Oct 11, 2019
“I see beauty as a very democratic act,” says Funmi Fetto, Glamour UK’s Executive Editor and author of Palette: The Beauty Bible for Women of Colour. “It’s not about pleasing others. It’s what makes you look good and feel good in your own eyes.” That idea is part of the inspiration behind her new book. As a longtime beauty editor, Funmi is well versed in the world of seemingly endless products, and a lot of women of colour were asking her for recommendations. “Women stopped me in the street, at dinner parties. A lot of women didn’t feel like their [beauty] needs were being met, so I decided to take all of that and put it in a book,” she explains. For Funmi, the message was bigger than just talking about products. “These women had largely not been spoken to in the beauty industry. Their voices were not really being heard. I felt I needed to address that.”
While Funmi believes a lot has changed for the better in recent years, “I think there is still some way to go,” she says. She credits social media for much of the collective progress—its ability to give a voice to women who didn’t have a platform in the pre-social media era. On a basic level, she says products have drastically improved, that it’s no longer impossible to find a foundation that doesn’t look grey or ashy or green on darker skin tones. “Yes we’re seeing different types of women [represented],” she says, “but it kind of needs to go further.”
Given her experience coupled with her vast knowledge of products, Funmi’s recommendations are worth hearing. One thing she loves is a deep blue eyeliner. She’s a fan of Victoria’s Smoky Eye Brick in Royal, and says blue liner “has always been my thing.” But she knows makeup can only get you so far. “In many ways skincare is the first step of your makeup routine,” she explains. Without good skincare, “Regardless of how expensive and beautifully applied your makeup is, it will never be your absolute best.”
For Funmi, good skincare starts with Sunday Riley’s Ceramic Slip Cleanser; or, if she’s dealing with breakouts, The INKEY List's Salicylic Acid Cleanser. “I think it’s quite good to alternate your cleanser—your skin needs different things at different times,” she says. Post-cleanse, she’s always got some form of hyaluronic acid in her routine—currently it’s Hada Labo’s Hyaluronic Acid Serum. Next, she uses a serum for dealing with hyperpigmentation. According to Funmi this is key, for women of colour especially. “Zelens Brightening Serum is expensive and finishes very quickly,’ Funmi laughs, “but it’s just phenomenal.” Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid is the go-to liquid exfoliator she’ll always recommended, because even though it’s not very expensive, “It’s certainly one of the very best.” And she never goes without sunscreen even though she says that, even now, “finding a sunscreen that doesn’t leave an ashy skin tone on darker girls is hard.” She recommends Coola’s natural and organic line and Glossier Invisible Shield.
Makeup-wise, Funmi says she often alternates between different foundations, because—again—she believes your skin needs different things at different times. But her most basic principal comes to using at least two at once. “We all have different hues on our skin. Mixing foundations helps even everything out,” Funmi explains. She says the process is pretty basic: “Squirt one, squirt the other,” and apply with your hands—as long as your foundation is a light enough texture. “Fundamentally, if you use a brush it’ll give you a nice finish.” For everyday, she most often wears YSL’s All-In-One Glow, a product with a recently extended shade range that gives your skin a “brilliant” texture.
While on the topic of foundation shades, Funmi says she thinks what Rihanna did with Fenty was extraordinary. “Brands like MAC or Bobbi Brown were catering to women of colour for a long time,” she recalls. “But Fenty’s role in bringing this conversation to the fore was phenomenal.” Especially because “They’re definitely in the space of normalizing [a wide shade range] instead of making it tokenistic,” she adds. “ A lot of people ask me, ‘Do you think that this is just a trend?’ and I’m hoping not.” In light of Palette, Funmi believes the key to ensuring growth of inclusivity and diversity in the industry is to continue talking about it. “For a long time people were silenced into acceptance,” she says. “I think we can continue the conversation without it being fueled with negativity, but with honesty and speaking the truth. Letting our voices be heard.”