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 282012

Choosing makeup for dark-skinned women can be confusing. For instance, most cosmetics that we find in Indian stores seem to be geared towards the Caucasian skin tones thus making it rather difficult for Indian women with dusky to dark skin tones to find colours that suit them. Not that it’s always easy for the ones with fair to medium skin tones to find suitable shades.

The key to finding suitable makeup for your skin tone lies in determining your undertone. Both sets of women often make the mistake of thinking that they have a warm skin undertone and have bronzers and gold or yellow-tinted shades recommended to them by store assistants. The problem is that if you wear warm colours when you have a cool undertone or if you wear cool colours when you have a warm undertone, you look tired or unnatural. So it is important to determine your undertone before choosing your makeup shades (this goes for clothes too) as you will look best when you wear colours suited to your undertone.

How to figure out what your undertone is:

First of all, let’s differentiate between skin colour/tone and undertone. Skin colour or tone is the most apparent colour of your skin: fair, medium, dark. Undertone is the underlying hue of your skin. Your skin colour can change shades through tanning or less exposure to sun but your undertone remains the same. Undertones are pink, yellow, greenish/olive and neutral which is a mix of pink and yellow.

I have read a few articles on this and finally came across the article that I have given as a reference link below. It confirmed what I had suspected after a few experiments of my own: that you instinctively know which hues suit your skin. I had so many people advising me to wear bronzer or orange-tinted red and brown lipsticks because, being a brown-skinned Indian, I must have warm undertones. All the while it just didn’t feel right. It was always the cool colours that suited me. So thank you, Musicalhouses! There are warm, cool, neutral and olive undertones. You can be between categories too. Read the reference article for the explanation.

An easy way to quickly determine your undertone:

For now I’ll tell you how I simplified it for myself: take a closer look at the colours you favour when choosing clothes. You’ll know if you are a warm-toned person if warm colours like golden yellow, orange, brick or light brown usually look good on you and you are cool-toned person if you find that cool colours like cool blues, purples and pinkish/purplish reds look good on you.

While I did write this post primarily for the benefit of dark-skinned women, I must emphasize the fact that correctly determining your undertone can be useful to women of other skin tones as well. Just because you’re fair or medium toned does not mean that you automatically fall into the cool undertone bracket.

For a detailed explanation and illustration of the complexities of Asian undertones visit:

Note: If you are one of those people who like to follow trends or at least try them out, refrain from wearing a shade just because you saw it in a magazine or on TV. Always adjust the colour to suit your skin tone.

For more suggestions on lipstick shades to suit your skin tone, do keep an eye on my blog for future posts :-).