L'Oreal and The Makeup Museum Team Up for a New Book All About BIPOC Beauty

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Highlighting beauty traditions and trends from over 34 countries.

If there’s anyone that truly understands the history of beauty and makeup, it’s the Makeup Museum. The institution, which you can visit IRL (yes, they even have a COVID safety plan) in downtown Manhattan explores the beauty industry's impact on society. Expect to see vintage magazine covers and beauty products previously owned by Marylin Monroe and Frida Kahlo, plus the facinating stories behind them during your visit.

So who better to team up with OG beauty brand L’Oreal to share and celebrate beauty stories from around the world? The Makeup Museum and L’Oreal have partnered to bring beauty lovers a new kind of coffee table read, Beauty Stories from Around the World ($25). "Beauty has a personal perspective that is motivated by what we see. Far too often, the stories about the BIPOC communities have not been beautifully portrayed," Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, L’Oréal USA, Angela Guy says of the collaboration. "This timely collaboration with the Makeup Museum presents an opportunity for ‘Beauty Stories’ to be showcased through the diverse and inclusive beauty that surrounds us.” The pretty pink tome is a collection of diverse images, perspectives, and stories expanding on the history of beauty with a focus on BIPOC communities.

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"We want to expand the beauty narrative and invite the global community to join us. This is the first volume of what we hope will be an iconic book series; we know there are so many global beauty stories yet untold," says Doreen Bloch, Executive Director & Co-Founder at Makeup Museum.

One chapter dives into the rituals of Barasana men and women in the Amazon who decorate their faces with red pigment from the Bixa Orellana, often referred to as the “Lipstick Tree,” for ceremonial dances. The distinctive stripes have been the inspiration behind high fashion beauty looks we see today in editorial campaigns. Another beauty ritual explored in the book: teeth blackening, a beauty tradition that’s been practiced since 3000 BCE in parts of Vietnam and Laos in Southeast Asia.

Karen A. Chambers, Beauty Historian and Executive Vice President of IMAN Cosmetics and Impala Inc, penned a piece inside exploring Black women’s “beauty journey from erasure to empowerment” which appears alongside photos of Grace Jones, Imari Karanja, Mila Jam, and more iconic Black muses. "Black beauty has had the complex history of being reviled, critiqued, fetishized, praised, mimicked, capitalized upon, and appropriated. Yet, throughout history, African American women have creatively and courageously carved out opportunities to define, honor, and celebrate their distinctive beauty," Karen writes.

"The United States experienced an overdue awakening in 2020 around racial justice and radical inclusion. The beauty industry has mirrored broader society in its growing awareness and change," Doreen explains before adding this truth: "[Celebrating and amplifying] BIPOC diversity in beauty culture is not a fad or trend—it is deeply personal and integral to our identity as an institution." So, if you're looking for something that will simultaneously dress up your coffee table and verse you in the rich cultures behind big beauty trends, look no further—Beauty Stories from Around the World is on its way.

Read more on: beauty


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