadows to use as transition and crease colors at the drugstore, not bold pops of color. They’re more in need of nude/mlbb and red lip products, not just bold colors. Bronzer/contour, blush and even cheek highlighter shades are extremely limiting at the drugstore and I wish this line would’ve at least brought it in that category. You mentioned flesh tone liners and omg I don’t even think those exist at the drugstore in different shades. I would’ve really loved to have more of my needs catered to in this line but hopefully they offer more of what I’m looking for in the future, I’m really interested to see future product offerings.

It’s super new – I think the press release must have gone out on Monday or Tuesday as that seemed to be when the coverage went up. When I googled for it, I couldn’t find any info beyond trademarks filed, if I remember correctly!

I agree! 20 doesn’t seem that remarkable (or enough) at all, especially not if they are starting with “Light” – which is great in one sense that they may be acknowledging that POC come in a wide spectrum of skin depths, but if there are only 20 shades, then it’s not doing much more than the typical range… even their own (TruBlend). There are so many areas where the mainstream drugstore brands are missing but doesn’t seem like Full Spectrum/CoverGirl made note.

“It seems so easy to get it right and yet brands miss time after time”, you hit the nail on the head with that closing statement Christine! Please keep calling out the beauty industry on this issue!

I keep imagining the marketing if they had brought the Queen collection/concept into their range – retiring it because their core range now encompassed shades for ALL with a full rollout of blushes/bronzers from light to dark, deeper neutrals, richer shades, more shades of beige in lip colors to be “nude” across many skin tones…

I have no knowledge about cosmetic chemistry, how pigments mix or anything like that, but it’s not a hard concept to get that people would want to have the right depth and undertone of foundation! Have multiple depths and warm, cool, neutral undertones for each one. It shouldn’t be so hard! Covergirl’s main foundation line actually does this pretty well (although their formulas never worked well for me), so I don’t know what they were trying to achieve with this.

Thanks for an insightful, well-written post!

Yeah, a lot of it has me scratching my head in so many ways… they got it “right” with TruBlend foundation, so keep going in that direction..?!

That’s what this is? I remember browsing this and absolutely nothing about it made it feel like it was a line designed to be inclusive. This is the worst kind of pandering, tbh. I honestly hope that all the goodwill they earned for going truly cruelty free they lose for this B.S. Consumers deserve better!

I actually bought the foundation and received it in the mail today. I got it on a whim, seeing it was billed as a “new brand” and online only on Ulta. My biggest surprise was that once I received it I realized it was Covergirl! And here I was thinking I was trying out some new, indie makeup brand.

I’m warm toned, but got the shade Medium Cool 2 because it looked kinda yellow and warm to me (even with the limited pics on the website). The shade, while not as yellow as my Fenty, is definitely not cool toned.

I just wish they would of been upfront that it’s covergirl, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bought it, and that the shades had a better description/swatch pics.

When I saw it on the weekend, I was like “Full Spectrum? ANOTHER new brand?!” and then I looked the pictures of the packaging and saw CoverGirl on them and was like okay… is this a new sister brand?

Bummer to hear that the shade you bought turned out to be yellower and too warm! I don’t understand why brands (in general) don’t spend some time describing their foundation shades.

Very interesting, thanks Christine. This isn’t some new, just starting out indie brand, short on cash. This is a huge multinational company. I can’t help feeling that with the abundant resources they must have, there is really no excuse for such poor offerings. Don’t these companies realise that they are missing out on a huge market?

You know how Bite only focuses on lips? If some clever person in the makeup world wanted to start a business, THIS would be where to focus (if I had more money/training it’s what I’d do). Create a line that starts with a range of base in neutral tone in a wide spectrum of color. Sell add-ins to mix with the base to make it cool or warm, add-ins to make the foundation lighter or darker if the range doesn’t match your skintone exactly (I am literally half asleep and can’t think of the actual terms). If you want to get crazy, allow a choice of whether the base caters to dry, normal, or oily skintone (like skincare). If you live near one of the shops, go in and get a customized blend, and then you can buy the blend online using your specific mixture (kinda like perfumeries create a custom blend for you). If you don’t live near a store, get the kit (because duh, you’d have to sell a kit that gives the neutral base, either a lighter or darker add-in, and a cool or warm add-in, with a choice of what skin type the base should cater to) that is a combination of what you need for your skin, and then once you have the ratios correct for your skin, there is a place to order online entering your ratios.

