Due to this being the current state of the beauty industry, Lupita Nyong’o’s new status as “It Girl” of 2014 is huge. Although Lupita is thin, she has beautiful dark skin and hair. Her acceptance speech on beauty and self-confidence given at the ESSENCE 7th Annual Black Women in Hollywood luncheon in February, rocked the tabloids and quickly had millions of views online, making it’s rounds though all the major social media platforms (ESSENCE online). Within this speech Lupita spoke about her struggle accepting her skin color, and eventually listening to her mother and understanding that beauty is not only exterior but also a way of being. That outer beauty cannot sustain a person and is a temporary gift. Lupita stated, “my mother again would say to me, ‘You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.’ And these words plagued and bothered me; I didn’t really understand them until finally I realized that beauty was not a thing that I could acquire or consume, it was something that I just had to be” (ESSENCE online)
Although her speech was very powerful, and I found her words to be consoling, Lupita did not state outright that dark skin IS beautiful. More over, she stated that she needed to accept who she is inside as opposed to worrying about outer beauty.
A few days ago, Lupita Nyong’o announced on Instagram, that she has been made the new face of Lancôme Paris (Fashionista). Just as Lupita’s acceptance speech was powerful, this bold recognition of her beauty in the cosmetics industry is an incredible milestone. Lancôme Paris, has not been known in the past for catering to the cosmetic needs of women of color, although it is owned by L’Oreal, who’s drug store makeup line is know for is wide range of foundation shades. This recognition of dark skin as beautiful, accompanied by makeup in deep pigments, is extremely rare within luxury makeup lines, which in the past has lead to the creation of lines such as Iman Cosmetics solely for women of color.
As us brown ladies know, finding cosmetics for our wide range of skin tones, can be a project. The cosmetics industry rarely recognizes the diversity of skin colors and likes to either leave out dark tones completely, or move from “medium” tones which tend to be very light, to “dark” tones which are either relatively dark, or not even close to brown. Undertones are not included, and finding natural makeup often proves almost impossible. Even within countries where the majority of the citizens are of brown completion, it can still be tricky to find a good match. Here in Costa Rica, although I am darker skinned than much of the population, I am also lighter than a good portion. Morena is the norm here. This being said, when my foundation ran out, finding good makeup proved to be difficult. The department stores just do not carry foundation that is darker than tan. When I finally found a good match, my shade was the second to darkest the store carried. It is also an an over-the-counter brand, accessible to those of low-socioeconomic status, which as we know goes hand-in-hand with dark skin more often than not.
Lupita Nyong’o’s position as a beauty icon for women of color has broken the confines of beauty magazines, TV channels, and makeup lines solely marketed at black and brown women. By being recognized by a luxury cosmetics company as main stream as Lancôme Paris, Lupita's beauty will be front and center in advertisements, magazines, and billboards marketed at the general population and there for at white women as well as brown. This is the cosmetics industry acceptance of black as beautiful, and a huge step in the direction of multiracial beauty recognition within mainstream fashion and beauty ideals! Let’s hope this proves to be an example for other companies!
Con mucho amor,
P.S.- Makeup Tip of the day:
Ladies, check out Findation.Com- Foundation color matching website. For those of us that struggle to find a perfect match, this website has proved to be very helpful to me! Just enter a few products that have worked color wise, and the website will find you more foundation options without having to sit at a makeup counter or try to decide between Almond, and Warm Tan at Rite Aid ;) Much cheaper than Sephora's color matching station, and just a few clicks away. Have fun!
Disclaimer: Images are not mine- Taken from Google Images