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Skin Tint, Lies And Bright Under Eyes: Exploring The Resistance To Black Women Embracing Clean Makeup Trends

What is beauty? Is it a mode of being? Something you either have or you don’t. A state of mind? A feeling you can tap into, fleeting but fulfilling all the same. Or is beauty simply a tool of stratification? A way of organising society, an obligatory hierarchy based on the genetic lottery, which dictates our place in the world. For something seemingly so superficial, within the realm of beauty, exists a hidden depth. 

Though the dust has finally settled, the carnage that ensued on social media after a black beauty influencer claimed the ‘clean’ makeup look is anti-black, highlighted the sensitivity of the topic. For those out of the loop of the latest beauty trends, ‘clean’ makeup refers to a light, barely there kinda beat. Forget full coverage, ‘clean’ is all about tinted moisturisers, a dab of concealer and a little lipgloss to tie it all together. So what about that is anti-black?

Within minutes of the claim that ‘we need coverage and structure’ social media was awash with black women telling the influencer to speak for herself. Questions were raised about the woman’s own self-esteem, some felt it was all projection and ultimately the issue was individualised. The onus was placed solely on the influencer to work on her relationship with her bare face, with little consideration to the more nuanced interpretations of her statement.