I know this probably isn’t making sense, but in my head I can see it. And then we’d put the foundation world out of business because if you can buy a foundation that is specific to your undertone, skin type, and skin tone, you’d never again need to spend hundreds/thousands of dollars buying and trying foundations only to be disappointed.

I forgot to add, in addition to the cool and warm add-ins, can we PLEASE get a green tint for everyone with olive undertones? The market for olive undertone is so underwhelming it is laughable.

Well, in a way, Prescriptives did that – they were big for custom foundation, but they didn’t make it. I think that might have been the last product that was holding them afloat to hear about it!

I think for something like that to work you’d need an established brand to do it, probably one with a strong footprint (for stores/counters), but certainly some more add-ins or tints or things like that could go a long way!

Lancome does this in limited stores/counters. I believe Nordstrom’s, but it’s not everyone.

Prescriptives definitely did it first like Christine mentioned.

Goodness! Its not like people of color are of a different species! I mean, they have a certain magic that has yet to be respected, but still. You hit the nail so EXACTLY on the head about Fenty. Rihanna just throws it all out there… Look how amazing we all are..here’s a bunch of beautiful products we can all use!.. Why is it so hard for these companies to actually understand this? Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for your very well thought out article. So much respect for you .

The segregationist phrase “separate but equal” comes to mind reading this. Cover Girl has been around such a long time and I don’t understand why they cant expand inclusivity into their ENTIRE collection instead of screaming, “hey look at us! we’re doing the diversity thing!”

It’s hard not to see it that way. They’ve done it that way for the last decade via Queen collection, and at the time, maybe that was what was acceptable, but it seems like by now, we can and should expect more!

Thank you for another insightful article! For me, the most problematic part of this release is the separation of the new line of products as another brand and even giving it another name, almost as if Cover Girl are too embarrassed to place products that are meant to be inclusive within their core range. I find it rather insulting and condescending on their part. I would have found this release a lot more palatable if they had just added new shades to their permanent range and just mentioned that “we’re expanding our core range to be more inclusive” or something along those lines. There’s a real need for affordable face products for women with darker skin tones, Fenty may be awesome but they aren’t accessible to all, so the fact that a huge brand like Cover Girl are releasing more inclusive products could have been cause for celebration, if they had done it right.

Yeah, I’m trying to understand just how separated it is, because CoverGirl definitely refers to it as a collection, not a separate brand, so Ulta’s categorization is confusing (because none of the Full Spectrum products show up if you search for CoverGirl).

Almost seems like they weren’t sure how this “diversity thing” was going to pan out so they created a non commital line just to test it. An established brand like CoverGirl creating a sub-brand for POC is very “othering.” Not good.

They should have discontinued their worst selling foundation and launched a new foundation called Full Spectrum with 40 odd shades. That might’ve been a better start.

To read the press release and then actually look through the line itself, I don’t feel like the messaging is matching the offerings / presentation?

As an aside, I am shocked how milquetoast the packaging is – nothing about the packaging says a celebration of women of color at all. It looks very basic and interchangable, like specifically created by a robot to be “middle of the road” and inoffensive. How is that a celebration of anything?

I agree that there’s not much here, from the product shots to presentation to some of what’s offered that really gives me “celebration of women of color.”

Okay, but when you’re doing a special line in celebration of people of color and “vibrancy” I feel like coming up with almost anonymous packaging is quite strange. That’s different than say a brand with a “clean” aesthetic having very minimalist packaging.

Thank you for writing such consistently thorough and thoughtful content! Your site is a real joy to read and a necessity in the beauty community. I wish YOU would create your own line, because it seems pretty clear that you’d do it right! 🙂

BeautyNews talked about this brand in their latest video, but I don’t think they or anyone else realized it was supposed to be a brand geared towards people of color. Had I not seen this write up, I never would have known. All they needed to do was extend their existing range and make the Queen collection easier to purchase by putting it in more stores.

Although Fenty has definitely instigated the discussion on inclusion within beauty brands, I can’t help but feel annoyed when Fenty and Rhianna are held on this platform of racial inclusivity, when Rhianna herself has said some very disparaging comments about people of Asian descent, both in the past and fairly recently. Comments that she has never apologized for or addressed in any way. It’s so frustrating when it seems that people forget that Asians are also POC, and Fenty is definitely not as “all inclusive” as people assume.

