Monday, May 27, 2024

How Today’s Beauty Standards Are Harming Black Women

black woman (light skinned) applying make up

*Beauty products not only offer enhancement of one’s face and body but also an enhancement to one’s confidence. When it comes to creating a look, beauty products help in transforming into the shape that is most desirable.

When what is deemed desirable is dictated by whiteness, it leads black women to feel insecure and turn to products that are harmful to their bodies and health.

Black women know from first-hand experience how society rewards lighter skin and straight hair. Black women who give in to these European standards of beauty get better pay and see more upward trajectory in their career.

Other black women internalize the message that their natural features are inferior. Hence, they are pushed into using more beauty products than white women to assimilate themselves into the society at large.

Because black women use these products besides the other beauty products commonly used by women, they tend to be more exposed to the poisonous ingredients in them than white women. Skin lightening creams, a common purchase among women of color, contain high amounts of mercury, a poisonous substance that absorbs into the body and can cause cancer and brain damage. Not only do these products fail to mention the presence of mercury in them but also push the idea that black skin is undesirable through its packaging and marketing.

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