In an ever-noisy and busy society, we are often carried away, neglecting some of the little gestures that make a huge difference in our understanding and appreciation of whom we are. Forgetting to always praise and thank the Black woman for her role in the black community is one omission we make too often. Telling her how beautiful she looks, and how that beauty and confidence is a strength, should be something we must make a routine.
In an article about the beauty of black women and how black women see themselves, Glamour spoke to a couple of Black women from around the globe, and they led us through their eyes, and what the beauty of black women means to them.
The article read: Blackness isn’t a single entity; it encompasses a wide range of skin tones, hair textures, facial features, and beauty rituals. While the beauty industry, in particular, has made significant strides in addressing the lack of inclusion that has historically hampered it, from addressing racial bias in retail to doubling the number of Black-owned brands on shelves for everyone to experience, there is still much work to be done.
As beauty brands, retail spaces, and the media continue to build on missions centered on diversity and inclusion, not just through product offerings but also through compensation and access platforms where Black women can be seen and heard, we wanted to share how Black women around the world define their beauty in their own words. Nobody knows us better than ourselves.
Katiucia Oliveira Is A Model
What Black beauty means to her: Strength—an it’s affirmation of who you are and a break from expectations. For years, fair skin and straight hair were the beauty standards in our society, primarily because this was the image associated with the majority of products sold globally—and this image was not only reproduced on TV, but also shown in campaigns and anywhere where the idea was to convey “beauty.” Meanwhile, having Black features such as full lips, curly hair, and a broad nose was regarded as unattractive.
How it’s perceived in her country: Even in Brazil, where more than half of the population is Black, it took a long time to establish this link between beauty and blackness. We were raised with insecurities about our bodies, hair, beauty, and people. Years of hiding or attempting to fit into old patterns, seeking perfection when there is no formula for it. As a model, I recall how difficult it was to be present in some situations. And how difficult it was to attend a parade, a campaign, or even a simple casting.
Today, our beauty is all about becoming more visible, and our images are widely shared. Although there is still a lot of prejudice and false stereotypes about us, progress is being made. And that change is significant. It defies expectations, provides self-affirmation in our society, empowers you to occupy spaces, and, most importantly, fosters self-love. Every time someone says to me, “you are not pretty,” “your hair is bad,” or “your nose is too long,” I stop and tell myself, “I am very beautiful, regardless of those comments.”
With each passing day, I hope that we will be able to transcend the tides of racism and prejudice, and that the world will see us for who we are: beautiful and significant. Thick lips, long noses, a variety of hairstyles, and an extreme amount of melanin applied flawlessly. It’s past time to rewrite our story’s script.
Nontando Mposo, Glamour South Africa’s Editor-In-Chief
What Black beauty means to her: Being yourself and being proud of what makes you unique: your skin, your features, and your culture or roots. It exudes confidence and beauty.
How it is perceived in her country: I am based in Cape Town, one of South Africa’s most diverse cities, where the remnants of apartheid are still very visible. Racism exists, and as a Black person, you must prove yourself five times more than your white counterparts in the workplace and in social settings.
Her thoughts on representation: There has been significant progress, but there is still much work to be done to bridge the racial divide. We have been spoon-fed the Western narrative for far too long, and it is still causing physical and mental harm. We are seeing more of ourselves in the media than ever before, which is leading to a shift in narrative. Black women in the beauty industry, such as Rihanna, have also made significant contributions to increasing representation.
Artist Loyin Ogunbusola
What Black beauty means to her: “I see it everywhere,” she says, “from the aunties dressed in their gele on their way to the shops to the girls laughing on the back of the bus.” To me, Black beauty means unapologetically loving myself despite the constant white forces telling me that I’m not attractive. It is unapologetic, with a strong lineage, heritage, and heritage. I understand that our beauty cannot be contained or contained in a box.
Her thoughts on representation: We have made progress in terms of media representation, but there is still much work to be done. We need to see more Black women with darker skin tones in cinema, film, music, and everywhere else! Colorism is still a problem, and it reinforces the message that black people aren’t beautiful.
Funmi Fetto, Author, British Vogue Contributing Editor, And On Reflection Host
What Black beauty means to her: I believe it is critical to recognize that our Blackness, beauty, and identity as a people are not monolithic. What makes us beautiful ranges from our skin tones to our mindset to our sisterhood and shared history.
