There is a new skin trend. It is called yoga skin, a creation of a make-up artist in the UK. It is supposed to look like you just left a hot yoga class and have that yoga glow. Yet another overhyped quality attributed to yoga but what do I know.
It consists of mixing a silicone primer, a couple drop of medium coverage foundation, a drop of highlighter and blending it, then applying it with your fingers for a softer, more natural look. There are tutorials of radiant 19-year-olds who glow with yoga radiance.
Great idea, I thought, then I pulled out my make-up arsenal. There were no highlighter drops. I would have loved to get my hands on that Danessa Myrick range. She has an innate understanding of bronzed complexions.
I could not get my hands on the Fenty Beauty range of products, unless I shopped online. Besides, I have seen dupes on YouTube. Still, I quested. Instagram was just too overdone. I did not want to highlight, contour and use a concealer that may be a colour corrector, an extra step I do not understand but will bring me closer to a face mist to hold it all in.
I wanted a face that exclaimed very loudly how I woke up. A light to moderate coverage foundation was not going to work on my textured skin. Evidently, what I needed was specific skin care products.
I turned to Amazon. Scrolled through products for weeks on end, taking turns every other night. I Googled. Images of reviewers popped up. They glowed. I was happy for them. I could not share in their joy because it so happens there is only one way to have and get great skin — be born with it. That, or the second, worse alternative. Be white.
For some reason, it is presumed hyperpigmentation and oily skin are the only challenges black beauties have to deal with. It made sense. After all, every time I wanted to remind myself to cheer on Team Dark Skin, I would go to Nyma Tang´s YouTube channel. A Sudanese-Briton with such spectacular skin her comment section reads like a book on positivity.
The beauty industry and world as a whole still reels from The Fenty Effect. It was long presumed black women did not constitute a large enough consumer base. It so happens we make up 15 per cent of the market, says Nielsen. Thinking that does not sound like much? That is worth Sh4.5 billion spent on skin care in 2017.
Skin care is a separate beast from colour cosmetics. It is becoming significant because black women now want skin care specifically for their needs. The challenge is there is no Rihanna or Pat McGrath to light a fire under pale behinds so they can play catch up.
Make-up, perhaps because it is colour, has grown and leapt over and above big brand names faster and harder.
When a woman of colour cannot find her shade of red or nude lipstick, stares down at a range of nail polish without finding what she is looking for, or realises there are colours not designed for her hair, and the playful adventurous element of fashion gets dimmed, she can easily commiserate with her peers. But skin care is far more elusive. It is easier to presume it is a genetic thing or a personal struggle.
And like a potential mate, it also takes much longer for a skin care product to prove itself.
YouTube and Instagram is filled with videos of women reincarnating the 11 step process of K-Beauty. Vloggers such as Patricia Kihoro, Jackie Aina and Sharon Mundia have walked audiences through their skin care processes.
K-Beauty has highlighted the interest women of colour have in complex make-up routines and skin care. It is one thing not to participate in female grooming by choice, it is quite another to desire it and not be able to because to the industry, you, and your needs, do not exist.