May 29, 2019

Ok, Wait, Is the Beauty Industry Capitalizing on Pride Month?

June is Pride Month a month that commemorates the Stonewall riots that occurred in 1969 but also, a month that the LGBT+ community celebrates their sexuality proudly, loudly, and colorfully. I am forever, always a strong supporter, advocate, and friend to the LGBT+ community. My best friend is gay and he is as close to my heart as any blood relative. I have always found the LGBT+ community welcoming, never judgemental and have always found a home in it even though I am straight.

Now, of course, I have to start a controversial topic of conversation ๐Ÿ™‚ I do wonder how everyone feels about all the Pride Makeup Collections as of late? I have had a very strong dislike for the boys in makeup campaigns in the past from a variety of brands just because I felt like brands weren’t actually interested in showcasing men that wear makeup and enjoy it but more about how they could profit over being more edgy in some way. I’m feeling a little bit the same way about the Pride Collections coming out at the moment.

Urban Decay has a Pride Collection they launched called Sparkle Out Loud which does donate funds of a certain shade to a LGBT+ organization but one of my readers brought out a valid point and said, “Why only one shade?” I appreciate UD for making an effort though as so far everyone else that has launched a “rainbow” packaged or themed line of products haven’t actually made the same efforts. “Look at us we have a Pride Collection!” Ok, so you popped some lipgloss in a rainbow box and called it a Pride Collection but how is helping or bringing attention to the LGBT+ community? Marc Jacobs, sorry, I’m looking at you. It just feels like capitalizing on a month that should have important meaning.

The Jessie Paege x Tarte Rainbow Eyeshadow Palette is another great example of this. I think it’s great that Tarte made Jessie the face of the palette as she is in fact bisexual. But again, it does seem like the idea is to gain more of a following versus wanting to bring good attention to the LGBT+ community.

I guess what I’m trying to say is if you’re going to do a Pride Makeup Collection maybe have it benefit the community in some way or bring attention to it in a positive way versus just saying, “Hey here’s some limited edition rainbow packaging!”

What do you think?

Is the makeup industry capitalizing on the Pride Month or do you feel they generally want to bring positive attention to it?

Update: Since writing this post Christine (Temptalia) brought to my attention that 10% Of the proceeds from Marc Jacobs new lipgloss will be donated to Sage. This was not available information yesterday so I don’t know if it was overlooked or if the brand changed their mind about donations later on.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • Karen

    Interesting commentary – it’s so easy to see the publicity for the products and think, hey that’s great, but is it just another way for the brands to make money? I sincerely hope not and maybe the more people seeing these campaigns will bring greater awareness to Pride Month. I didn’t know that it was about the Stonewall Riots (will google and learn more) so thank you for your post!

    • Isabella Muse

      It just seems like it’s more about capital and gaining followers vs actually doing something positive for the gay community :-/ or at least I feel like that! do google it! It’s an important part of NY/gay history ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Rachel

      If you are interested The Bowery Boys podcast did an episode on the Stonewall riots that was very informative.

  • Nanners

    Iโ€™m glad theyโ€™re going in the right direction! But there is a bit of me that wants more advocacy than just sending a fraction of the proceeds to an org.

  • K

    The Tarte collab is just sad. The packaging is recycled from their old collabs, so the Jessie girl didn’t even get to name the shadows. In her video she also doesn’t talk about picking the shades, so I wonder if she actually did? Or if Tarte already had the palette and just found someone to fit? It really feels phoned in.

    • Isabella Muse

      It does indeed. I appreciate the cutesy packaging, rainbows, etc…! And the fact they choose someone from the LGBT+ community to represent it/be the face of it but the marketing was just sooo sad!

      • Randi Macdonald

        Personally, as a lesbian, I would have preferred a lesbian to represent the product. I have issues with “bisexuality”. I know its my own issue ( and I don’t want to get into it). Further, I’d never buy this because I’m probably not the target audience. I’d never wear these shades on a daily basis.

        • Isabella Muse

          I don’t have a problem with someone that’s bisexual representing it but I actually agree with you! A lesbian might have been better simply because lesbians aren’t as represented in the beauty industry! Gay men are super represented in the beauty industry! It is somewhat rare you see a lesbian woman in a makeup/beauty promo or used as a model!

  • Erin

    I really want a company that has always supported the LBGTQIA+ community, all year round for longer than its been trendy, to put out a pride collection. Maybe Sugarpill or BPAL would be able to put out a solid pride collection that is educational, benefits the community, and doesnt feel like a cash grab. 10% of proceeds is cute, and more than some brands do, but its not enough at this point.