How it is perceived in her country: Black beauty and culture are inextricably linked. I believe that Black beauty is celebrated in some spaces while it is fetishized, othered, treated with curiosity, or ignored in others. Black people in the United Kingdom continue to be the only ones in numerous everyday situations at work and in life, and it can be difficult to feel appreciated when the subliminal messaging you’re bombarded with is that you’re different—and not in a good way. That being said, London is a melting pot where you can find your tribe and community and immerse yourself as much as possible in the solace, strength, and celebration it offers.
Her perspectives on representation: While there are signs that representation of Black beauty in the media has improved, it is completely false to claim that it has advanced significantly. Many beauty brands may feature Black faces in their advertisements, but if you look closely, you’ll notice that a large percentage of those featured fall under a type of Blackness that is “palatable” to a white audience. Lighter skin, narrower features, softer curls, and so on.
In addition, when we look at the industry as a whole, the majority of the people in positions of power who can actually affect change are white. Even with makeup artists and hairstylists, there aren’t many Black faces, and the skill set for making up Black skin and knowing what to do with Black hair is still evolving. We can claim to be truly representing Black beauty once we have Black people represented in all of the ways that Black beauty exists, as well as Black people in positions of power where they can effect change.
Dr. GIO Cosmetics Founder And CEO Grace Okafor
What Black beauty means to her: I define beauty differently as an African who has lived in various communities around the world. Beauty exists both inside and outside. We are all stunning.
How it is perceived in her country: Black beauty is a relatively new concept in South Korea. Korean beauty primarily caters to Asians but is gaining popularity in the West. It is not, however, designed specifically for the ethnic beauty market of people with dark skin tones and people of color. K-beauty makeup products are certainly not inclusive, which is why my goal with Dr. GIO Cosmetics is to use Korea’s innovative science to create inclusive and diverse skin-care-infused “Black K-beauty” cosmetics and skin care. I believe that K-beauty has the potential to develop into an inclusive and diverse multicultural industry that caters to Black women, Afro-Asian women, and people of color living in Korea—and anywhere else in the world.
Fashion Content Creator Carrole Sagba
What Black beauty means to her: It’s all about making your own rules and being self-sufficient. Whether you proudly wear your Afro hair or extensions, Black beauty has a variety that adds to its richness. The most important thing, in my opinion, is to feel good about yourself.
How it is perceived in her country: There are many beautiful Black women with a lot of style in Paris. When I’m out and about, I like to look at everyone’s outfits and be inspired by them. However, being a Black fashion content creator in France is not easy. Black women are invisible and undervalued in the fashion industry out there. Our beauty is not promoted or sought after by French brands. There was a slight awakening following the death of George Floyd and the historic Black Lives Matter movement. But as the months pass, I get the impression that the bellows are being lowered.
Even today, partnerships are primarily formed by international brands. They’re almost non-existent when it comes to French brands. Press officers frequently believe that communities who support a Black content creator can’t afford their products. I work on my appearance and style to show that Black women can be chic and elegant. I want to defend and celebrate our image through my style.
Her perspectives on representation: In the future, our beauty will need to be better showcased on social media because this is where millions of people communicate. In terms of products, we must continue to build on our achievements. I used to buy my beauty products in niche shops run by Black traders because I knew I’d get personalized advice. Today, we have a little more variety of brands to choose from, which makes me happy. However, it is critical that these brands provide us with products that respect the nature of our skin and do not seek to lighten it.
Black Women, Melanin, And The Importance Of Skin Care
Everyone’s skin is unique and can benefit from a customized care regimen. Melanin levels are higher in darker skin than in lighter skin. Melanin-producing cells may be more vulnerable to inflammation and injury, which may be more visible in dark skin than in light skin.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, different skincare routines benefit different skin colors (AAD). This is due to differences in skin structure and function.
People with dark skin may suffer from the following conditions:
- Acne Is Characterized By Pimples, Whiteheads, And Blackheads.
- Pigmentation Changes, Resulting In Discolored Areas
- Contact Dermatitis Is An Inflammation Caused By Contact With An Irritant Or Allergen.
- Eczema: Skin Condition Characterized By Itchy, Dry, And Cracked Skin.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis: Characterized By Scaly Patches On The Scalp And Face.
We’ve covered five of the best black skin care tips below.
1. Cleanse And Moisturize On A Daily Basis.
To keep skin looking young and supple, cleanse and moisturize it daily, preferably right after showering.
Use a mild cleanser that will not clog your pores. It might be worthwhile to look for one that claims to be “noncomedogenic.”
