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Intersectionality In The Cosmetics Aisle: Danessa Myricks & The Pride Makeup Question

Posted By on August 10, 2020 in LifeStyle | 0 comments

Intersectionality In The Cosmetics Aisle: Danessa Myricks & The Pride Makeup Question

Hey friends.  So this is going to be a review of the Pride bundle from Danessa Myricks (a rainbow collection of 6 neon-infused cream and liquid colors) but before we get into the fun, shallow stuff I want to take a moment to revisit something that I’ve talked about before, most recently in my review of the Morphe Pride collection for 2020.

When it comes to “conscious consumerism, I recognize that I often find myself in unpopular territory.  People often complain about people “rainbow-washing” their sites in June to celebrate Pride when they haven’t done anything over the last 11 months to help and support LGBT people, and I can sympathize with this.  I’m a queer person, and I definitely think my communities are often exploited for “free points” in the diversity game without contributing anything substantial to inclusion of queer people.  But I also remember the days when most larger companies wouldn’t go anywhere near us queer folks, so I don’t mind a little rainbow explosion every now and then; if those rainbow products also include a donation to a worthy charitable cause like The Trevor Project or GLSEN – well, that’s just cake.

So let’s talk about Danessa Myricks.

Emily Hanhan was rocking some seriously fabulous neon eyes in a recent video, and she mentioned that the products were part of a Pride bundle from Danessa Myricks.  Danessa Myricks is a black-owned indie makeup brand; I’ve heard that it’s geared more toward makeup artists, but they have a nice range of products available for any consumer and a great shade range.  She put together a Pride bundle with 3 shades of her Color Fix Cream Colors and 3 shades of Waterproof cushion color.  All of these products already existed in the line.  They didn’t have any special Pride packaging.  The bundle represents a discount of $20 ($79 for the bundle vs 3 x $18 + 3 x $15 or $99).  There is no donation tied to the sale of this product to any LGBT organizations.

Compare this to the Morphe Pride collection: they created a new 10-pan palette, a new shade of gloss, a new rainbow brush set, and a new scent of their setting spray.  They were donating 100% of the net proceeds of the sales proceeds to GLSEN (last year was Trevor Project) with a minimum donation of $50,000.

Morphe regularly features men in makeup and queer creators on their IG.  I scrolled back to June of last year on Danessa Myricks’ IG and I didn’t see a single man in makeup, and the only references to the Pride bundle where pictures of the products, not of queer creators using them.  I’m not Nancy fucking Drew – I didn’t go through her IG with a fine tooth comb and look up every single model featured, but their wasn’t any visible queer presence outside of product photos promoting the Pride bundle.

I don’t know the answers.  I don’t know how to tell you to be an ethical consumer in a capitalist system that is showing itself more and more to be absolutely rotten to the core.  What I do know is that I saw multiple creators read Morphe to absolute filth for their Pride collection, and I haven’t seen a single one of those creators call out Danessa Myricks for taking products that already existed in her line, slapping the word Pride on them, and profiting off of LGBT communities without giving anything back.   I’m not telling you not to support Danessa Myricks – we need more black-owned business, not less! – but I am saying that conscious consumerism is something that’s important to you, make sure that you are being consistent in how you apply whatever standards you are using when making your purchasing decisions.  There are plenty of sketchy things about Morphe for you to criticize, but their Pride collection isn’t one of them.  And if you believe that it’s never ok to profit off of LGBT communities with Pride-themed merchandise, that’s absolutely fine for you to decide that.  But then apply that consistently.  If you’re mad about a collection that is raising a minimum of $50,000 to combat harassment and discrimination against queer people, then you’d better have the same energy for someone who is using Pride as a way to create profits without any of those profits going back to the community.

That’s the thing about the world we live in: none of our purchasing decisions are every truly pure.  When you’re purchasing from Danessa Myricks, it’s not like you’re choosing between supporting a black-owned makeup brand owned by a self-made woman, or supporting a brand that uses Pride as a way to drive sakes without benefitting LGBT people.  You’re doing both.  Both of those things can be true at the same time.  You might have intended one or the other, but as we all know: intent is not the same thing as impact.  So maybe slow your roll for a second when you start getting steamed about a collection that does some good, just because it’s from a brand you don’t like.

Alright, thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.  Let’s get to swatching shall we?

I did these swatches over the ABH primer.  For the Color Fix products, I applied a small amount directly from the tube and then spread it out with my finger.  When I play with them on my eyes, I put some on my finger and then spread it on my eyelid manually.  For the Cushion color, I used the small angled brush included with each product to apply.  The top photo is under my studio lighting with no flash; the bottom photo is the same lighting with a flash.

Here are the swatches of the Color Fix products:

L to R: Freedom, Limesickle, Journey

Freedom is a matte neon pink.  This one had the most opaque base pigment, and it did dry down to a nice matte finish.  It’s very bright; I didn’t test it under a blacklight, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it glows.  Limesickle is a bright lime green metallic with a gold shimmer to it.  This was the most inconsistent in coverage, but it was able to be blended out, just make sure that you work any chunkiness out of the product before it dries.  I got a line in the product from a spot that I let dry without blending out.  Journey says that it’s a matte on the tube, but it definitely has a metallic sort of shimmer to it.  It’s a red-based purple with a slight metallic shift.

I would say that this whole bundle is not exactly beginner-friendly, but these will probably be the easiest to get a handle on.  The cream goes on nicely and is blendable with a brush.  Blending out with a finger lead to a little streakiness with the green and purple shades, as seen in the swatches, but it was much more consistent when I applied with a finger and then blended with a brush.

The Waterproof Cushion Color products have a much steeper learning curve.  Here are the swatches:

L to R: Totally Tangerine, Electric Sun, Blue Skies

Totally Tangering is a super bright neon orange.  I had to take so many photos to get a good one – it looked almost lit within, and kept messing with my phone’s focus!  Electric Sun is also fairly bright, although it also goes on a bit more sheer, so you could more easily tone it down than with the orange.  Blue Skies is a bright cyan blue, a little neon but not nearly as bright as the other two shades.

These are a little tricker to work with.  They are a liquid color in a small cushion sponge, and you dip the brush into the jar.  These are very liquidy, and it’s easy to get too much.  They also tend to go on pretty sheer.  This is great if you want to just lay down a wash of color as a base, of maybe do more of a watercolor type look, but if you want solid pigment, you’re going to have to do some significant building up.  They dry down nicely and I didn’t have any real staining from these (the only shade that stained was the pink Color Fix, Freedom).

These products are definitely on trend with all of the neons that have been popping up, and I like them.  I will definitely get more use out of the creams than the liquids, and I think if I order from the brand again I will get more of those to try.  I like the liquids and I have some ideas for how I can use them for some upcoming looks, but I don’t think I’ll be expanding my collection with those anytime soon.  I’m not very good with creams, let alone liquids, and I think that most of the ways I would use these can be more easily achieved with cake liners, another trend that’s been popping up again recently that I think puts these products at a real disadvantage.

I’m glad that I tried these products, and I’m glad that I got to try a new black-owned makeup brand.  Am I mad about the Pride bundle?  Not really.  I’ve said before that I think representation is also worth something, and I like that people aren’t afraid of the rainbow.  It’s more that I’m disappointed.  I’m a little disappointed that a brand decided to profit off of my community without offering anything in return, whether it be a charitable donation or even representation of queer people in their social media.  I’m more disappointed in the beauty space for only seeming to care about LGBT people when it already lines up with their negative perceptions of a brand.

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