Making A Case For Melanated Minimalism

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In a world that tells women they aren’t enough, the black woman is everything…

In a world where everything is heightened to extreme levels, it’s rare to see almost anything in its natural state, which is why, in today’s society, minimalism is such a commodity. For decades, the beauty industry has urged women to “plump” this or “enhance” that, but what happened to the days when natural beauty reigned supreme? Have we, as a society, gotten so swept up in the craze of more is more, that we can’t even appreciate unaltered beauty when its right in our faces? Has the desire for fillers and filters blinded us to the natural beauty that we are all born with? Unfortunately, it seems so. As of late, the days of embracing what God — or the universe, has given you, seems like a romanticized notion that is easier to preach than it is to practice. This disappointing truth is precisely the reason why I’m making a case for more minimalism in the beauty routines of women, specifically to my black counterparts, because the minimalist makeup trend is already underway, the physical aesthetics of black women are fancied worldwide, and the skin of a woman of color is the most unique creation of all.

Less Is More

The year of 2018 has made way for a new makeup trend: minimalism. Where strobing and contouring once ruled the makeup industry, tinted moisturizers and a less is more look has taken over, so much so that even celebrities are following suit. Throngs of women are realizing the benefits of doing less to their faces, and allowing their natural beauty to emanate, instead. Grammy award-winning phenom Alicia Keys has been ahead of the no makeup trend for years, and is absolutely killing it! Alicia has been quoted saying, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” A brazen move for someone who endures the scrutiny of the public on a daily basis, but one that shows maturity and a high level of self-confidence. Alicia, while steadfast in her beliefs, also stated, “It’s great to not wear makeup, but it’s great to wear makeup too if it makes you happy. If you like how you look with a full face, contour, and some serious lashes, you do that and SLAY. But if you like yourself bare-faced, go forth and slay like that too. You do you.”

And Alicia isn’t the only black celebrity taking on the makeup-less trend. In the recent September issue of Vogue magazine, Houston-bred music icon, Beyoncé, graced the cover of the magazine sporting her natural hair, minimalist makeup, and showing off her many moles and beauty marks, in the process. “I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies…That’s why I stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup for this shoot.” Both Beyoncé and her equally talented little sister, Solange, have been embracing the minimalist makeup routine. In fact, on the cover of Solange’s 2016 album, A Seat At The Table, she wore little to no makeup, showing off her coveted eyebrows and pillow-like lips. The cover image, inspired by “the stateliness” of the Mona Lisa, garnered so much attention that countless fans even rocked the look for Halloween that year.

The Haves And The Have Not’s

As a black woman, I admire the strength and courage of other black women embracing their natural identities, especially since there’s an accumulation of women who aren’t black or brown, undergoing absurd transitions to copy the natural features of black women. From spray tans to natural hair, women everywhere are going to extreme lengths to obtain and appropriate the culture of black women. Historically speaking, black people were ridiculed for having naturally full lips, often likened to animals, and yet, when Kylie Jenner admitted to getting lip fillers in 2015, suddenly having fuller lips became a glamorized and cool accessory as if black people hadn’t been sporting full lips since the dawn of creation. And in similar fashion, Kylie’s supermodel sister, Kendall Jenner, received praise from the Marie Claire twitter account for taking “bold braids to an epic new level.” Seriously? Cornrows originated in Africa and the Caribbean, and have been worn by black celebrities for years, including Snoop Dogg, Lauryn Hill, and Brandy. Aside from the fact that many other racial groups are staking claim to something innately African, black women should own their features because its one of the few natural gifts that can’t be taken away from them. There are slews of women in the world paying to have a piece of something that comes naturally to women of color.

The Greatest Gift For Black Women

Another aspect that makes beauty minimalism unique for black women is the fact that women of color naturally have skin that is more resilient, in relation to the sun. Unlike our Caucasian counterparts, black and brown people have a higher level of melanin in their skin, acting as an added barrier of protection from the sun, which is almost unbelievable, if you really think about it. While so many fair skinned people must resort to spray tans to get a sun-kissed glow, black people naturally have a built-in, bronzed shield of protection that not only looks radiating on the outside but even protects their insides. Why wouldn’t you want to incorporate a minimalistic routine, complete with natural skincare products, into your life, when you’re walking around on a daily basis like a golden goddess? There are literally herds of people putting their lives on the line, risking the chances of getting skin cancer, just to gain a fraction of the coco complexion that black women naturally possess. While I’m not claiming that it is impossible for a black person to get skin cancer, science has proven that a higher percentage of melanin may lessen the chances of a brown person getting skin cancer, although your environment and genetics also factor into the equation.

The Future Is Black

As the sunsets on 2018, and we prepare for the new wave of beauty and make up bound to arise in 2019, I urge women of color to consider the benefits of incorporating minimalist practices into their routines. Our culture, the accumulation of history, and science-backed findings have proven that the physical makeup and beauty of the black woman needs no altering. A beauty so desired and mimicked on numerous occasions, is no wonder that so many people crave the natural features that make up the black woman. The world is currently experiencing a Renaissance in the beauty industry, and black women are at the helm. With the adoption of the less is more makeup trend, combined with the realization that black features are in demand, and the fact that black skin is a phenomenon, it is further proved that there is nothing left for the black woman to do than to bask in the benefits of a melanated minimalist beauty routine.

Brea is a tri-university phenom, born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, FL. She is a certified yoga instructor with prior experience in the fashion and writing industries. When she isn’t working towards obtaining an MFA in Creative Writing, Brea is busy preparing for the January 2019 launch of her brazen and female-inspired visual podcast, Candid Convos, which she co-hosts with her two sisters.

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