Massage the cleanser into your skin with your fingertips, then rinse with warm (not hot) water and pat dry with a clean towel.
According to a reliable source, black skin loses moisture faster than lighter skin tones.
To avoid this and keep your skin from looking ashy, use a daily moisturizer with humectants like glycerin or hyaluronic acid. Humectants help the skin retain moisture.
Moisturizers containing glycerin or hyaluronic acid can be purchased online.
Petroleum jelly is an excellent moisturizer (Vaseline). However, people should exercise caution when applying thick products to their faces, as they may cause acne. Before using them, make sure they are noncomedogenic.
Fragrant moisturizers should be avoided because they can irritate some people’s skin. Lotions are preferable to moisturizers that include creams or ointments.
2. Always Use Sunscreen.
One of the most common misconceptions about black skin is that it does not burn and that black people do not require sunscreen. This is not true, and everyone should wear sunscreen.
Although people with dark skin are less likely to develop skin cancer from sun exposure, they are more likely to die from it if it does develop. This could be due to the fact that it is more difficult to detect and diagnose.
Sun exposure can also cause dark spots on black skin, such as those associated with melasma. It can also darken existing spots.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a waterproof sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 that protects against both ultraviolet (UV) A and UVB rays. This is referred to as broad spectrum protection.
People should apply sunscreen to all exposed skin all year, even on cloudy days, in the shade, and in the winter.
Many regular moisturizers, including facial moisturizers, contain SPF. Sun protection is especially important on the face, as it is frequently the only part of the skin that is exposed to the sun all year.
SPF face creams can be found in pharmacies, drug stores, and online.
People can also wear special clothing to protect themselves from the sun. Online, a variety of UV protection factor clothing is available.
3. Consider Hyperpigmentation Treatments.
People of any skin tone can develop hyperpigmentation, or areas of skin discoloration.
Although sunscreen can help prevent new patches of hyperpigmentation from forming, it cannot remove existing dark spots. However, it can keep existing dark spots from becoming darker.
People can use a specialized product to reduce the appearance of existing dark spots. Ingredients commonly found in these include:
Retinoids: Both over-the-counter topical differin and prescription-only products like tretinoin can be beneficial.
Hydroquinone: Hydroquinone-containing products inhibit the production of excess melanin, which causes dark spots.
Another skin lightener that can reduce dark spots is kojic acid, but it may be less effective.
According to a reliable source, vitamin C, an antioxidant, can reduce hyperpigmentation, protect against sun damage, and boost collagen levels. However, because vitamin C has a low ability to penetrate the skin, more research into its efficacy for these purposes is required.
People should use these products with caution, especially hydroquinone and kojic acid, as excessive use may irritate the skin.
It is critical not to use hydroquinone for an extended period of time. After three months of continuous use, take a break.
Hydroquinone can cause skin darkening after long periods of use. This is a symptom of a condition known as exogenous ochronosis.
4. Early Acne Treatment
Acne can be prevented from worsening if treated early. It may also help to prevent the development of dark spots on the skin, which is a symptom of a condition known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These marks aren’t scars.
Acne can be treated by following a gentle daily skincare routine and using noncomedogenic, oil-free products.
People should also avoid irritants like scented laundry detergent and skin care products with strong perfumes. A person should consult a dermatologist to learn about the products that may be suitable for their specific type of acne.
5. Consume A Well-Balanced Diet
Skincare begins on the inside. Eat a healthy rich diet to provide skin with the nutrients it requires to form and repair itself:
- Vegetables And Fruits
- Complete Grains
- Fish, Eggs, Legumes, And Tofu Are All Good Sources Of Lean Protein.
- Nuts, Avocado, And Olive Oil Are Examples Of Healthy Fats.
Avoiding processed and sugary foods, as well as limiting alcohol consumption, may also help improve skin health. Certain skin conditions, such as psoriasis, may be exacerbated by alcohol.
People with skin conditions such as acne or eczema should consult a dermatologist to see if there are any foods that may aggravate their symptoms.
Developing a good skincare routine can assist in keeping black skin bright, supple, and clear.
People with dark skin should avoid using products that contain harsh chemicals and fragrances, in addition to following a gentle daily routine and eating a healthy diet.
Acne and dark spots, for example, benefit from prompt treatment and preventative measures.
Experts recommend that everyone use sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher every day to prevent the formation and worsening of dark spots as well as more serious health concerns such as skin cancer.