Five Below needs diverse makeup options

Written By Cassandra Harris, News Editor

With its recent opening, Five-Below offers some great deals in the city. Target on the other hand has fallen ill to basic economics with more costly city prices than their suburban ones. 


It’s basic economics, sellers typically raise their prices when there is a lack of competition or a larger concentration of people that might cause products to sell too quickly. That way they can keep up with consumers and restock items periodically when supply trucks come in.


I visited Five-Below to purchase bright red makeup for a performance that was last weekend. After comparing prices at the two businesses, I saw that lipstick options at Target were around 14 dollars compared to the two dollars and fifty cents at Five-Below. I was shocked to see such a large difference. Although the brands may have been different, having a much more affordable option is really important in a competitive market. especially in the city.


I would like to praise Five-Below for not raising their prices Downtown. Although most of their stock is toys, they sell other essential items whose prices do not compare to Target. The store’s affordability in this large community is very important. 


During my visit when I was browsing the makeup in Five-Below a woman came up and mentioned that she was looking for bronzer. That was when I realized that none of the makeup being sold was anywhere similar to her skin tone. I couldn’t believe that It didn’t cross my mind for how few options there were for people of color.


Actually, there were no options for people of color. I know that in the past this has been a general issue in the makeup industry, but I just couldn’t believe that it was still an issue. I suppose my lack of knowledge and lack of issue with this problem is exactly why more options are not offered. 


After going online, I found that the brands they sold actually offered darker shades that were not in the store. LA. Colors Truly Matte comes in 14 shades, but Five-Below only had 8 of them. Wet n Wild has 20 shades on their site, but again only 14 mid-tone shades are offered in the store.


All of the brands that they sold had options for darker skin. If a Black person wants to purchase foundation affordably downtown, they need to order it online.


For a second let’s forget that the consumer is losing out on the opportunity to purchase an affordable product. Five-Below is missing a massive money market by not offering darker shades. At Least five other women looked at the makeup while I was there: five women of color. 


After reading a blog titled, “The Black Girl’s Guide to Drugstore Makeup” I found that this inherent economic racism was not just this one store. The author compares drug store makeup diversity to marketing, it’s about location. But much like Five-below, even that doesn’t matter sometimes. To sum up the tips in the blog, purchasing makeup at a drugstore is a gamble and if a Black girl wants to purchase something that might match her skin tone, she, again, needs to go online.


My favorite thing is Point Park attempting to showcase diversity, equity and inclusion in our little corner of the city, but right down the block and everywhere you look the roots of racism do not disappear. Five-Below, you have the largest art section in a store that I have ever seen anywhere. It can’t be that hard to make more room in the makeup section so that everyone is represented fairly in the market.