Retail & Innovation

Color for every color

What began as a beauty line for all skin tones continues to celebrate diversity 35 years later. Learn more about Sleek MakeUP, and meet some fans of the brand who are paving their own paths in the music industry.

By Brittany Kruk

Hair model

An industry that could once be described as “50 shades of beige” – referring to the historical lack of diversity in foundation ranges – has made great strides toward inclusivity in the last several years. Gone are the days of single-digit shade ranges, replaced with anywhere from 20 or more hues to choose from.

And it's a beautiful thing for women who have long struggled to find foundation or concealer that matches their skin tone – a well-documented issue for Black women, but also a common complaint among women of many other ethnicities.

SLEEK DigiMerchThe struggle was real in 1985, when a beauty entrepreneur in East London noted that women of color were underrepresented in the cosmetics market and decided to fill the gap. Created for all skin tones, Sleek MakeUP offers high-pigmentation color cosmetics that pop on light and dark skin tones and everything in between. And with foundations in 24 shades, it offers one of WBA’s most extensive ranges among its global beauty brands. Inclusivity has always been at the heart of Sleek, in great value, high-quality products that celebrate all women and men, readdress the balance of beauty norms and challenge stereotypes.

Still just a twinkle in WBA’s eye, Sleek wasn’t acquired until 2015. Today, the brand is sold in 15 countries and more than 2,200 stores globally, including Boots.

Where music meets self-expression

Music – like makeup – is a creative outlet that allows individuals to express themselves. Sleek believes in supporting and championing up-and-coming talent from all backgrounds on their journey to success, helping show that the obstacles you face should not stop you from being seen, heard and felt exactly how you want to be. Encompassing this spirit, the brand partnered with Refinery29 to create “Off The Record,” a documentary series giving a voice and shining a spotlight on four inspiring woman of color who are considered to be rising star talents in the music industry. The series explores how they navigate the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry while paving their own path despite stereotypes that may have worked against them.