Dear dark skinned beauty…
By Mbali Dhlamini
I know you feel that the world does not understand what you have to go through on a daily basis or better yet what you have had to go through your entire life.
From being teased as a child because your skin was a lot darker than the other children on the he playground to battling to find someone who will actually appreciate your beauty.
I have some news for you though. The world does not owe you anything.
I was inspired to write this for you after I read a joke on social media which said that when Dark skinned women wear red lipstick they look like an isiZulu bible. We all know that the isiZulu bible has the general black cover and normally has the dark red on the edge of the page.
Although I thought this was funny at first, I went into the comments and I realised that many dark skinned beauties like me found this to be very offensive.
It seemed to touch a nerve with many saying that society’s views of what is considered beautiful are still far from being representative of what is actually out there.
Those who were commenting, raised concerns about why society gets to decide what a woman can and cannot wear regardless of what makes them feel good.
Dark skinned women deal with a lot of insecurities; I know that because I still battle with them at times too. They range from simple things like the kind of lipstick I can pull off to the colours I can wear without attracting too much attention.
The truth of the matter though is that these insecurities are not exclusive to dark skinned women. Every woman deals with her own demons fuelled by a number of things, be it weight, height or anything in between.
There is also a growing trend of people making it seem as though having a light skinned woman in their lives is some sort of an achievement. The lighter the persons skin the prettier they are seen to be.
The age of the yellow bone has taken over and has made insecure dark skinned women resent their yellow bone counterparts.
I myself grew up in a family where I was teased a lot for being dark skinned. But for me, it made me the strong confident woman I am today because there is nothing an outsider can say to me that I take personally or allow to define my character.
This, of course is by no means the same for everyone, I some people are severely affected by these comment leading to suicide and other forms of depression especially in young people who still rely a lot on the opinions of others to feel good about themselves.
Having been a model for a short time in my early years there was something I learnt from make-up artists who I had the pleasure of meeting at different points in my life.
A common thought which they shared was that working on a dark skinned person was always a breeze because there was so much they could get away with and experiment with.
This helped me a lot I quelling my own insecurities because I managed to take tips and tricks from them which would allow me to enhance the beauty Ive always known I had which was merely hidden underneath what I believed I couldn’t pull off.
I use to shy away from colour and wanted the approval of the people around me in order to feel better about myself.
I stayed within the comfort zone of certain hairstyles because I thought certain looks were just not for me.
As part of my research for this particular blog I decided to visit the guys at one of the largest Professional Make Up manufacturers in the country.
Kryolan South Africa is known for its bold colours and they simply believe that Make Up is a science.
So it was fitting for me to visit them so that I could understand the science of what it is that girls like me can get away with and also quell the misconceptions that society has drilled into our heads.
I met with Cuan who is a professional make-up artist at their head offices and boy did I get value out of him.
I now fully understand that colour, has and always will be a dark skinned lady’s best friend.
He described our skin as the perfect canvass from which you can allow colour to live and pop.
I was shown a demonstration of how different shades – Ones that I would never have considered before – look on different skin tones.
My full walkabout at the store covered every facet of the beauty of a woman and how important it is that you feel good about yourself in order to look good on the outside.
A woman’s confidence is her crown and I left there with my crown sparking like it had just received a new batch of crystals.
I went home and played around with the tips I had been given by the very talented Cuan and it made me realise that I had been robbing myself of so much just because I was afraid of being called a Zulu bible by those that did not understand the essence of beauty.
My selfie game was at its highest after my mini consultations with the Krylan team as my confidence to try new things was at its peak
Dear dark skinned lady I want you to remember that other people opinions of you do not define who you are. It is merely an indication of their own insecurities.
So go out there and be anything you want to be, being a bible isn’t a terrible thing after all.