Saying that I love makeup would be an understatement.
I can name every lipstick in the market and probably have more eyeshadow palettes than I have friends. If I don’t reply to texts, it’s probably because I’m watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. I’m also wandering the aisles of Sephora as you read this.
I’m also what you would call “dusky”. So I feel a bit ostracised when I see beauty brands peddling fairness like a commodity that’s a “must-have”.
This is an issue that needs addressing, so Abhay Deol’s latest outspoken Facebook posts are a welcome voice.
When it comes to embracing darker skin tones, India’s come a long way.
The ‘Unfair and Lovely’ campaign is a great example of how young women are challenging one of this country’s oldest stereotypes—that fair is beautiful, desired, and most of all, ideal. India’s come a long way, but not far enough, if you ask me.
Most beauty brands still support this stereotype.
I’ve been searching for what seems like forever but, to this day, it’s difficult to find a foundation in India that’s even somewhat suitable for us duskier beauties.
Abhay Deol publicly calling out prejudiced marketing gimmicks is not something that you’ll see every day, which makes it all the more impactful. He’s pulling no punches in this impromptu crusade.
Maybe She's Born with It—but Maybe You Don't Support It
I’ve been a fan of Maybelline for as long as I can remember. Their mascaras are some of the best in the market.
Unfortunately, even their darkest foundation shade makes me look like I’ve applied glue on my face. Their new ‘Fit Me’ range advertises the logo ‘Don’t hide me. Don’t mask me. Don’t change me. Fit Me.’
Spoiler alert: None of their foundations fit me.
Maybelline also recently launched a range of compacts called “White Super Fresh”.
White. Super. Fresh.
How do you expect darker women to embrace their skin tones when the very name of a product subliminally drills the stereotype that beauty is white?
Beauty brands, y u do dis? By largely catering to lighter skin tones, you’re not only denying the rest of us of the chance to use your products, but you’re also sending the same message that society has been reinforcing since we were little girls—that being dark isn’t beautiful.
Makeup advertisements usually show a fair-skinned girl (obligatory smile plastered in place) applying foundation like it’s the greatest thing she’s ever done. This is almost as ridiculous as those tampon ads that show girls happily playing sports in all-white clothing.
Reality check, please.
For the tweens and teens that are just entering the world of makeup, these advertisements send the message that fairness = beauty. And that if you want to play with makeup, be somewhat white, or too bad so sad.
While we’re talking about this, it’s important to note that there are other celebrities who have spoken up and even refused brand endorsements that they considered to be regressive.
Beauty brands, please, it’s time to release some darker foundation shades for me and my dark-skinned sisters. We love makeup too!
If you, like me, are unfair and lovely, there are a couple of beauty brands that offer great foundations. LA Girl and L'Oréal make quality, affordable foundations in a variety of darker shades. For those of you who can afford higher-end products, there’s always MAC.
To my darker-skinned companions out there, don’t let the beauty industry tell you that you aren’t beautiful! Dark is lovely, so go be the brown goddess you are.
The racist undercurrents that are inseparable from these ad campaigns—and the celebrities who endorse these products—are doing more harm than just the most obvious attack on our senses of self worth. You don’t have to look too far to see an even uglier side to our obsession with skin colour.
Do we really need beauty brands adding to this melting pot?