It all started with a swatch. Beauty blogger Ofunneamaka (as she styles her name) began accumulating images showcasing how makeup looks on a variety of skin tones and posting it to her Instagram account @cocoaswatches. She pulled from other beauty bloggers, tried some on herself, and posted away — soon, the account hit 76,000 followers. (And counting.)
"When I first started the Cocoa Swatches Instagram account, I really didn’t have a vision for what it would be or what it could be," Ofunne wrote on her personal site. "All I knew was that doing my makeup was a creative extension of [my] personality, BUT I was lacking the tools I felt I needed to properly indulge in this practice. It turns out that many others feel the exact same way."
Ofunne has taken the concept one step further with a groundbreaking makeup app focused on skin tones not commonly seen in mainstream media. The Cocoa Swatches app, which is available for iPhones and Androids, expands on the Instagram page by allowing users to scroll through curated swatches of new products, reviews, and tutorials from makeup experts.
While other apps like Makeup Genius allow users to virtually try on makeup, this is one of the few apps that is catered specifically to users with a wide range of skin tones — without a limited range of products. It's so simple that we can't believe it hasn't been thought of before. But as we've previously discussed, for years the cosmetics industry has underserved women of color.
"It’s no secret that the beauty world has a problem with diversity. In addition to darker complexions being underrepresented in advertisements, they are also often ignored in product development," Ofunne writes. "It's really infuriating when a new foundation or concealer comes out and there is only one dark shade meant to encompass all dark complexions." We can only hope that with more communities like Cocoa Swatches, that's about to change.