Skin tone finder: Celebrating diversity with Monk skin tone scale


McKinsey & Company research found that Black consumers are 5.7 times more dissatisfied than non-black consumers with makeup products/services and 2.9 times when it comes to skincare.

Why? Because those beauty products and services fail to meet their specific skin needs. 

So, one of the ways to be more inclusive, considerate of diversity, and provide unmatched personalization for all, is with the Monk skin tone scale, a pivotal innovation in the realm of beauty and skincare. 

As the pioneering adopters of this scale in our virtual skin tone finder, we are at the forefront of a movement that acknowledges the richness of human diversity.

The Monk skin tone scale: A new era in color matching


✧ What is the Monk skin tone scale?

The Monk skin tone scale is an innovative classification system designed to accurately represent a wide range of human skin tones. It, therefore, stands out for its broad-spectrum coverage and enhanced accuracy in categorizing skin tones. 

It was created with inclusivity and precision in mind, and it offers a more comprehensive approach compared to traditional methods.

✧ Traditional methods of categorizing skin tones

Historically, the Fitzpatrick Skin Type (FST) scale has been a widely used standard in dermatology for subjective skin tone measurement. However, according to a research paper by experts at Google, the FST scale has notable limitations, particularly in its original design, which was focused on assessing skin reactivity to sunlight rather than accurately measuring skin tone. 

The scale was later expanded to be more inclusive of people with Asian, Indian, and African heritage, but these additions highlighted the weak correlation between race/ethnicity, skin tone, and sun reactivity. Consequently, FST values may not accurately reflect an individual’s actual skin tone.

Another traditional method, the Felix von Luschan Skin Color chart, features a 36-point scale that can be overly complex for accurate annotation. This complexity introduces additional cognitive load and can reduce inter-rater agreement. Moreover, the fine-grained nature of this scale may make it challenging for annotators to distinguish between close shades, leading to lower accuracy compared to expert assessments.

In contrast, the Monk skin tone scale addresses these limitations by providing a more direct and accurate representation of skin tones, ensuring a better match for a wider range of individuals.

✧ The genesis of the Monk scale

The Monk skin tone scale was, therefore, created in response to the limitations of existing color classification systems, which often overlooked the nuances in skin tones, particularly for underrepresented groups.

The development of the scale involved extensive research, including collaboration with dermatologists, makeup artists, and color scientists. This research focused on capturing a wide range of skin tones and integrating expert knowledge to create a scale that truly reflects the diversity of human skin. 

✧ Why is this scale a game-changer?

The Monk scale is significant for a couple of reasons. 

  1. Firstly, it addresses the diversity gap in the beauty industry by providing a scale that is inclusive of all skin tones. This inclusivity is at the core of the Monk scale, recognizing the importance of catering to every skin tone and promoting equality in the beauty industry. 
  2. Secondly, the Monk scale overcomes the limitations of previous scales by offering a more comprehensive and nuanced approach. This ensures that each skin tone is accurately represented and catered to.

As we can see, the Monk skin tone scale stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of beauty and personal care, where diversity is acknowledged and taken into consideration. And it is precisely due to the great significance of this scale that we at Arbelle are the first in the world to have incorporated it into our virtual foundation shade finder solution.

But what about the beauty industry in general? What are the current trends, and where does it stand when it comes to diversity and inclusivity? Let’s dive into it next.

The beauty industry, while continually evolving, has historically faced challenges in accurately representing and catering to a wide spectrum of skin tones.

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But now, we can say that the industry is witnessing a significant shift towards inclusivity, especially in the realm of virtual shade finders. This evolution is critical considering the historical underrepresentation of a wide range of skin tones, particularly those at the extremities of the spectrum, including very dark and very light shades.

So, let’s explore some of these challenges and see how the Monk skin tone scale offers a transformative solution.

Historical underrepresentation in the beauty industry

  • Limited shade ranges: Traditional foundation lines often focused on a narrow range of mid-tone shades, neglecting the extremities of very light and very dark skin tones.
  • Lack of diversity: Significant portion of the population felt overlooked, with limited options that cater to their unique skin tones.

