Popular Retailer Charges More for Darker Makeup Shades, and Social Media Is Livid

Tatayana Yomary - Author

May 17 2023, Published 5:06 p.m. ET

A young black woman asking shop assistant for advice of cosmetic products
Source: Getty Images

Folks who are well-versed in the beauty and cosmetics space are aware that the industry has been called out for discrimination and lack of inclusivity.

Over the years, many brands have had to give their lines a face-lift — thanks in major part to Rihanna and the Fenty Beauty team — to extend their collections with products suitable for all skin tones.

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And while the beauty industry still has more work to do regarding inclusivity, there has been a change with well-known brands and the emergence of BIPOC beauty brands. Unfortunately, it appears that discrimination continues to rear its ugly head. Case in point: A TikTok video shows that stores are charging more for darker shades of makeup.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Here’s the rundown.

A person holding a phone with TikTok's logo on the screen
Source: Getty Images
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A woman shares a video of a store charging more for darker shades of makeup products.

The worst thing a retailer can do is attempt to stoke the discrimination fire. In an April 29, 2023 TikTok video, creator Batista @seekeroftruth777 shared a video of her experience shopping at a Walmart location.

As the video begins, Batista shares experience shopping for L’Oréal’s Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. And much to Batista’s surprise, she realized that the lighter shades of foundation were priced at $6.97 as opposed to the darker foundations being priced at $11.97.

As you can see, that’s a $5 difference for the same product in different tones.

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Batista shared that she took a picture of the product because she didn’t have time to inquire about the price difference. However, she kept it in mind for her next visit.

Once Batista returned to the location, she realized that the price discrepancy was still in effect.

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So, she took it upon herself to ask an employee about the price difference.

“I found someone and said, ‘Hey, you need to come look at this because there is a problem,'” Batista explained.

She said that she showed the employee the product on the shelf and her face was caught off guard. Keep in mind, Batista made it a point not to say anything about race or color.

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“Can you give me a minute? I’ll be back,” the salesperson said as she took a light and dark shade of foundation.

Once she returned, she tried to appease Batista. “I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to give you the shade you want for the $6.97,” the employee told Batisa.

While Batista expressed her appreciation, she said that she’s “not going to be satisfied with just that.”

“No one who comes in with a darker complexion should ever have to pay more than a person who's lacking melanin,” Bastista explained. “So I’m going to need all of these to be changed. Either everybody is paying $6.97 or $11.97, but we’re not going to have two different prices based on the color of one’s skin.”

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The salesperson responded, “OK, I’m going to take care of it right away. I will take care of this.”

Batista shared that while she did end up leaving the store for a second time, she will return to check. She also cautioned folks shopping for cosmetics to “keep a watchful eye” and to “stay woke.”

A person showing the TikTok logo on their phone
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TikTok users are outraged by Batista’s revelation and have urged her to contact L’Oréal and Walmart to rectify the situation.

As expected, folks on social media are upset by Batista’s experience. After all, charging two different prices for the same product is asinine and tethers the line of discrimination.

“It’s the fact that it’s almost double the price too, SMH,” one person commented.

“Thank you for bringing this up. I would still reach out to L’Oréal to let them know,” another person commented.

Interestingly, some folks blamed retailers for lowering prices on beauty products based on demand. Since some products or shades sell slower than others, they lower the price to encourage a sale.

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TikTok logo outside of a U.S. office
Source: Getty Images

However, it’s easy to see why some folks, especially melanin-rich customers, find a huge problem with the price difference.

As of now, neither L’Oréal nor Walmart have commented on Batista’s video. That said, since the video has garnered thousands of likes and views, we expect the retailers to make a statement very soon.

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