For me, regardless of whether or not someone apologizes, what we have to look at is future actions (or inactions) – because no matter how well-crafted or poorly-crafted an apology may be at that moment in time, time will tell if it was genuine. (As far as I’m aware, the Instagram post was posted years prior to the brand starting.)

I don’t speak for anyone but myself, but I will remind/disclose that I’m half Vietnamese, though I’m well-aware that that is not considered enough for some to be a person of color or is not Asian enough. What I see in Fenty’s marketing shows that those involved understand why diversity is important because it is reflected throughout the brand. I’ve seen both light, medium, medium deep, deep, and deepest in their campaigns that are truly multi-ethnic (including Asians) as well as on their social media (which I find is a good place to see consistency in messaging and action). Each of us have our own lines, tolerances, and how and what we’ll forgive, so you have to do what feels right for you.

I’m not Asian, but considered “mixed” non-hispanic, non-asian. All I can say, is that I may not be a Fenty fan more than another brand, but it would be a lie for me to say they are not “inclusive”. I’ve seen a little of everything in their adverts and the line has A LOT of color selections of foundation wise. Of course, I don’t think any brand can have an exact match for everybody, but they definitely have products that work for just about everyone (maybe not their eyeshadows though in my opinion, but just about everything else).

I am sorry I didn’t get to answer this question in a timely manner, Christine, but just wanted to thank you on behalf of myself and my daughter regarding inclusivity or lack thereof, in the beauty industry. I wouldn’t hear about a lot of these issues just based on where I live but I deal with this issue very frequently as I am very pale and my daughter is of mixed race. She is Caucasian/African American/American Indian. She also has very acne prone skin so trying to find the right formula, right shade and right undertone is so very frustrating for her and she ends up having to mix 2,3 or even 4 shades to get anything approaching a match. This multi billion dollar industry is approaching a tipping point and if they don’t see the tide changing then they will go under.

Wow! I can’t imagine having to mix four shades every time to get the right match – that would be so hard to be consistent with (without mixing your own bottle’s worth!) each time.

Like Christine, I’m very surprised that today she has to do that. Even if the color matching machines used by Sephora or other makeup counters aren’t the best, she may want to consider trying those at a department store or again, Sephora. They’ll give her a number that will help her find a brand and color. She can also have a makeup sales person (a knowledgeable one, who’s foundation match you like 😉 ) help her. Even if you don’t purchase the foundation they try to sell you, you can take the match and then use an online foundation matching app (like the one on Christine’s site for example) and find other brands that have the formula or price range she wants.

Thank you so much for your input, Jane. She has been shade matched many, many times. She has used the machine at Sephora, etc. Sales associates have matched her and she was shade matched while we were in London and Paris. She has very dark eyes and hair as you would imagine from her ethnicity and while her skin is darker than mine, she isn’t more than a medium. The issue is with undertone mostly. They and the machines, want to make her much more “orange” than she is. While we were in Europe she told the SA that she did not want to walk out of the store looking like an oompa loompa and so the associate matched her and applied the foundation to her and we left the store. She did purchase the foundation. We walked outside and I looked at her and started laughing as she looked way too dark and way too orange. We turned around and went right back in the store and she returned the foundation. Just last month, while visiting a Sephora inside a JC Penny’s she was matched by an SA and same problem. It is just very frustrating.

I think CoverGirl should at least be commended for making the effort, not totally condemned for not “doing it right”. Why throw the baby out with the bathwater…?

First of all, the “new” range may be due to the contract with Queen Latifah ending, for whatever reason(s). With the proliferation of so many new brands coming to market, there’s only so much shelf space available, and making this range (as with Queen) makes it easier to stand out, and allow retailers to figure out what’s actually selling in a given location. Where I currently live, these shades have a market; however, if I go about 10-15 miles away, these would be sitting on the shelf collecting dust. If I want to buy base products from CVS or Walgreens, I have to go out of my city, because the stores either don’t carry light enough shades, or the ones on the shelf are so old, the brand has changed the packaging at least twice… I’m not complaining, just pointing out different demographics exist.

