About 2 years ago, I was having a chat with one of my neighbors. She had come to me because she had a ‘dire’ need. This neighbor of mine is light-skinned naturally and her husband is dark enough for two people. Like me she has 2 amazing girls; her first child seemed to take after her complexion and her second seemed more comfortable in between her and her spouse. On one of his trips back to Lagos, her husband felt that she wasn’t caring enough for the children and he demanded she go find out what ‘other’ mothers do to ‘maintain’ their childrens’ complexion. As far as he was concerned, for female standards, they had gotten too dark and too ugly and something needed to be done about it. Knowing that I’m a skincare consultant, she sought me out to help with her ‘problem’
I was shocked!!
In the masterclass with Kahlana Barfield Brown a few weeks back at GT Fashion Weekend, colorism was one of the topics that was discussed and I felt and still feel a strong pull towards it. Kahlana mentioned that prior to her writing about it in an article with InStyle, her beauty had been questioned because of her dark complexion. On the Nigerian scene, colorism seems to be the in-thing; as long as you are dark, you are not as beautiful and/or you don’t properly ‘maintain’ your complexion. This has driven a lot of people especially women to acquire a fairer complexion by any means possible.
It’s even made worse when people desperate to profit financially from such a need then devise all kinds of mixtures to ensure that a fair complexion is achieved despite the health implications. People without as much as a diploma become ‘dermatologists’, ‘chemists’ and ‘skincare consultants’ after a 3-week WhatsApp class and no other certification. They ply their trade on social media especially Instagram where they sponsor 2-3 videos of them mixing all-what-not in a bucket (that still has paint stains on the inside) and they attach a ridiculous price tag to it. Ask them their key ingredients and all they can pronounce properly is STRICTLY ORGANIC!
I’m sure by now you can tell I’m VERY passionate about this.
It hurt me so much that this lady has been pushed by her husbands’ ignorance (I don’t know what else to call it) to find ‘help’ that her 4 and 2 years old daughters did not need. I did my best to counsel her to let them be and focus more on their health rather than their fair complexion or lack of it. Something inside me kept telling me I was wasting my time; she would eventually find what she was looking for; so sad.
Healthier, Glowing Skin VS Fairer, Lighter Complexion? Which is your pick?
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