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Physicians Formula 'sincerely apologizes' for Instagram post after backlash

One of these things is ... pretty much just like the other.
by Lindsay Lowe /  / Updated  / Source: TODAY
"Where is the diversity?" one user wondered.
Two Instagram posts on the beauty brand's page sparked a strong reaction.Physicians Formula

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Update: Physicians Formula sent the following statement to TODAY Style.

"2018 was a pivotal year for Physicians Formula — it was a year of evolution. Our foremost initiative for the brand was to become more inclusive of today’s consumer, with the ongoing commitment to bring healthy beauty to all. That diversity is represented in our internal brand team itself. It is our goal and commitment to project our personal expressions to our brand and our product offerings. We are continuing to build out our shade ranges and product assortments. As a proud WOC (woman of color) myself, I am staunch in this commitment and have made it a mandate in the future evolution of Physicians Formula.

"Our recent Instagram post for our new Butter Highlighter shades fell short of delivering our promise to represent all our fans. For that, we sincerely apologize. This was an oversight and not indicative of the brand, the brand holders, the future of the brand, nor even of our daily social voice. We know personally how important it is to create products for all, and we strive towards this goal every day. We will continue to work to voice this goal in our social platforms in more transparency moving forward," wrote Alice Chen, the brand's vice president of marketing.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Well, a lot — according to shoppers who criticized the makeup brand Physicians Formula for failing to represent a diversity of skin tones in two recent Instagram posts.

In the photos, Physicians Formula showed swatches from its new Butter Highlighters palettes on a range of skin tones … a very small range, that is.

People definitely noticed that the skin tones of the five models’ arms only spanned from very pale to slightly tan.

“Are these supposed to be different skin tones or what because those arms look the same to me,” one commenter said.

“Is that the darkest model you can get?? Do better,” another user wrote.

The new palettes come in light/medium and medium/deep versions, but fans weren’t happy that the highlighters were only swatched on lighter skin shades (or, as one user put it, “fifty shades of white.”)

“This is complete nonsense,” one woman wrote. “These will look ashy on anyone darker than medium skin tone.”

Several users argued that the ad marginalizes people with darker skin, with comments ranging from “So darker skin women don't exist or don't matter?” to “Shame on you for continuing to ignore POC (people of color).”

Physicians Formula has apologized for the lack of diversity in the photos, and the company has been responding individually to people’s complaints on Instagram, promising to do better.

The brand also issued a statement of apology in its Instagram story.

“Our recent Instagram post for our new Butter Highlighter shades fell short of delivering our promise to represent all our fans,” the statement reads. “For that, we sincerely apologize. This was an oversight and not indicative of the brand, the brand holders, the future of the brand, nor even of our daily social voice.

“We know personally how important it is to create products for all, and we strive towards this goal every day. We will continue to work to voice this goal in our social platforms in more transparency moving forward.”

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