Since the first time you see your reflection staring back at you,  you have wanted to look your best.

As a young girl, you are teased about having hairy legs and became insecure about hair growing in other awkward places.

All women go through puberty and unexpected changes with their bodies.

Makeup is used to channel your inner artist, but also, to cover certain flaws you see in yourself.

Your mother tells you, you don’t need that.

“Less is more, trust me.”

The purpose of wearing makeup in the 1800s was to look natural, even if it meant taking some risks. But now, times have changed. We live in a society that has painted its own version of how a woman should look. A picture-perfect woman with flawless skin, beautiful hair, and one who wears just the right amount of makeup; polished, one might call it.

I call it BULLSHIT.

melanin beauty standards

It’s time for us women to feel liberated and free without the layer of man-made products.

The “No Make Up” Movement (hashtag no make-up), was brought to the forefront by singer-songwriter Alicia Keys who fearlessly announced that she felt empowered to embrace her natural state in 2016.

melanin alicia keysIn an interview for Lenny, the songstress said,

“…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.

She became weary of the entertainment industry’s harsh standards, claiming it strengthened her insecurities and made her constantly change her image.

These standards have transferred to the minds of millennials.

It’s not just about makeup anymore, it’s about being the exact opposite of how ‘others’ think you should be – YOUR TRUE SELF.

Winnie Harlow was diagnosed with vitiligo, a skin condition that causes loss of pigment, at the age of four.

melanin winine harlow

After overcoming bullying throughout her years in grade-school, she realized that she had to find beauty not only within herself but, in everything. 

“I realized that I was trying to put myself into a mold that I didn’t fit. Who’s to say that I’m supposed to fit into a mold anyway? I can make my own,” she said in her TEDx talk

Believe the hype. Self-love is the best love.

Whether on your lunch break at work or in the comfort of your home, take a moment during the day to stop and look at yourself in the mirror.

Not only focus on what you see, but identify your flaws and find a reason why they make you YOU.  There’s only one you and that is your power. 

As women of color, we are inundated with pressure to conform to European standards of beauty. With role models like Alicia, Winnie and Lupita, we are now being encouraged to embrace our melanin-magic: the special “it” factor that only women of color possess. That undeniable fearless femininity that only a chosen few share; black girl magic, if you will.

5 Tips to Celebrate and Embrace Your Melanin Magic

  1. Take time to admire yourself.

  2. Spend time alone, lots of it!

  3. Read self-help books.

  4. Spend time doing things you actually love to do.

  5. Celebrate your “flaws.” 

melanin lupita

That is all.