“I knew I wasn’t the only one that existed who was as dark as me — my whole family is dark-skinned,” she told In The Know. “I felt like the beauty industry just didn’t care, or they just didn’t want dark-skinned women to be included. And it made me really sad.”
From an early age, George realized that makeup brands didn’t see her as “the beauty standard.”
“And because of that, I feel like I got a lot of hate. I got bullied all the time. It was just not a good place to be, growing up being dark-skinned.”
Now 21, George has seen some improvement in the beauty industry, but it hasn’t been quite enough to impress her. She felt insecure about her dark complexion and it’s taken years for her to overcome it.
“There were no shades for me in the store,” George said. “There were no shades for me online. When I say complexion was lacking growing up, complexion was lacking.”
George blew up on TikTok in 2022 after recording herself researching, testing and introducing her followers to inclusive beauty brands that are finally making things right. She also calls out those companies that still have some work to do.
It’s all part of George’s “Darkest Shades” video series — which was inspired in part by YouTuber Nyma Tang — which has earned her a loyal following on both TikTok and Instagram. Much of that is due to her frankness and honesty as she brings viewers behind the scenes of a typical shopping trip.
“I wanted my creators to see me actually go into a store and experience it with me,” George explained. “You know, I feel like actually bringing people into the realm of what it’s really like to shop as a dark-skinned Black woman in this space, it’s different.”
Along the way, George has learned to be alert to some major red flags.
“When I walk into a store and see that a company comes out with a new product, and there’s like six shades,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, no. Oh, no. That’s not good.'”
Another red flag? When she sees beauty companies hosting pricey brand trips for influencers — without any people of color.
“It’s just like, yikes,” George admitted. “I feel in 2023, that should be a pillar. Inclusivity should be a pillar in the company statement and a company’s values.”
That said, she gives praise where praise is due when it comes to brands that are getting it right.
“The number one companies that I think are really hitting the mark on tone inclusivity, especially this year, are Haus Labs, Fenty Beauty and Rare Beauty,” George said. “Although they’re fairly new [and celebrity-owned], all of their complexion products … are so versatile, and they literally work on everyone.”
Some of her favorite products of the moment include the Pro Filt’r Foundation from Fenty Beauty, which is owned by Rihanna, and comes in a wide variety of shades, from light to dark. George also gives a shout-out to Selena Gomez’s company Rare Beauty, which she says has some “amazing” liquid blushes.
Another personal fave is the Triclone Skin Tech Foundation from yet another celebrity-owned brand: Haus Labs, created by Lady Gaga.
“They have one that’s like actually white, like literally white, that’s like a mixing shade,” she explained. “A mixing pigment shade that you can add into the other foundations if it’s too yellow or if it’s too pink. I just feel like that’s just so versatile.”
George has also learned to spot indicators that let her know a beauty company is on the right track.
That usually happens when she hears about a new product launch that includes 50-plus different shades instead of just a handful. Another good sign is when the company uses a diverse pool of models to show how the product looks on a variety of women and tones.
“I think it’s so amazing when I’m able to shop for makeup products and [the marketing images feature] a woman of color,” George said. “It’s amazing. It just makes me feel like, wow, you guys actually care about us.”
It’s this kind of inclusivity that makes George want to support a company however she can and spread the word to her followers.
“If you care enough to make sure that you are actually showing Black women and all of your swatches online and in-person, it’s just amazing. It’s just amazing,” George said.
George has become something of a grassroots activist online, and in the process, it’s helped her heal a lot of the lingering issues she’s carried with her from her youth.
“I just knew that this is what I had to do,” George shared. “I had to make sure that I was speaking to other younger versions of myself: other dark-skinned Black girls who also feel this way, and who may have experienced the same amount of bullying that I experienced.”
According to George, this stuff is so important to talk about, which is why she refuses to do so quietly.
“Because if we don’t talk about it, if we’re not advocating for ourselves, no matter how tiring it can be sometimes, there is going to be no tangible change,” she said. “No tangible change at all.”
Fortunately, she’s become a major part of that change.
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