Nov 202016

Okay, I’ve been waiting for a long time to write this post. It is one of the main reasons why I started this blog in the first place. This article is for all women (and men, if you happen to visit this makeup blog) who have deep, dark skin tones. Especially, Indian women.

If there’s one thing that really puzzles me (and quite frankly, irritates me), it’s the way women in India keep wanting to make their skin fairer through the use of either makeup or skin care products. Why on earth would you want to do away with that beautiful, dark brown skin tone?!! Where did we get this idea that fair skin is beautiful while dark skin needs to be corrected in some way or other?

I really have no idea where this prejudice against dark skin started. But I know what perpetuates it: advertisements showing only fair women when they want to depict beauty, a mind-boggling number of skin care products to achieve fair skin, discriminatory comments from the people around you and so on. Sound familiar?

For me it was any number of jibes at my skin colour when I was very young. I used to wish that I’d wake up one morning with fair skin, foolishly thinking that the jibes would stop and I would be termed as beautiful.

Thankfully, I had an extremely sensible mother who consistently made sure that I felt proud of my skin colour. She’d keep telling me to respond to people who called me ‘black’ by agreeing with them and replying that I was a ‘black beauty’. She’d look at me when I’d just entered my teens and keep telling me that I looked great or that she’d seen some boy admiring me. Who cares whether it was true or not? The fact is that, by using subtle and constant positive messages, she was helping to battle the widespread prejudice against dark skin in our country. She was also helping me to deal with all the insecurity and awkwardness that came with being a teenager.

And I am ever grateful to her for that because today, I am proud of my skin colour. I love it and have no wish to change it to any shade besides the actual shade of my skin. I scorn fairness creams and I now wish to pass on some of the confidence in dark skin that my mum instilled in me.

My dear dark-skinned beauties out there, instead of trying to make your features and your skin colour fit in with somebody else’s notion of beauty, look at your face every day and tell yourself that you are beautiful. You will be beautiful because YOU believe that you are beautiful.

When you go shopping for clothes and cosmetics, look for shades that celebrate your skin tone. One of the things I have noticed about makeup brands sold in India is that, for some reason, they never keep foundation shades that suit the darker skin tones even if that brand has darker foundation shades in other parts of the world. Even the so-called ‘deep’ shades are really meant for those with a medium skin tone and are very limited in shade range. So our dark-skinned beauties often end up buying foundation that is too light for them because darker shades are simply not available!! Honestly, until our makeup brands in India come to their senses and start stocking a wider range of darker shades, it would be best to avoid using foundation altogether rather than using one that is too light. Your natural skin colour will look any day better than that strange greyish tinge that too-light-foundation gives dark skin. Care for your skin instead so that you have no need to cover any unevenness with foundation. That is what I do, and I still declare that I love the way my naked skin looks much more than the way it looks with foundation and/or compact powder.

I believe that we are all born with the skin colour that looks best for our particular features and personality. The fire of beauty is there in all of us; covering our true colour will only serve to dampen that fire. Love your skin colour, celebrate your skin colour, let your fire burn!

Jun 062012

Before you start with makeup, it is better to understand the way in which different kinds of makeup act to enhance your features. That way you’ll know how to tweak the application to suit your own taste.

To add colour to the lips or to accentuate them.
Lipsticks are available in cream, glossy, matte (no shine, no sheen), sheer or metallic finishes. If your lips are your best feature or if you are sort of happy with them, you can play around with light or dark shades according to your mood. If they are not your best feature and you don’t really like them, it is best to keep them as subtle as possible and use colours that are close to your skin tone with just a hint of colour. Even if you don’t have gorgeous, full lips, you can still liven them up with rosy or plummy shades and a little gloss.

Lip liner
To line the lips before applying lipstick.
It provides a guiding boundary for the lips much like that in children’s drawing books so that you don’t go outside the lines and make a mess. In addition to that, it prevents the lipstick from bleeding. It can also be used to correct or slightly alter the apparent shape of your lips to make them more symmetrical or thicker or thinner etc. Lip liner is also used to colour in the lips so that it acts either as a base for your lipstick or as a lipstick on its own. The colour you choose should be a shade darker than your lipstick colour. Nude colours can be used to even out the colour of your lips before applying pale shades of lipstick.

Eyeliner Pencil
To give the eyes the appearance of a darker rim and thicker lashes.
It can prevent you from looking tired. If you have small eyes, it is better to line the outer rims of your eyes rather than the inner ones. Lining the inner rims will create a sharp boundary around the whites of your eyes thereby making them appear smaller. Lining the outer rims opens up the eyes. If you have big eyes you can line the outer as well as inner rims. Line both if you want an intense look (knock em dead with one look).
Note: You also get eyeliner liquid, gel eyeliner and eyeliner pens (a bit like sketch pens) but these are only suitable for those who are pros at applying eyeliner with a steady hand.

To make lashes appear longer and thicker.
Mascara opens up the eyes just like eyeliner. It is a bit fussy and I would not recommend it for those who are new to makeup. Best to wait until you’re confident about applying eyeliner.

To add perspective and depth to eyes.
The shades of an eyeshadow palette (you must have noticed that they tend to come in sets of 2, 3 or 4  shades of the same colour family) are used on different portions of the eyelid to create the illusion of depth and to highlight or brighten certain surfaces. The darker colours are used to create depth while the lighter ones are used to highlight. Eyeshadow also adds colour to the eyes and dresses them up.

Compact or Pressed Powder
To even out your skin tone.
It can help to mattify (reduce the oily appearance of) the skin, or give it a sheer, translucent finish depending on the kind of powder you buy. It is also used to set foundation (keep it from melting off your face). Powder comes in a compact case with a thin puff for application. You get it in various skin-toned shades ranging from those for fair skins to those for very dark skins. It is more advanced makeup in my opinion. This is for those makeup virgins who don’t mind the extra work of applying powder.

To even out the skin tone and act as a base for the rest of your makeup.
It provides more coverage for skin imperfections than powder. Foundations are available as liquid, powder or stick foundation. Again, I consider this component of makeup to be unnecessary unless you really want to cover up blemishes. If you don’t really mind any dark spots or blemishes you may have on your face, then it is better for beginners to skip this product.

Tinted moisturiser
To lightly camouflage skin imperfections and give a better finish to the skin.
It is a mild and lighter alternative to foundation. If you wish to avoid heavy makeup but still want something to even out your skin tone a bit, then this is a good option.

To give concentrated coverage for specific blemishes like dark circles under the eyes, acne scars, budding pimples and dark spots.
It is used only on specific problem areas of the face and not all over like a foundation.

To give a flushed look to your cheeks.
Blush comes in powder or cream form and is applied to the apples of the cheeks. Since it is meant to mimic the colour of skin when the blood rushes to its surface, it usually comes in shades of pink and red. Very little needs to be applied or else you may end up looking like a clown. Blush is especially useful for those with cool undertones.

To give the skin a bronzed, sun-kissed look.
If you have warm undertones, this makeup product enhances your natural yellow or gold glow. It is applied to the cheeks, temples, forehead to give a tanned look.

Please check out my posts for information on easy, non-fussy 5 min makeup.