The role of image-based technologies

  • Technology bias: Earlier image recognition and color-matching technologies were not adequately calibrated for diverse skin tones, leading to inaccuracies.
  • Web representation: Digital platforms and virtual try-on tools often fail to represent people of color effectively, exacerbating feelings of exclusion.
  • Light correction: Historically, camera technology has not adequately catered to people of color. It has often lightened up photos, resulting in unflattering representations for those with darker skin tones. This issue has prompted companies like Google to improve their camera tuning models and algorithms to more accurately highlight diverse skin tones. 

Setting a new standard in the cosmetics industry

In today’s oversaturated beauty market, brands must differentiate themselves through innovation and inclusivity. And one of the main reasons is that consumers now demand products that acknowledge and cater to their unique needs. 

This shift in consumer behavior is precisely what’s driving the need for more accurate and inclusive approaches to foundation matching.

The Monk skin tone scale: A pioneering solution

The Monk skin tone scale emerges as a transformative solution to these challenges. What sets the Monk scale apart is its comprehensive range, encompassing an extensive array of skin tones from the lightest to the darkest, ensuring no one is left out. So, powered by this scale, our shade finder employs advanced technology, utilizing the latest advancements in image processing and color science to achieve accurate matching.

Compared to traditional scales, the Monk scale offers several advantages:

  • Inclusivity: It is designed with a deep understanding of the diversity of human skin tones, ensuring every shade is represented.
  • Precision matching: The Monk scale provides more accurate and reliable matches for every individual, enhancing the user experience.
  • Empowering representation: By making every user feel valued and seen, the Monk scale promotes a positive self-image and confidence.

skin tone diversity-Arbelle

Arbelle’s Foundation Shade Finder: Implementing the Monk scale for unmatched personalization and inclusivity

Arbelle’s virtual foundation shade finder stands at the forefront of innovation in the beauty industry. 

As the only ones utilizing the Monk skin tone scale in a virtual foundation finder, we offer a unique and groundbreaking approach to finding the perfect foundation shade. 

This innovative application of the Monk scale sets us apart in the beauty industry, offering a level of precision and personalization that was previously unattainable.

Our technology simplifies the process, making it intuitive and user-friendly, ensuring that every user easily finds their ideal makeup match.


✧ The benefits of Arbelle’s Shade Finder

Arbelle’s virtual foundation match technology offers significant benefits, both for users and for beauty brands looking to enhance their market presence and customer satisfaction:

  • Simplified shopping experience: Our technology streamlines the foundation selection process, making it easier and more efficient for customers to find their perfect match.
  • Increased conversion rates: By confidently guiding customers to their ideal foundation shade, Arbelle’s skin tone finder significantly boosts conversion rates. 
  • Customer preferences: According to market research, 76% of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that personalize the shopping experience in this manner.
  • Building a loyal customer base: Our foundation shade finder is not just a tool for finding the right makeup. It’s also a statement about a brand’s commitment to precision, personalization, and technological innovation in beauty solutions.

✧ A market leader in personalized beauty solutions

Arbelle’s use of the Monk skin tone scale in our virtual foundation finder strengthens our position as a market leader in personalized beauty solutions. By acknowledging and catering to the diverse needs of our users, we are setting a new standard in the industry. 

Our technology enhances the user experience as well as drives brand loyalty and customer satisfaction. This, in turn, makes us a preferred choice for consumers who value precision and personalization in their beauty products.

Step into the future of inclusive beauty with Arbelle

The adoption of the Monk skin tone scale by beauty brands is a critical step towards inclusivity and representation. It’s not just about innovation; it’s about acknowledging and valuing the uniqueness of every individual. 

And in an industry where differentiation is key, the Monk scale offers a unique solution, ensuring that everyone, regardless of their skin tone, finds their perfect match. 

By leveraging the Monk skin tone scale, we’re not just providing an innovative solution for finding the perfect foundation shade. We’re also promoting a more inclusive and personalized approach to beauty.

If you want to learn more or take advantage of our solutions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

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