Our Diversity Pledge and Promise

Perceptions of Pretty
Hannah Sider for Byrdie

To our readers—

We want to be completely upfront with you about the work we’ve been doing as a team in light of the recent acts of hate against the Black community—from George Floyd to Breonna Taylor to the many, many other Black people who have been persecuted and killed for the color of their skin. But this is not solely about recent events. It's about realizing the countless micro-aggressions those of us in privileged positions have inflicted throughout the years. It's about our previous lack of accountability in prioritizing diversity both on our site and internally in who we hire. This is our pledge to stop that right now, today, and every day after that.

Our Diversity Pledge

We have always said we stand on the side of equality and inclusivity, but our practices have not always lived up to that standard. We have preached “diversity” as an overarching goal to strive for, but did not always back it with concrete action. That stops today.

To our loyal readers and new readers (welcome!), know this: We’re sorry it’s taken us so long, but we will not be vague anymore. We will be upfront and transparent with the steps we’re taking to make diversity, inclusivity, and representation our number-one priority.

Ahead, you’ll find the terms of our Diversity Pledge—a promise in detailed terms that you can hold us accountable for (and trust that we’ll be doing the same). We know the power of the beauty industry, its influence, and its not-so-pretty reputation. We can do better—we must do better—when it comes to representation, and we promise to lead the way, now and moving forward. We will be updating this list constantly with our progress and new initiatives (we already have a few that we’re so excited to share with you).

Throughout all of our conversations, one thing we all agreed on was this: We cannot, and will not, go back to the way things were.

Note: In the list below, our definition of “diverse” refers to diversity of race, culture, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, body type, and ability.

Marey Parker
Adrienne Raquel for Byrdie

We are sharing updates on the action items in our pledge starting from April 1, 2023—the start of the quarter—and we will continue to share updates every quarter. For questions or concerns about this report (or updates in-between our quarterly reports), please reach out to our senior editorial director, Hallie Gould (hgould@dotdash.com). We would love to hear from you.

Editorial

We pledge to include at least 50% diverse individuals in new roundups and galleries. This includes at least 50% BIPOC imagery in all hair, makeup, and tattoo galleries, and natural hair images in all hair galleries.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: 50% of our new roundups and galleries include at least 50% diverse individuals. If you disagree with our assertion and find any galleries that are not as diverse as they could be, please reach out to hallie@byrdie.com and let us know.

In accordance with the 15% Pledge started by Aurora James, we pledge that 15% of products across our newly-published market roundups will be Black-founded and/or Black-owned brands. We also pledge to proactively call-in, test, and prioritize Black-founded and/or Black-owned brands for our Beauty Awards and ensure at least 15% of the winners are Black-founded and/or Black-owned.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: 49% of our newly-published articles are in accordance with the 15% Pledge started by Aurora James, where 15% of products across our newly published market roundups will be Black-founded and/or Black-owned brands.

We will not feature brands that do not use any BIPOC in their campaign imagery, website, or Instagram. If there is a brand we love that does not prioritize diversity, we will actively ask them to change—otherwise, they will not be featured on Byrdie.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: This quarter, associate social media director Star Donaldson challenged a brand.

We pledge to list complexion product shade ranges from dark to light and we will prioritize selecting darker shades for product images to more accurately represent our readership. We will always do our due diligence when featuring a complexion product—if it does not have a wide shade range, we will be transparent and mention it in our coverage.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: We have continued to list complexion product shade ranges from dark to light and we have prioritized selecting darker shades for product images to more accurately represent our readership. If you discover a story that fails to do so, please reach out to hallie@byrdie.com for this to be remediated.

We are actively working on updating all existing articles in our library with the above points in mind. This project includes updates and rewrites by in-house editors, as well as reviews and remediations by the Anti-Bias Review Board. (Our Anti-Bias Review Board is a group of individuals hired specifically to check for representation issues, bias, and problematic language relating to personal background, stereotypes, gender, and race.)

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: With the help of the Anti-Bias Review Board, we have thoroughly updated our library to ensure that our existing content meets our diversity standards. Additionally, we continue to consult with the ABRB about specific stories as needed.

We pledge to thoroughly research Black hairstyles, makeup looks, and beauty practices, understanding their roots and meaning throughout history and avoiding incorrect attribution and appropriation. We will actively put in the work to further our personal knowledge of Black experts and beauty topics. If a Black person has a beauty question, our editors should be able to answer it. We know this is our editorial responsibility.

We will continue to actively prioritize hiring diverse contributors to share their voice on our platform, and not just on topics having to do with their background or race.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: Since Q1 2022, we have added more than 10 diverse contributors to our network. 

We pledge to never retouch or edit photos of our writers, contributors, and/or product testers to ensure real skin tone and texture are always represented.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: We continue to publish only unretouched photos of our writers, editors, contributors, and/or product testers.

We pledge to explore and develop a partnership with a brand or organization that promotes diversity and inclusivity within the beauty industry by the end of 2023. 

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: We will continue to seek opportunities to partner with brands and organizations that champion diversity in beauty.
Nicole warne
Sacha Maric for Byrdie

Social 

We pledge to make our Instagram and TikTok grids inspirational boards of inclusive images of beauty. We will do this by including at least one image of diverse beauty (defined as skin tone, skin and hair texture, age, ability, and gender identity) in every three posts to ensure that anywhere you look on our grid, there will be diverse representation.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: 85% of sets of three posts meet our 1:3 diverse beauty images goal.

We pledge to host Instagram takeovers that feature diverse industry professionals and talent multiple times a week so our audience sees all representations of beauty.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: 75% of our takeovers during the quarter featured diverse talent.

In our Insta-Try series, we will feature people with a wide range of skin tones and perspectives.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: 100% of the Instagram stories as part of our Insta-Try series have featured individuals with a wide range of skin tones and perspectives.

Creative

We will prioritize booking diverse talent for covers, features, and interviews.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: 53% of our covers, features, and interviews have featured diverse individuals.

Internal 

Byrdie editors will never participate in a panel that doesn’t involve diverse perspectives and multiple BIPOC.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: We had no panel participation during the quarter.

We will prioritize diversifying our in-house team immediately, starting with currently open positions. This is long overdue.

  • Update as of June 30, 2023: 27% of Byrdie’s team identify as people of color.

We promise to uphold the actions in our Diversity Pledge above to the absolute best of our ability, and admit failures along the way if we ever fall short. To monitor our progress, we will be sharing updates on specific action items with you every quarter. From today onward, we will be unapologetic about prioritizing voices that have not been represented in mainstream media and accountable for the ways we’ve fallen short. From today onward, we will be loud.