Melbourne mother calls for supermarkets Woolworths and Coles to offer make-up for darker skin tones

Rebecca Willink, from Melbourne, is of Indian descent and claims that she is constantly unable to find any foundation that matches her skin tone at or online from stores like Woolworths, Big W and Coles

A mother-of-two fed up at the lack of variety in foundation offered at supermarkets has called on major retailers to end ‘make-up discrimination’.

Rebecca Willink, from Melbourne, is of Indian descent and claims that she is constantly unable to find any foundation that matches her skin tone at or online from stores like Woolworths, Big W and Coles.

Having moved to Australia from the UK when she was a teenager, she claims that for 20 years she’s instead had to buy her make up from cosmetic stores or specific brand websites – costing her much more than it would from a supermarket.

In a move to end the constant searching for her shade, Ms Willink has created a petition demanding there is ‘fair access’ for shoppers from every background.

‘Currently in Australia, there is, and always has been, a distinct lack of representation of different cultures in the make-up aisles in supermarkets,’ she said.

‘This is a form of racial discrimination and must be addressed immediately.

‘When these colours are not visible on shelves, there is a subtle message sent that the consumers of these shades do not matter, that we are not valued, and that we don’t belong in the same sphere as other Australians.’

Ms Willink said the ‘supply and demand’ reason wasn’t good enough, insisting that those with darker skin tones shouldn’t have to ask for make-up to be made available to them.

Ms Willink has started a petition demanding supermarkets diversify their cosmetics range

Ms Willink has started a petition demanding supermarkets diversify their cosmetics range

She said Australian supermarkets were worlds apart from the stores she shopped in while growing up in the UK, which were always stocked with make-up for all skin tones.

Upon the release of a new make-up range by MCoBeauty, Ms Willink said she was hopeful her local Woolworths would have bumped up their stock.

As the new range featured models from various backgrounds, the mother expected the foundation to be offered in both light and darker shades.

‘However, to my disappointment there were absolutely no shades anywhere near my skin tone of either of their foundations, despite their website flaunting 13 shades of the product as well as models of various cultural backgrounds,’ she said.

When asking staff if they had anymore stock, Ms Willink claims she was told the darkest shade available was ‘medium beige’.

She was told she could buy foundation from the MCoBeauty’s online site but with the cost of shipping and the price already increased, she was looking at a $38 bottle compared to a $13 bottle from a supermarket.

‘It is not just about not being able to buy these products, it is also about our cultures not being seen or recognised as being valid,’ she said.

As a busy mother of two young children, Ms Willink said she should be able to pick up some make-up while doing her usual grocery shop.

‘I’m sure there are other people of colour who would love the same opportunity as others to access affordable make up products at Woolworths,’ she said.

The mother of two says that when visiting her local supermarket she is never able to find a foundation that matches her skin tone while there are always lighter options available

The mother of two says that when visiting her local supermarket she is never able to find a foundation that matches her skin tone while there are always lighter options available

A Coles spokesperson said the store works with their supplies to create inclusive products.

‘Coles values and celebrates diversity. We work with our suppliers to provide a range of cosmetics that is inclusive and meets the needs of our customers,’ they said.

‘We appreciate customer feedback and are always looking for ways to improve our offering. We will review the opportunity to increase our range online in line with customer demand.’

Woolworths said they will continue to listen to customer’s feedback. 

‘We serve a diverse mix of customers and aim to reflect this in our range,’ a spokesperson said.

‘Across the entire supermarket we select products based on the volume of demand, but we understand a different approach is needed to offer a more inclusive range in cosmetics.

‘We’ve previously trialled a broader selection of cosmetics tones online, and will continue to listen to our customers to help improve our cosmetics offering both in-store and online.’

Daily Mail Australia has contacted MCoBeauty for comment. 

She said Australian supermarkets were worlds apart from the stores she shopped in while growing up in the UK, which were always stocked with make-up for all skin tones

She said Australian supermarkets were worlds apart from the stores she shopped in while growing up in the UK, which were always stocked with make-up for all skin tones

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