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Your guide to inclusive beauty at Union Square

Why inclusivity is the buzzword in the beauty industry

5 minute read

When it comes to our makeup and skincare needs, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Inclusive beauty means that no one is excluded. We are all different and, whether it’s our skin tone, our age or even targeted skin conditions, beauty brands are stepping up to the challenge to serve us all. From diverse foundation ranges to age positive skincare, let’s embrace the mantra ‘Beauty for all’.

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Inclusive makeup

When Fenty launched back in 2017 with its 40-shade foundation range, it was an instant sell-out success. The makeup industry sat up and took note: it was clear that there was a high demand for base makeup with much more inclusive and diverse shades. Since then, we’ve seen many brands introduce a larger variety of colour options, while using inclusive ambassadors to promote their products.

Brands to look out for in Union Square • MAC: their strapline ‘All Ages, All Races, All Genders’ is backed up by an impressive 60-shade foundation range. • Fenty Beauty: the original inclusivity pioneers, this brand was launched by Rihanna as ‘shades designed for all’. Find it in Boots. • Estée Lauder: owned by Estée Lauder Companies, an in-house cultural relevancy team ensures the brand meets the demands of an increasingly diverse market. Find it in Boots.

Perfect match – In Real Life Let’s face it: you’ll never be able to find your perfect base match online, so come see us in centre and try as many foundation and shades as you need to find ‘the one’…

A great budget option. This liquid formula comes in 45 tones and stays put for up to 24 hours. NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation, £15, Boots

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The iconic long-lasting liquid foundation is now available in over 60 different shades. Estée Lauder Double-Wear Stay-In-Place Foundation, £34, Boots

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Age positive skincare

We’re so over anti-ageing; it’s time for a more positive conversation. Rather than stress about wrinkles, let’s enjoy the skin we have and turn to brands who target our skin concerns rather than target our age. Want to get a great glow? No problem. Want to hydrate dry skin? Let’s do it. This is embracing your age, not disguising it.

Let’s, too, celebrate the skincare brands that are – shock horror – using older models to advertise their formulas, rather than retouched 20-year-olds. Over the years, L’Oreal has used Helen Mirren, Andi MacDowell and Susan Sarandon as brand ambassadors.

Face time – In Real Life Whether you’re after some advice on your skincare regime or a friendly chat about the menopause, you can’t beat a one-on-one chat with someone who knows their stuff. You’ll find great advisors in Boots.

Skincare products we’ve spied You want a radiant glow: this amazing overnight treatment from Esteé Lauder hydrates and smoothes skin, leaving your complexion looking more toned. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Recovery Complex II, £55, Boots

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You want a hydration hit: a super-luxe cream that is specifically for long-lasting hydration and leaves skin soft and nourished. Pure Super Hydrate Day Cream SPF 15, 50ml, £16, M&S

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Skin positivity

The unreal, over-filtered world of Instagram has left us all crying out for some realism. We spoke to blogger Lex Gillies, a British Skin Foundation ambassador, who told us ‘We're surrounded by heavily retouched, unrelatable and unrealistic images of perfection. But the skin positivity movement shows us that the things we've been told are flaws (spots, redness, wrinkles, pores, hair, pigmentation) are all normal. They're not flaws, just another part of a working human body. We are all worthy of love and respect, regardless of how we look. ‘

Thankfully, many brands are looking to move away from this hyper-perfect, rose-tinted view of skincare, turning to unretouched models and real people. Urban Decay regularly use real people on Instagram, while Neutrogena and Revlon have both recently announced that they’ll be phasing out all retouched images in their campaigns. It’s about time ¬– we’re all beautiful enough, right?

Lex Gillies

blogger and British Skin Foundation ambassador

'The skin positivity movement shows us that the things we’ve been told are flaws are all normal.’

From targeting adult acne to soothing rosacea and redness, there’s also a host of brands that target skin health. While we love a full-face of makeup (if you fancy it), we’re just as excited about bare-faced – and real – beauty.

Avène skincare Available in Boots, we spied this gentle cleansing gel from Avène that’s perfect for everyday use on blemish-prone skin. It’s soap and paraben free and helps to purify the skin and regulate oil production. You can also use it on blemished skin on your body, as well as your face. Avène Cleanance Cleansing Gel, 200ml, £11, Boots

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La Roche-Posay skincare Dermatologically tested and respected by rosacea sufferers, La Roche-Posay offers a great selection of soothing creams for sensitive skin prone to all types of redness. And the brand is available in Union Square at Boots. This anti-redness daily moisturiser will help calm your skin, keeping you comfortable all day. La Roche-Posay Rosaliac Anti-Redness Light Cream SPF15, £17.50, Boots

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Afro, textured and curly haircare

Shopping for afro hair products hasn’t always been easy on the average high street, but over the last couple of years that’s started to change with major beauty retailers including Boots expanding their stocked range to be more diverse. Aveda has also launched its own range specifically for textured and curly hair.

Whether you wear yours worn out and natural, in braids and weaves, or you’re a regular relaxer, it’s always best to keep your hair cleansed, hydrated and nourished.

So, what have we tracked down in Union Square for afro, textured and curly hair?

The Shea Moisture range, available at Boots in Union Square, is made with sustainably sourced organic and natural ingredients. Sulphate free and deeply moisturising, this shea butter conditioning treatment is a great soft-and-shiny option for chemically relaxed hair. Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner, £10.99, Boots

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Also part of the Shea Moisture range, is their Jamaican Black Castor Oil masque. This deep conditioning treatment restores strength and resilience to damaged or brittle hair – leaving it super soft and healthy. Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Treatment Masque, £12.99, Boots

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