Second, in terms of the “color” products, there can be some formulation differences. When both Revlon & Maybelline created ranges in the early-90s, they were formulated with a higher ratio of actual pigment, without the typical “White base” many brands use that can look chalky/ashy on deeper complexions. NARS formulated this way, as well, for the same reason. While it may seem “segregationist” to have a separate range, keep in mind this isn’t inherently malicious. Revlon also did this with Natural Wonder in the late-80s, which was a range marketed towards young teens. Again, it helped with marketing, and made things easier to find.

Third, the way this was rolled out may have been unintentional… ULTA may have jumped the gun, which is something we’ve seen before with other brands/retailers. The intention may have actually been a more elaborate campaign. Also, ULTA has notoriously bad images when it comes to depicting shades on its site, which is why I very rarely order anything online I haven’t either seen in-person, or on a reliable site such as this one.

Finally, the actual formula of the base products in this range may different from those in the core range, not just the color. Adding more shades may not have been the only tweaking that had to be done based on testing actual women.

At the end of the day, there are just too many unknowns, and until we get a fuller picture, condescending the effort does a real disservice to future progress…

I respectfully disagree, generally, and I’m not going to commend a brand for trying to capitalize on diversity and inclusivity when they’re not even doing the bare minimum. There’s no progress being made here for CoverGirl; they’re doing what they did before – so there’s no improvement and therefore nothing to praise as it is the status quo. Part of what I wrote about was how that might have been the best we could hope for in 2006, but we can certainly expect more in 2018.

The brand sent their press release and imagery to push to major publications earlier this week, and there have been no updates or additions made to Ulta’s website — the brand could have pulled it all down if it wasn’t supposed to go up. I have since seen what was sent out to pubs in full, and it’s not much more than what’s out there (no real swatches, very few images with actual people, not even all products shots are provided for complexion shades, etc.). The images on Ulta are the same product images provided by the brand to press (like cheek palettes, eyeshadow palettes, and so on). They had four full days to “correct” the campaign if there were any mistakes made. The image they used themselves to announce the campaign was of products, not people, not women of color, not the diverse team they assembled to create the products. The second image they used was of a palette. The third time they posted about it we finally saw real people and the products in action.

I don’t understand why CoverGirl just could not release these under their name brand and felt the need to group this into something else. As a woman of color, exclusion and “oh this is for you” gets tiresome. If they wanted to take the opposite approach, you don’t need to say it – actions speak much louder than words and pictures are worth thousands of of words. They could have just expanded their line and included additional models in their advertising.

You are spot on Christine.

So I noticed Full Spectrum a little after it was put in Ulta because I’m a vulture and always looking for something interesting to pop up in Ulta’s New Arrival section. I am ABSOLUTELY floored as a dark skin make-up lover that they’re trying to bill this as inclusive, “for Women of Color”, or anything like that. This does not fill the major gaps that the beauty industry -at this point- seems blind to when it comes to products for people of color. When I saw these products, I didn’t even consider they might have been created with people of color in mind. I honestly didn’t think they were “for” me. I genuinely thought this was another line/brand for medium shades that had accidentally included darker shades too. Truthfully.

The reason I won’t purchase anything from this and the reason is the Vitalist foundations they released early this year or last year. I love skincare and products that straddle that make-up skincare boundary. And this foundation kind of fell into that category and ticked all the boxes that I want in a foundation, but it has 7 shades and the darkest they went is sable… extending that would have been a nod to inclusivity (although it’s release was a complete slap in the face), this unimpressive more or the same line is not.

I thought it was curious that none of their other ranges were improved since the 40-shade launch of the TruBlend, which I expect is their bestseller or intended to be… but you would like to see more of that shade extension carried through their other ranges. Things like that continue to play into feelings of just doing it to get the praise for 40-shades but not actually making change on a deep level.

Turns out, CoverGirl’s website actually lists 14 shades rather than 7 that are listed at Ulta (and the bottle has their rebranded logo on it, so it is very current) – https://www.covergirl.com/en_us/beauty-products/face-makeup/foundation-makeup/vitalist-healthy-elixir-spf-foundation

but Soft Sable looks like the darkest in the bottle (as you said), though they show Tawny as darker in the color swatch.

Oh wow! I don’t know if the extra 7 shades are better or worse XD, on their website Soft Sable looks significantly darker than Ulta’s website where it looks like the beginning of the medium-tans shades.

