I, too, sing Beauty

I am the darker girl.
They said I was “pretty to be dark”
When I open a magazine or stroll the street,
But I laugh,
And look within,
And move on.

Burgundy, plum and gold once ruled the makeup bags of dark-skinned girls. Vivid colors were deemed unflattering to ebony complexions and sales associates at our favorite beauty counters frowned upon purchases.

Industry embraced and culturally dismissed

Much like the late Pop artist Andy Warhol, dark-skinned Black women were first abhorred for their use of color and later praised for it. Now popular glossies highlight the hottest makeup trends guiding its readers through the illustrious world of Pat McGrath, a Black makeup artist whose resume includes Lanvin, Dolce & Gabbana and most recently, Procter & Gamble, where she serves as the Global Creative Design Director.

Black women have a tormented past with makeup. Our ability to find new and edgy lip colors and foundations with a flawless match is a relatively modern idea.

Today dark-skinned girls rock fluorescent colors and dare anyone to say something. And they often do. These fearless women face resistance from the old guard and at times, family and friends.

How do we move beyond a contentious past with skin tone and makeup?

Taking the bold & brighter step

Every woman has a cool or warm undertone in her skin. It determines what colors look great against your skin and what just won’t work. To find your skin’s undertone, look at the vein closest to your palm– if it appears bluish, you have a cool undertone– if it’s greenish, you have a warm undertone.

So when you’re trying on colors, look for its coolness or warmness instead of focusing solely on its pigment, as there are just as many cool oranges as there are warm pinks.

These 10 shades are summer-ready

Pinks

Wet n Wild Silk Finish in ‘Hot Paris Pink’ – $1
M.A.C in ‘Girl About Town’ – $14
Urban Decay in ‘Jilted’ – $22
Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Pink Collection in ‘Sheer Electric Pink’ – $23
Nars in ‘Funny Face’ – $24

Oranges

Milani in ‘Mandarina’ – $4.99
Sephora Rouge Collection in ‘It Girl’ – $12
Lancôme Color Design in ‘Studded’ – $22
Shiseido Perfect Rouge in ‘Day Lily’ – $25
Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté in ‘Indian Orange‘ – $34

Do you think bright colors are still taboo for dark-skinned girls?

Have you ever had a negative experience with a beauty counter or family/friend when trying brighter shades?

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  • Alternative Beauty

    I think it’s hot to to be dark with bright lips. Far too often we let a cruel history dictate our standard of beauty. How can I embrace my freedom and let the shackles of yesterday play a part in what I think is lovely? And I am taken back by the individuals that say that a man wouldn’t date a women that looks like the model. Ummm, they do and they marry them as well. Can you believe it?

  • Nikki

    I’m a dark skinned twenty something woman that has NEVER worn lipstick b/c I never think it looks good on me. Now mind you I’m not hung up in the colorism bull, I was raised too progressive for that mess my issue is my bottom lip is lighter than my top lip (I know who’s isn’t) and it just weirds me out to see my lips the same color. Does this sounds as crazy to you guys as I think?

    Every time I try to get past it I just can’t. I feel like a fool and end up wiping it off, lol. Not to mention I hate the contrast between the lipstick and seeing it against my fleshy pink inner lip, just drives me crazy! I got issue ya’ll I know. Love it on other women but I’ve yet to find a color either independently or with help that suits me