When Ebonee Davis started modeling five years ago, the fashion and beauty industries were less diverse than they are today. In an open letter that Davis wrote to the fashion industry in July, she spoke of the narrow-mindedness that is still so prevalent for models. “I was told that brands only booked black girls if they looked like they’d been ‘plucked from a remote village in Africa’ or like a ‘white model dipped in chocolate,’ and from the start of my career in 2011, I lived by those words.” It’s strong voices like Ebonee’s are helping to shift the tone of social injustice in fashion media, so that everyone can feel included and beautiful.
Like all beauty, black beauty, is varied; There’s not one hairstyle or foundation shade that fits all and that the Internet is filled with hundreds of stories revealing the beauty tips of white French women isn’t helping. Though it was certainly unintentional, this type of content alienates millions of women—and it has an impact.
In our latest catch-up with Ebonee, she gives an alarmingly clear firsthand account of just how disturbing this can be. “I want to draw attention to the psychology behind not seeing as many shades for darker skin tones. I mentioned that it’s not hard for me to find the right color for my skin tone, but that’s not the extent of the issue. The problem is a lot deeper and it goes beyond matching the correct shade. Over and over again, women of color are told that we do not fit into this world. This is sometimes done in subtle ways and this is one of those ways. If I am standing at a makeup counter and I see 20 shades of foundation but only 5 of them are for darker skin tones, what does that say to me subconsciously? ‘You don’t fit into this world and you don’t fit into this society’. Now imagine hearing that message your entire life, in subtle ways and in not-so subtle ways. Those types of messages destroy your self-esteem. It can feel like the whole world hates you and because of that, a lot of people end up hating themselves. Mental health is such a big issue right now that needs to be talked about. Especially in the black community, because we are taught to hate ourselves. This is what systemic racism looks like. It’s so deeply embedded into our subconscious and into our society that, at times, it’s almost unrecognizable.”
It’s a very small step in the right direction considering what’s at stake, but here, we’ve asked Ebonee to weigh in on her tips for treating acne scars and clogged pores, nude lips for darker skin tones, and the rest of her all-natural beauty routine.
“When it comes to beauty, I like to take a holistic approach. It’s important to remember that skin is porous, so whatever you put on your skin will be absorbed into your body, the same way it would be if you ate it. For this reason, I use products with very simple plant based ingredients.”
African black soap is my go-to cleanser for face and body. Black soap is made from simple ingredients including coconut oil, palm oil and shea butter. I also use these ingredients on their own to keep my skin soft and hydrated. Raw shea butter helps my skin to retain its moisture, even during harsh winter months.”
“I suffer from acne on occasion and as I result, I get hyper-pigmentation scars. I know a lot of people with darker skin tones suffer from this issue. As a spot treatment, I use tea tree oil. With tea tree oil, you have to be careful. You don’t want to put it all over your face unless its in a diluted solution or else it will burn. But it works well as a natural spot treatment for stubborn pimples.
For post acne marks, I try to avoid over-the-counter solutions, because a lot them contain harsh chemicals that can burn the skin, leaving it extremely dry and sensitive. They can also permanently damage the melanin using powerful bleaching agents. I use witch hazel as a toner to help get rid of the marks faster and maintain a nice complexion overall.
My advice would be to find an aesthetician who is familiar with dark skin. My aesthetician uses a glycolic acid peel to gently remove old layers of skin and break up the hyper pigmentation on the skin.”
“As far as my makeup routine goes, I don’t really wear a lot so I don’t have much advice to offer on specific products. I do like Bobby Brown’s range of shades for concealer though. It’s definitely been a go-to over the years. The tones are really nice and look natural on my skin.”
“Besides concealer, I like to do a little highlight on my cheeks and under my brow. I usually go with a liquid highlight to keep everything looking dewy and moist—Nars makes some really great ones. I usually just finish off with a bit of mascara, brow gel, and lip balm. One of my favorite makeup tips is using chocolate lipstick. I love a brown lip! It’s a better “nude” look for people with darker skin tones.”END
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createdAt:Fri, 28 Apr 2017 16:14:08 +0000