    • Isabella Muse

      or MAC! MAC has always been a strong advocate! BPAL has actually done a few different ones in the past! But an entire collection would be amazing.

  • kjh

    Being cynical, (and old/jaded) I thought cash grab and cultural manipulation/ appropriation from the get-go. I agree that the Tarte seems phoned in. The LBGT-plus community is always gracious about their styles and cosmetics of the moment. 10% is like tithing. What we pay to belong. And itโ€™s 10% of profit, after the mfg, wholesale, distribution, etc comes off. It sounds generous, but I doubt it. It all reads dubious, greedy, and calculatedly manipulative marketing to me. I would prefer to honor pride month with brands that have been out and proud since their inception.

  • MissMercurial

    Call me jaded before my time, but I tend to think it’s capitalizing rather than actually being allies/representation. A real “Pride” supportive company doesn’t make it a thing to be supportive only a. Once it’s trendy and b. When it’s on the calendar. To me it’s like if a company said they were being shade range inclusive – but only during Asian American and Black history months. For an industry that has HUGELY benefitted from uses and innovations by the LGBT+ community (for example, contouring and brow grooming as we now know it are byproducts of drag makeup…baking too I think but not sure about that one), it’s gauche to only show support part of the time. By no means am I saying they should have some profits of products donated to causes all year round (although I wouldn’t complain!) – I simply think that if these companies really put their money where their mouths are, they’d have more inclusive campaigns without a lot of fanfare about it, the way MAC used to do back in the day.

    In terms of the dudes wearing makeup thing, I’d love to see less drag type looks because it’d be great to see that included in the scheme of how everyone should be socially “allowed” to wear makeup and, I think, as a real step towards inclusivity – my cousin who is transitioning recently told me that they don’t feel like they know how to wear makeup because all the tutorials/videos online are for very dramatic looks only. Imagine how confusing makeup was at first to use; now add societal pressure to define how you “should” look and no good resources to show alternatives!

    Anyway, I have Thoughtsโ„ข on this topic and am glad to see it discussed, lol.

    • Isabella Muse

      PREACH! I totally agree! I am happy to see so many people agree because I sit here and I think should I or shouldn’t I post this? Will people be offended if I do? It’s nice to see that people are thinking the same thing I am when they see these launches!

      • Carol G

        Totally capitalizing on it, imo. A few years ago you never saw Pride Awareness products even though Pride Awareness has been around for a long time. It’s really the same as companies trying to capitalize on things like, “Be comfortable in your own skin” (Dove) or “It’s ok to be overweight and love your body”. To me, it’s just clever marketing because the marketing dept knows the average consumer will eat it up. I agree with the comment that Pride Awareness should be just a given, 24/7, 365 days a year, (as well as loving your body the way it is) so why do a special collection?
        And Muse, you should post whatever you want…it’s your blog. We choose to read it or not so go ahead and post anything and everything. We may not all agree, but that’s the beauty of having a blog, right? That being said, I am 100% behind you posting articles about LGBTQ+ topics. Any information given about it and the relationship to makeup will certainly help anyone out there who is trying to find an outlet that includes them. ๐Ÿ™‚ Like I say in my metal community: We’re all in this together…

        • Isabella Muse

          VALID point about Love your body, etc…! It is clever marketing because people somehow feel like “Well, wow this brand really cares about me!” but let’s be honest it’s all about the money! I actually consider it your blog as well! This is a community and I want people to feel like at home here ๐Ÿ™‚ I also, always taken into consideration topics I cover for that reason! I just want people to be comfortable and not feel like I’m somehow attacking them because lord when on the Internet a lot of things can be confused and twisted around ;-D and I totally agree! We are indeed ALL in this together!

  • Kristin

    A lot of these collections seem very self-congratulatory, like they were made for the sole purpose of getting good PR at the expense of a group of people that have been marginalized for decades. Sinful has been doing their Pride collection long before it became “trendy” to be LGBTQ friendly, and MAC has done their Viva Glam collection that financially benefited the LGBTQ community. However neither company seemed to want that pat on the back the way these others do. (And 10% Marc Jacobs? Really? Your profits are HOW MUCH and all you can spare is 10%???)

    • Isabella Muse

      YES! my thoughts exactly. Lots of pats on the back at look what we did but really what did you do exactly?

