Skip Nav

Pat McGrath on Diversity in 2019

Pat McGrath Once Used Cocoa Powder on Her Face Due to Limited Shades For Dark Skin

Following the launch of her first physical store in London's Selfridges, make-up guru Pat McGrath shared on BBC's Desert Island Discs that she used to use cocoa powder on her face due to the limited shades for dark skin.

Growing up with a single mum in Northampton, England, there was no room for excuses. "If you can't find it, you can't buy it, make it," her mother often told her. This work ethic stuck with McGrath from her early days of mixing pigments at unpaid editorials to launching a multi-million dollar makeup line.

"She even used cocoa powder. She came in from the kitchen with cocoa powder all over her face and she was like, 'this is the right tone of powder'. She dusted it on her face and looked amazing," McGrath credits her mum for her DIY approach to make-up.


Her first self-made product was a moisturiser for her dolls and herself, "I mixed oil and water together, whipped it, put it in the fridge and it looked like a cream. I celebrated for months with my own cream that I had made. I packed that over my face and I was shining like a Belisha beacon for months," McGrath told host Laurene Laverne.

On dealing with racism as a young black girl in the 1970s, the beauty maven admits that she had a 'solid base' of home, church, and community. "I was very lucky having the mother that I had who would say, 'Oh, look at that person who is racist, ah, poor thing. Anyway, let's go shopping," shared McGrath.

When Laverne asked on the "skinny and white bias of the fashion industry", McGrath commented, "That was the standard of the industry when I was growing up but I am so happy to see the changes that I'm seeing now. We have models from all different social backgrounds, different weights, body types, different religious backgrounds, shows that are over 50% women of colour, and it just wasn't there for such a long time. And now it's just so fantastic to see."

Latest Beauty
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds