Before anyone screams that this is ‘reverse racism’ or any form of discrimination, hear me out. So as someone who is African I’ve watched a lot of white people do their makeup on Youtube, at some point it was the main demographic of influencers and honestly they taught me a lot. I also have to shout out the East Asian influencers Michelle Phan and Bubzbeauty who also paved the way back then because they are queens who need to be appreciated.
So when you’re a lot darker and you’re watching pale women do their makeup you start to notice a few things and those things fuck you up in terms of makeup knowledge and application, there are certain things that people with darker skin tones do that they can never teach you and at the end of the day seeing loads of pale girls do makeup and be successful can make you feel like someone who looks like you could never achieve it.
Let’s not even get started on how we’re constantly shown that the Eurocentric idea of beauty is the only way to be beautiful..
So recently one thing I’ve unconsciously started doing is unfollowing most of the white makeup influencers that I would watch frequently. I just couldn’t find a reason to support most of them, and honestly the way they were doing their makeup did not help me in any way shape or form. Even the little things like eye makeup – I have smaller eyes, and most of them have round big eyes, I can’t apply eyeshadow using their methods!
In my mass unfollowing I noticed that I was feeling a lot more confident in myself and my makeup abilities, which was strange because logically it didn’t make sense to me. I guess it was because I wasn’t exposing myself to the people who represented a standard of beauty that I could never achieve, and that I spent most of my life resenting. It also helped that I wasn’t being recommended brands that wouldn’t have my shade range anymore, because let’s be honest, most of them even in 2019 don’t give a fuck about shade ranges.
White makeup influencers also can’t help me when it comes to undertones and how to finesse the fact that most women of colour have different shades across their faces, our chins tend to be either a little or a lot darker, and that’s why they practice colour correction. They also can’t help me with choosing products, and no amount of swatching dark shades on light skin will help us with that.
There’s also the nude lipstick conundrum – their nude lipsticks look disgusting on darker skin tones, anyone who disagrees can fight me on this topic. Honestly, as someone who loves to wear lipstick I can’t even watch their videos on it. White girls love a light pink nude, but love to ignore that it won’t look nice on darker skin tones – then they have the audacity to call some of them ‘universal shades’. Until you have darker skin/lips, you can’t tell me this shade is universal, it’s not, it will 100% look gross on me.
Last point I’m going to make is how they ignore people of colour, unless it’s for the clout, then they pretend to care for a month. They ignore our unique needs, our unique techniques and generally just how isolating the makeup community is to influencers with melanin. Look at Jackie Aina, Alyssa Ashley and Nyma Tang, all amazing influencers who are ignored and in some cases looped into unnecessary drama. Honestly the rise of women of colour as influencers and finally getting the attention they need has been amazing, and has made the makeup side of Youtube accessible to the masses. Because they’ve always been there, but they’ve been swept under the rug and slept on.