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Busting African American beauty myths

With all the beauty “advice” out there, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. There are enough beauty myths that refer to all women, but they only seem to get more ridiculous when they start relating to skin color or other variations among us.

In the slew of myths regarding skin and makeup for African American beauties, it’s crucial to learn the truth – when it comes to protecting your skin and making a statement with your cosmetics, it could make a huge difference!

“Black don’t crack”

Comparing famous African American beauties like Halle Berry and Serena Williams with Caucasian celebs of the same age, it’s easy to see why the myth “black don’t crack” has been perpetuated.

This (false) saying is describing how dark-skinned ladies don’t get wrinkles, dark spots or other signs of aging caused by sun damage. It’s actually true that the higher levels of melanin, the darkening pigment, in African American women’s skin offers more protection from the sun than Caucasian women will get. It’s also true that most women of African descent generally do not develop quite as many fine lines or sunspots as Caucasian women. Before you reach for your tanning oil, it’s important to note that black women can get sunburned, and the burn can lead to skin cancer, an uneven skin tone or dark marks on the skin. SPF 30 always!

“Neon is a no-no”

Orange lips, hot pink eyeshadow or turquoise eyeliner create “wow!” effect on all women, but the darker your skin, oftentimes the bolder and more intense the contrast. Does neon makeup stand out on African American women? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No!

In fact, dark-skinned beauties may be able to pull off more eyeshadow colors than their lighter-skinned counterparts. That lovely light pink? It looks gorgeous on you, while it might just create a red, tired look on fairer skin.

If you really want a color to pop (either on your lips, eyes or cheeks) wear a primer underneath so the pigment doesn’t blend with your natural skin color. Also, try to limit yourself to one neon feature at a time, and keep the rest of your makeup neutral. Then, get ready to draw some admiration from passersby!

“Never choose nude”

Many of us remember those (very frustrating) days when “nude” or “flesh” was used to describe any color that was thought to blend in with the skin – problem was, it only blended with white skin. Now there are almost as many shades of foundation, powder and other makeup as there are skin tones, but of course, it would be impossible for makeup companies to create a shade that looks “nude” on every skin color under the sun. To create a nude look for yourself, you might have to mix and match a couple of shades of foundation or powder. A tinted moisturizer or BB cream might also be a good solution, because it allows your lovely natural color to come through, but will even your skin tone.

If you are trying to create a nude lip, choosing a “nude” lipstick color probably won’t be much help. Because many African American women have strong pigments in their lips naturally, it’s best to opt for sheer, peachy tints, which will neutralize the various shades on your lips and create a smooth, shiny and natural-looking pout.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing