Those who take this beauty business seriously will have seen the gorgeous Halle Berry peering seductively out of the pages of various US fashion and beauty magazines. Berry has been one of the faces of cosmetics giant Revlon for a few years now, and it's always a bonus to see a black woman (or, for that matter, a black man) fronting a major campaign. I even bought Chanel Allure without even smelling it; if they're brave enough to use a black model, they must know they're on to a good thing.
But the use of Berry in Revlon's campaign was frustrating because, like many other cosmetics firms, Revlon has a wide range of products that are great for darker skins, but they were available only in the US and South Africa. So seeing the lovely Berry was a tantalising glimpse of what we could have, if only the companies concerned could be bothered to ship it over here. At last, however, Revlon has expanded its UK range to include colours suitable for darker skin. Known in this country as the Ethnic Shade range, the products modelled by Berry are available at branches of Boots in areas with a significant black or Asian community. Despite the name, it's not really a specific range of products at all, rather existing products and shades that are known to suit darker skin tones.
"We looked at the top-selling colours in black or Asian areas in America and South Africa, and that's how we picked the Ethnic Shades range," says a spokeswoman. "We did our research, and black women don't always want to have to buy from a specialist brand; they want to buy into the same glamorous images as everyone else, but obviously they need specific shades."
After the initial launch in 20 outlets, Boots has now introduced the range in a further nine branches - which can only be a good thing. My favourites include the colourstay lipcolour in Skin and Cocoa, the Stone Edge nail varnish (a lovely café au lait shade), and the Absolutely Fabulous lipcream in Mischievous, teamed with the lipliner pencil in brown. Granted, it might take more than a dash of lippy to turn me into Halle Berry, but now that my make-up bag resembles hers surely it's only a matter of time before I'm asked to be the next Bond girl.