  • Rebecca

    There are other brands (besides just Urban Decay) that are putting proceeds of their Pride products to LGBT charities, like Youth to the People that has a Pride edition of their cleanser. Milk Makeup is a very inclusive brand ( not just during June) and they have a Pride set each year with the 100 % of the proceeds going to The Center which helps the LGBT community with a variety of needs. Harry’s Razors also has a set for Pride month with 100% of the proceeds going to the Trevor Project which helps with suicide prevention and crisis intervention in the LGBT community. I think people just need to look and see if the brand is taking all the profits for themselves or donating at least a portion to LGBT causes. This is not a new phenomenon; it was also an issue with all the pink ribbon merch for breast cancer awareness. There are also fashion and athletic brands that make Pride merchandise including Converse, Nike, Adidas, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, DKNY, etc.

  • Brian

    All of this reminds me why I fell in love with MAC years ago and continue to respect the brand. They have always been inclusive, especially with their Viva Glam campaign.

  • Jen

    I seldom leave comments but I am in total agreement. Miss Mercurial and others below have put it more eloquently than I ever could. Thank you for not shying away from your opinion. It is why yours is one of my favorite beauty blogs

  • Amber

    As a queer person, I feel like most brands are just capitalizing on the LGBTQIA+ public. It seems EVERYONE this Pride season is trying to get a piece of the pie. I have mixed feelings on the issue. I’m glad it seems most companies are making a donation of their profits, but others are not. I feel like it’s amazing that there are rainbows everywhere for you to wear (either makeup or apparel), but I feel like most of the companies all about the money.

    Thanks for your commentary on this subject, Muse!

    • Isabella Muse

      I’m the same! Totally mixed how I feel about it. Truly appreciate those that seem genuine about wanting to help with donations and positive attention to the community and so terribly disappointed in those just riding the bandwagon to gain followers :-/ Thanks for contributing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Green

    I think that companies, makeup or otherwise, have turned Pride into a hallmark holiday, and its more and more commercialized every year, and that it ultimately is about making money. I do think its good that its happening anyway, because corporate greed or not, its normalizing Pride, and thus LGBTQ people. No one out there making Christmas collections is doing it as a religious celebration, and no one making Pride collections now is doing it as part of an active movement, but Christmas collections are normal and expected. and LGBTQ people are normal and should be expected.

    But by ‘active movement’ I mean that years ago it was a serious and groundbreaking thing for a company to publicly support same-sex marriage, because the laws hadn’t been made and there was a real social and financial risk in a company doing that, and public support with financial backing influenced public opinion and subsequent policies. Now that its safer, doing so reads as insincere, especially since the goals here have become repetitive, generic, and vague. There are still a lot of LGBTQ issues that need addressing (trans rights, the gender spectrum, biphobia, and ace discourse, to name a few) and there is space for sincerity, by specifically addressing this, but I don’t see it in just “Gay Rights!” or “LGBTQ Awareness”

    With Transgender issues especially I think there is a huge opportunity for makeup companies to make a real difference, first in public and financial support of policy changes, and second in that makeup’s purpose to change one’s appearance is important to many people transitioning, and it would be meaningful for the companies to acknowledge that.

    I’m also a little uncomfortable with how gay men are portrayed, or portray themselves, in the beauty industry. What the beauty and LGBTQ communities need is “makeup is gender neutral,” and not “makeup is a women’s thing, but gay men kinda count,” Theres more nuance here than I think I can convey, on the intersection of sexism and homophobia, but lets try:
    Makeup as a women’s community needs to be more inclusive overall, most relevant here, with the representation of wlw and trans women. If we look at makeup as a women’s space, men, gay or not, are guests, and don’t ‘belong’ there despite being welcome. A man doing makeup doesn’t magically count as ‘one of the girls’ and it feels invasive, intrusive, and depending on the situation, insulting, when presented this way.
    If we look at makeup as a gender neutral space, there is a long way to go to actually reach that neutrality, and the intense focus on men’s makeup as drag or full glam or otherwise feminine isn’t useful. A non-binary person doing makeup gets marked as if they were a woman, which comes back as ‘makeup is a women’s space, not a neutral space,’ and trans men are very often excluded or shamed for wearing makeup ‘well if you wear women’s makeup are you really a trans man?’ and other gender policing.

    • Isabella Muse

      Hi Green! perfect description! Indeed it’s turned into more of a hallmark Holiday! And yes, true, it does indeed normalize things! When you think of it in the way you’re describing it does in fact come down to a any press is good press situation! As even if brands aren’t actively donating or mentioning what Pride is about etc it still draws attention to the subject! You have pretty much summed up things perfectly and beautifully ;-D Makeup neutrality is in fact what is needed in the beauty community not a “just because it’s trendy” situation!