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Woman criticises Ulta Beauty after makeup artist reportedly says her skin tone is 'too dark'

'In a store full of people who didn’t look like me I felt sad and upset,' said the customer

Sarah Young
Friday 03 January 2020 11:13
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A woman is calling for Ulta Beauty to give its staff diversity training after she says she was told her skin is “too dark”.

Last week, Ebony Kankam London, from Houston in Texas, shared side-by-side photos on Facebook of the beauty look she wanted to achieve and what she looked like after getting her makeup done at an Ulta Beauty counter in New Jersey.

In the accompanying caption, London explained that she was visiting New Jersey for her baby shower and went to the store to get her makeup done for the occasion.

“I brought in a picture for reference and was told that my skin tone was too dark for most colours in the store,” London wrote, “So this was the best she could do.”

London went on to state that the makeup artist asked her if she had ever had her makeup applied professionally before, adding that the employee made her feel as though her skin tone was the problem.

“Like I felt like I was in 1990 when makeup was made for one type of skin,” London wrote.

“In a store full of people who didn’t look like me I felt sad and upset.”

She went on to praise Rihanna's cosmetics brand, Fenty Beauty, for being “so progressive” and called on Ulta Beauty to give their makeup artists some diversity training and “teach them how to glamorise all skin types”.

London's Facebook post has since been shared more than 2,500 times, received more than 3,000 reactions and hundreds of comments from people showing their support and sharing similar experiences.

“This is just unacceptable!!!! How like how in the world....?! Shame on that artist," one person wrote.

Another said: “Sorry this happened to you, Ulta is the worst.."

In an interview with NBC News regarding the incident, London explained that when she told the makeup artist she was displeased with the results, “she got really upset, and said she had done makeup for 20 years and never had anyone be unhappy.”

On Friday, Ulta Beauty shared a statement on Twitter in which it acknowledged a customer had a “disappointing experience” in one of its stores.

"We recognise that there have been times when individuals have not experienced the inclusive environment we strive for," it read.

“We stand for equality, inclusivity and diversity and when we hear that we are not meeting that expectation, we want to understand what our guest is feeling, and hold ourselves accountable to do better.”

The retailer added that it will be taking additional steps to train and educate its stylists and makeup artists to help create an “inclusive experience for everyone”.

In a follow up post on Facebook, London said she had since been contacted by a manager at the Holmdel store “who is apparently biracial and witnessed the entire situation”.

London explained that the manager said she didn't step in because she "didn't want to make a big scene".

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