Making Beauty Education More Inclusive

by | Jun 19, 2020

Today our Special Events Manager & Executive Assistant, Diana Kennedy shares her personal experience training in Hair & Makeup. Her three-year course left Di feeling ill-equipped to handle Afro and textured hair and unexposed to the true variety of skin tones and textures. Her journey is like many budding hair and makeup professionals, highlighting the need for urgent change. Read on for Di’s full account…

It is music to my ears to see the much-needed movements and petitions in place to make our industry and world more inclusive. As one of the three staff members at the British Beauty Council and a mixed race woman I felt that I needed to share my own experiences with the lack of diversity and inclusivity present in beauty education.

At seventeen, I knew I wanted to work in beauty and as a theatre student I was obsessed with creating makeup looks and styling hair on stage, at film productions and photo shoots at college. With this new-found love for beauty, I decided to study Makeup & Hair Styling at university. A three-year course that would educate me in the skills I would need to become a makeup artist and hair stylist.

Despite the course having many great qualities: fantastic facilities, studios, editing suites, makeup stations and equipment, I quickly discovered there was one important element missing… diversity.

I strongly feel that the below aspects on the course I graduated in should be mandatory teaching, but unfortunately my three-year course lacked all of the below:

  • Teachings and practice into Afro and textured hair for men and women
  • Practice for all skin tones (to cater to all backgrounds)
  • Teaching and practice on all skin textures (for a variety of ages and problematic skin)
  • Teachings and practice into men’s skin and texture
  • Diverse range of models
  • Diverse kit of products for hair and makeup that caters to all.

At the time, I did not realise that the lack of these resources would mean that when I entered the industry as a newly qualified hair and makeup artist I would be unequipped, under skilled and extremely embarrassed.

It is a massive shame that there has been a lack of education into Afro and textured hair and all skin tones and textures on such a large number of mainstream courses. Often qualified professionals feel that they need to take additional courses that specialise in Afro/textured hair and beauty, which should not need to be the case.

And being part of the BAME community means that surely I should leave my course feeling that my community and I are represented, and our hair and makeup needs equally matter?

It was only when I began working as a makeup artist on counters and various freelance jobs that I developed my skills more extensively as I was exposed to a diverse range of clients.

Today I work on creating industry-leading events for the British Beauty Council, working hard with the CEO and our Board members to drive key initiatives across our three pillars; reputation, education and innovation. Campaigning and striving for a more inclusive, supportive and successful British beauty industry is a fundamental part of the work we do.

Please help us by making a positive change to diversity and inclusivity in British beauty education today by signing the following petitions:

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