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Are Companies Truly Embracing Diversity?

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As an entrepreneur, I think it’s very important to create fresh ideas and be consistent. Therefore, the current state of our country has encouraged me to reflect and regroup.

With almost eight years of experience in the hair industry, I still feel there is a lack of diversity in beauty. To be honest, it took two pandemics for some companies to even acknowledge their lack of diversity. Yes, two: COVID-19 and racism. One has been around a lot longer than the other.

The murder of George Floyd and subsequent protests created a worldwide ripple effect. All of a sudden, it seemed racism and lack of diversity was this new thing for many people. Don’t get me wrong, I am one hundred percent here for companies wanting to take a stand. I believe that for real change to happen, people of all colors must come together.

Still, we have a long way to go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had Black clients go on set, and the hairstylist doesn’t know how to style them or the makeup artist doesn’t have their shade. It’s clear some artists are accustomed to serving only a certain demographic. As a result, I’ve known clients to get their hair and makeup done before going to set to avoid these issues. 

This problem starts in cosmetology school. When I was a student, I learned so much about round brushing and blow-drying hair. However, textured hair or makeup for darker skin tones was never an equal focus. If cosmetologists were taught to serve Black clients at the start of their careers, it would make a huge difference when hiring for specific jobs. 

Additionally, while it’s great that companies are highlighting people of color on their Instagram pages, websites and other advertisements, let’s keep that same energy when it comes to hiring diverse artists. There’s a fine line between using someone to appear inclusive and actually being inclusive.

In my opinion, inclusivity in the beauty industry begins with education. Whether it be schools integrating more textured hair into their curriculum, advertising companies hiring more people of color to gain another perspective on beauty or older cosmetologists staying current and learning new techniques that accommodate various hair types and skin tones. The benefits of a well-rounded artist make for a better — and dare I say, more profitable — stylist. 

For real change to happen in this industry and globally, everyone must have these conversations, not just people of color. This is just a launch pad, and I hope we all take off from here. We are gradually moving in the right direction. However, consistency is key.

Liz Rich
Liz Rich
Liz Rich is a hair artist and colorist located in Sherman Oaks, CA.