When Youtube Beauty Vlogger Nikkie Tutorials posted the viral video The Power of Makeup in response to makeup‐shaming, the internet lit up. Those in the beauty community have always known of its existence, but Nikkie was the first to really put the idea of makeup‐shaming on the map. While ridiculing women for wearing makeup is certainly universal, the negativity and the backlash against black women who wear makeup seems to address three major areas of concern:
- The use of makeup to seemingly lighten the skin
- Lipstick shades being inappropriate for a woman’s complexion.
- The use of makeup to “trick” a man.
The ever‐trending #takeherswimming hashtag often speaks to these concerns.
The popular Gossip site, Bossip, even has what they’ve labeled a makeup sorcery guide which include images like this:
When black women who suffer from hyperpigmentation use makeup to even their skin tone, they are often accused of both trying to appear light‐skinned, and also fooling their would‐be suitors:
Black women are also often made to feel restricted with what’s appropriate for their complexion. When Essence posted a photo of black women wearing red lipstick on their facebook page a few years ago, the comments were overwhelmingly in reference to the darker‐skinned woman featured in the collage:
“Take that red lipstick off all black people can’t wear this for real”
“Everybody can’t wear RED lipstick, baby u should have tried Wine,”
“Please stop wearing red lipstick when your complexion is very dark. Uh!”
The question then is, why are black women not afforded the same freedom with wearing makeup as our white counterparts? Why is our use of makeup tied to us wanting to appear more white, or trying to land a man? Futhermore, why does there exist a stigma against dark‐skinned women wearing brightly colored lipsticks?
Here’s what some of makeup‐loving BGLH Editors had to say:
Wearing makeup makes me feel glamorous. In fact, that’s what’s always attracted me to it. As a little girl, I used to watch the women in my family powder their face, apply lipstick, and head out for the evening. I attended a lot of social events as a child and seeing the women look so glam and fab from head to toe, made me fall in love with makeup. I fell in love with the entire package. I’ll always associate makeup with glamour — gives me that Golden Era, Old Hollywood feel.
I’ve always been into makeup, but becoming a beauty and fashion blogger and youtube content creator has taken my obsession and turned it into a business venture. To be honest, I don’t wear makeup that often, but when I do it’s a full face, just the way I like it. When I put on a set of full glam eyelashes and a super bright pink lipstick, I am in my glory. As a dark‐skinned woman of color, I grew up hearing about how I could only wear certain shades or how I shouldn’t wear too much, so wearing it now is kind of my comeback. I even post weekly swatch videos on my channel showcasing pretty much every color of the rainbow against my skin. Makeup is fun, and for some it’s art. I think the naysayers make way too much it. It washes off with soap and water at the end of the day, and we go on with our lives. Our boyfriends and husbands aren’t being fooled, and we’re good with ourselves. I share more of my thoughts in this video:
I remember when I was a kid and couldn’t wait to wear make‐up so I could be like the girls on Clueless (This was before I knew Stacey Dash was lost in the world). Lipstick was cool, mascara and eyeliner was oh so rad. I had to settle for Bonne Bell lip balm and those infamous clear flavored rollerball lip glosses. The only time I could wear make‐up was for dance competitions. As I got older, I really started to explore. I remember stealing my Mom’s Black Opal shadows (some of which I have til this day). At one point in my life, I was even pursuing a career as an MUA. The reason being is because of the way make‐up feels. It’s a sense of creative expression. It’s figuring out how many purple and gold smokey eyes one can come up with to go to their college football game. It’s beating your face so you can bolster your confidence if you so choose. You can’t keep me away from a good highlight and bold lip! I’m all for it. Make‐up is for the wearer.
What are your thoughts? Do you think Makeup‐shaming exists in the black community?