The problem with Kardashian’s Skims face masks? After claiming that the masks came in five “nude” shades, it became pretty clear that zero effort had been made for darker-skinned customers.
In an Instagram post in which five models of various skin tones modelled the masks, a darker-skinned model was wearing a completely black face mask. As many commenters have noted, black is absolutely not the same as a "nude" shade for a dark-skinned person of African background. It doesn’t even attempt to match her true skin tone, and as one user put it, "the nude shade for the Black model is inaccurate, offensive, and culturally out of touch."
We suppose we shouldn't be surprised at this tone-deaf move, considering the Kardashians have been regularly called out for blackface and cultural appropriation several times.
Over the years nearly every family member of the Kardashian clan has faced criticism for mimicking or stealing distinctly African-American fashion, hair, nails and makeup styles while benefitting from the privilege of their wealth and whiteness. It's a problem that extends beyond the Kardashians though. While certain aesthetics or physical features are deemed as ‘ugly’ or not ‘classy’ on black women, they’re ‘sexy’ and desirable on people like the Kardashians and other white women.
It’s 2020. Many other brands have launched into the world with a commitment to inclusivity and authentic diversity as part of their key values–Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Selena Gomez’s forthcoming Rare Beauty come to mind. If a brand is going to try to sell something to people, surely it should actually consider all the people that it claims to cater to?
The controversy around the face mask isn't just about the colour, of course, but it's also about how black women and women of colour still have to face constant instances of casual racism from the fashion and beauty industries. It’s not even the first time the line has come under fire. Skims initially had to change its name from ‘Kimono’ to Skims after many people found Kardashian’s monopolisation of the name of the traditional Japanese garment incredibly inappropriate. The Mayor of Kyoto even sent her a letter asking her to kindly stop her nonsense.
If you’re looking for a mask from a far less problematic celeb, we’d suggest hitting up these ones from Bravado. There are official masks from the likes of Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, Billie Eilish and our K-pop faves BLACKPINK. Mask on.