Yeah, the fact that none of their other ranges reflect that level of shade inclusion really makes the 40 come off as a PR choice especially when almost all their new releases under the “Covergirl” brand have shade ranges under 20 shades. I actually like what was said about the Full Spectrum line, I just think it isn’t there. They’ve got a good copywriter, but the products don’t live up to what’s being posted.

I personally would have loved to see the vitalist line extended because makeup with skincare benefits is one of the blind spots in the beauty industry (to me) when it comes to inclusivity. Skin-First make-up and sheer products aren’t popular right now (though I suspect they may be soon), but it’s extremely hard to find those kinds of products in my shade and darker and that particular covergirl foundation is affordable and falls somewhat into that category.

I’ll be to the point. Foolish today to do this. BlackUp is an example of a brand (just one of a number like Black Opal, Iman, or Fashion Fair) that started when there were less choices for women with darker complexions. That such lines target women of “color” (strange term though seeing as we ALL have color), continue to exist is fine in my opinion. They were there and if they can keep up bring new and quality products, then like any company, God’s speed to them. But that a brand as global, well-known and affordable (thus possibly reaching a wider population) as Covergirl make a new, targeted yet separate line as this one appears to be is definitely not “inclusive” and seems to feel like having a “same but equal” policy (like it felt when many brands did this years ago). Today brands need to do like Dior, Fenty, Too Faced, etc., and either create an entire new line for everybody (or as many as they can afford to with 30+ selections in foundation for example) or add on colors that are missing to their established lines based on what customers and the beauty blog, etc. community recommend.

Brands love to make consumers feel as if they’re part of a social movement/cause for good. It sells. Covergirl seems to have gone about it very awkwardly to say the least.

Same thing goes for Fenty or any other company that has expanded their shade range. I don’t think they’re “celebrating” diversity, I think they’re celebrating making more money. If a brand makes my shade, great, they can get my money. But I’m not giving them any further kudos for supplying a consumer desire, no matter how authentic their marketing team tries to make them appear.

I want to find out if the ideal of shades is in a collective of their entire brand, do they consider themselves to have 70 foundation and concealer shades across their brand? Are we looking at dupes in different formulas? Did they separate color and formula in a prejudiced fashion, made for woc and oilier skin types? Do they plan to expand the colors later. I have so many questions in regards to the way they are handling their new and established offerings. I cant wait to see where it goes. These are the times I want a blog to access the company to find answers.

Wow! I had to go double check on what the website is selling. Here goes:
12 Outlast
3 ageless
40 trublend matte
14 Healthy elixer
12 Queen natural hue
5 queen healthy elixir cc
14 queen 3in1 flawless
8 outlast all day ultimate finish
12 simply ageless instant wrinkle defying foundation
12 CoverGirl/Olay simply ageless
13 Outlast stay fabulous
21 trublend liquid
12 cg smoothers
12 clean
9 aquasmoothers compact/cream
12 Queen natural hue compact cream
10 advanced radiance/Olay
7 outlast stay luminous
12 clean matte
6 Clean matte bb
5 ready set gorgeous
3 smoothers bb
Not including powders or concealer…260 shades total, straight from the website. The different categories have different colors and undertones. They aren’t the same shades across the board, nothing consistent. That I know from personal experience. I couldn’t hang with the pink undertones of cg past! The new ones are a different story.

Thank you so much for this. I knew If I came to your website you would give me the truth. My main beef among many is that unlike before when I could go to Covergirl’s discontinued site to see similar matches. I still could not find anything to link the Full Spectrum to the Queen collection or just to find out what happened to the Queen collection.
I had noticed a lot on clearance during Christmas but Walgreens/CVS randomly do this so wasnt worried.
Then a few weeks later as I was planning to give my niece the Queen compacts I realized I could not find it anywhere. So I looked to the regular Covergirl and saw they expanded teh line to 40. ONLY I did NOT see the shades I was looking for. That when I noticed Full Spectrum line and assumed it was a Queen replacement, but could not find any marketing or press releases to that fact. so Temptalia.com I came. so again thank you for giving us greate information and review of the product “NON” LAUNCH

I wish they had given you, and other Queen fans, more closure! It was the least they could do discontinuing such an iconic part of their offerings!

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