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Special Project

Special Project
From the 7th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Black representation in the beauty industry

Entered in Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


Black consumers and beauty brands face historical neglect from the broader industry, resulting in a challenging environment to create and consume quality products. While these products are appreciated by those whose skin shades and hair textures are rarely represented by major companies, consumers still do not have broad access to Black-owned or -founded brands. Analyzing this disparity, McKinsey & Company found that the significance of addressing racial inequity in the beauty industry is twofold: not only will an inclusive market better serve consumers, but it will also unlock billions of dollars in previously untapped revenue.

Strategy and Execution

McKinsey took a quantitative and qualitative approach to understanding Black representation in the beauty industry, with findings derived from unique surveys, consumer focus groups, and in-depth interviews with beauty industry insiders. Researchers also visited more than 100 retail outlets to assess product placement and accessibility, providing the project with first-hand insights from Black consumers. This research was complemented by working directly with several prominent Black beauty leaders, including Tracee Ellis Ross, actress and founder of textured hair brand Pattern Beauty, and Desirée Rogers, CEO of iconic Black beauty brands Black Opal and Fashion Fair. The report is presented in a multimedia format, combining written insights, visual charts, and original video clips. 


This project clearly resonated with readers, achieving twice the views of the average McKinsey article and a significant share rate on social media. It has also been amplified by outlets including the New York Times, Refinery29, and Her Agenda.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

McKinsey Global Publishing


Entry Credits