Imagine being a beauty brand in the 21st century, with a massive social media market asking for diversity and inclusion, and still getting it wrong. This is what happened to YouthForia after it launched a shade of foundation that users on TikTok are calling “tar in a bottle.”

YouthForia’s Date Night Skin Tint Serum Foundation line came about as an alternative to the few dark shades the brand had. Theoretically, their new darker shade, 600 Deep, was supposed to meet the market’s need for diversity and inclusivity.

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But it backfired.

A ‘pure black pigment’ epic fail

Cosmetic chemist and influencer Javon Ford made a video on TikTok comparing the ingredients in 600 Deep to those in one of YouthForia’s lighter shades. Ford noted that the lighter shade contains three color pigments. On the other hand, 600 Deep has only one pigment: black iron oxide (CI 77499), which Ford describes as “pure black pigment.”

For her part, TikToker Golloria put on a sample of 600 Deep on one side of her face and black paint on the other. The content creator claimed that “you can’t tell” the difference between the two. Golloria added that the foundation was “tar in a bottle.” And that the brand could have made “around 10 more shades” between 600 Deep and the next lighter shade.


the darkest shade of the youthforia date night foundation.

♬ original sound – golloria

“When we say that we want you guys to make shades for us, we don’t mean to go to the lab and ask for minstrel show black,” George said in the video, which has since accumulated over 20 million views. “What we mean is to take the browns that you have made, create undertones, and do what you need to do in the lab so it’s a darker shade of brown.”

“Not only in 2024 is this so disgusting and disrespectful, but this needs to be pulled off the shelves,” she added.

What the beauty industry still doesn’t get

For centuries, Black people have used various natural ingredients and traditional home remedies to care for their skin and hair. However, for much of the 20th century—and, apparently, into the 21st—the beauty industry has ignored the specific needs of Black skin.

In fact, the industry has marketed products with harmful ingredients to this demographic. This includes lightening products with ingredients like mercury and hydroquinone.

However, many black-owned brands have attempted to offer real solutions over the past few years. One such example was Rihanna’s launch of Fenty Beauty in 2017. Fenty’s foundation line included 40 shades and has now expanded to 50, ranging from light colors to darker complexions. 

As Forbes reported, other brands began offering more inclusive shade ranges following Fenty’s launch. The Institute for Gender and Economics dubbed this the “Fenty Effect,” which inspired collections such as Pür (89 shades), MAC Cosmetics (60 shades), Ariana Grande’s R.E.M. Beauty (60), and Clinique (56).


Mixing YouthForia Shade 600 to Find a “Match” youthforia youthforiafoundation beauty colormatch

♬ original sound – SEAN

Considering then that the market is aware of the demand and possibilities, YouthForia’s abysmal failure is even more outrageous 

The brand’s CEO and founder, Fiona Co Chan, introduced the brand on Shark Tank in 2023. She highlighted the company’s viral blush. The makeup’s initial success was due to its marketing as “something you can sleep with.” 

Chan said the products differ from other brands because she uses ingredients “great for your skin and good for the planet.” She accepted a $400,000 investment for 5% of billionaire Mark Cuban’s company.

Upon launching 600 Deep, Chan recorded several videos on TikTok. She claimed she had found a model for every shade of the brand’s foundation. The founder detailed that she had struggled to find one. So she traveled to the “other side of the world,” where she met two men who agreed to model the shade for her.

In a since-deleted video, Chan said the launch was a “proof of concept.” She added it was only used as a trial to see if the product would be successful, NBC News reported.

She later posted another video, which has also been deleted, in which she apologized and said more shades were being developed.

“When I first started Youthforia two years ago, all I wanted to do was create a safe space where individual beauty could be celebrated. And unfortunately, with our latest launch, we just fell short of that mission,” she reportedly said.