I’m back! This time, we’re talking makeup: powder to be exact. My search for brown powder didn’t take quite as long as my search for nude panty hose, but it was much more eventful. I feel like whomever is in charge of making makeup for women with brown skin is playing a game of hide and seek, except us women don’t know we’re playing, and we’re losing. Let’s go back to 1997. I’m a tall, lanky, 14-year-old tomboy. I’m in the 7th grade learning how to wear makeup (and how not wear my brother’s clothes to school). Back in the day, everyone wore Cover Girl makeup and Bonne Bell lip gloss, because that was the cool thing to do. Between the age of 14 and 22, I bounced from makeup brand to makeup brand trying to find something that wasn’t Iman-expensive but also didn’t make me look like this.
Sometime in university, during one of my many trips to Shoppers, I discovered Black Opal. The name alone was inspiring! I immediately fell in love and became an avid user of their products. At the time, I lived in a neighborhood where there seemed to be more black people than white people. I only discovered this when I tried to buy Black Opal outside of my neighborhood only to be told by the sales associates that certain stores carried it based on the demographic of the neighborhood. Um . . . what? Okay, fine, at least you’re still selling it. Whatever. Six months later, I decided to update my colour palate and went back to my neighborhood shoppers to discover that the brand had been discontinued! I was heartbroken, outraged, devastated. What was I supposed to wear now? I eventually moved to Calgary, AB, a much bigger and much more diverse city; surely they would have Black Opal. But, after many trips to shoppers, I wasn’t able to find it and resorted to asking my hair dresser, black friends and any random black woman that would talk to me where I could find makeup for brown skin. Now, let’s be clear on something. I wasn’t looking for some vegan, paraben free, mineral free, skin-regenerating makeup. All I wanted was to be able to walk into a shopping centre with my girlfriends and leave with powder to make me look extra beautiful and if I was lucky, to cover my mustache (thanks, Dad). I sincerely didn’t appreciate that buying makeup was such an endeavour. Fast forward to 2009, the year that I moved back to Halifax. Y’all know I’m a sucker for punishment and despite the constant disappoint that I felt when I left Shoppers, I was back in there purchasing another powder that wasn’t Cover Girl crappy but would likely leave me looking like this:
But to my sheer delight and surprise, I discovered Vasanti Cosmetics, a company based in Toronto. It was created by a couple of East Indians gals who were fed up with the wearing makeup that didn’t match their skin tone. Not only is this company Canadian but their products look and feel great, and don’t cost a kidney. Last winter, through what can only be described as fate, I was asked to have my makeup done by a professional makeup artist using Vasanti products. How fun, eh! As I’m always happy to share the good word with my sistas of colour, here’s what Vasanti products can do:
Have you tried Vasanti products, or do you know of any other great makeup companies for women of colour? Let us know in the comments!