Beauty Trends Can Be Problematic: Here Are 6 Brown Girl Friendly Influencers That Actually Look like Us
Written by Felicia Gopi
Sunday March 4, 2023
Trying out new beauty trends can be fun and exciting, especially in the TikTok and Instagram Reels era where it seems like a new trend pops up before I can even master the one from the day before. TikTok hacks can speed up your glam time dramatically, and sometimes, they can leave you with a bit of a mess to clean up. Nevertheless, I love trying out new beauty trends, but I’m often left wondering, “are these really brown girl friendly?” I’m looking at you vanilla girls.
Recently, I read an article on Byrdie by Ariane Resnick about how problematic the Clean Girl aesthetic is, in that it perpetuates a very white-centric standard of beauty. Resnick really nails the issue when she writes that it, “worsens the already too prevalent problems in our culture of not valuing women of color, those who earn lower wages, and anyone else who doesn't have the look of a skinny, white, unblemished ingenue.” (source: Ariane Resnick via Byrdie.com)
It validated exactly how I was feeling and made me question further, how much the beauty industry, the social media industry and influencers overall really think about us when producing products, trends and content. More often than not, they don’t. Inclusivity is an afterthought at best in corporate boardrooms or zoom meetings, algorithms are constantly pushing white influencers to the forefront of our feeds and some of those influencers just don’t seem to get us.
We want to play too. There are a ton of women of colour who are making waves in the beauty space across social media and if you curate your feed just right, you’ll be lucky enough to see their beautiful melanated faces giving us all the glam insight we’re looking for. As you scroll through you’ll see some familiar faces or maybe meet some new ones who will not only help you navigate some of the newest trends but also, who will reassure you that while trends, fads and hacks can be really fun, our beauty also lies in what sets us apart.
1Monica (@makeupbymonicaa on TikTok) is one of my go-to girlies to tell it like it is. She gives her honest takes on all the latest trends and how they perform on brown skin tones. In this video she gives us an honest take on using pink setting powder to set our under eyes. She points out that while the pink is a lot brighter, yellow powders that most women with darker skin tones have come to love, have a more natural finish.
2Sharda (@beautybysharda on Instagram) is a GTA-based professional makeup artist. Apart from posting beautifully glammed bridal inspo on her feed, she also posts funny yet fresh reels that give you a peek into what it’s like to be a MUA IRL. This video is a cheeky reminder that makeup cannot erase our natural features, and those include wrinkles. NTS: ageing is normal.
3Dhivya (@dhivya.srii on TikTok) is an Ottawa and Toronto based influencer whose South Asian and particularly, Tamil roots are at the heart of her beauty, fashion and lifestyle content. In this TikTok she breezes through a Dyson Air Wrap tutorial that makes using the splurge of a styling tool look easy and simple.
4Sahana (@mypawfectfamily on TikTok) is an Indian beauty and hair influencer who has really dedicated some serious time to debunking how to get the perfect heatless curls. The best part is, she shows you how to achieve the look using household items like my favourite, a t-shirt! More credit to her for actually showing off how the back looks when done correctly in her video here.
5Anthea (@wing.it.beauty on Instagram) is a staple for Indo-Caribbean and brown girl friendly beauty takes. Her iconic “brown girl friendly lip combos” and her love for pink blushes has earned her place on many of our algorithms. Perhaps her most bold video is this one, where she waxes what is quite possibly the longest arm hair I have ever seen while sparking a long-standing conversation on why women feel so much pressure to be hairless.
6Lola (@lola_mca on TikTok) reminds us that all in all, beauty trends are just that. They’re fun ways to play, express yourself and enhance your features. In a world full of influencing, product placement and an immense pressure to exude perfection she prompts us to normalize the very traits that make us brown girls and ultimately make us beautiful. Video here.
Whether you search for content on social media, passively watch ads while streaming, or glance at in-store offerings and billboards, we are constantly being presented with a skewed representation of what conventional beauty really is. It’s a challenge to seek out more accurate and diverse representation, but it does exist. Let’s do our best to celebrate our community for their impact in the industry while we continue to make more room for a truly inclusive definition of beauty.
P.S. Keep scrolling for one more bonus video, I couldn't resist!
Monica (@makeupbymonicaa) is nothing if not honest, and we need it (hello de-influencing!). This video of her showing you some of the “least brown girl friendly” products is equal parts funny as it is startling. #RepresentationMatters
About the Author
Felicia is the editor in chief of Story, a newsletter by the Indo-Caribbean Canadian Association. She also works in digital marketing with a background in beauty and fashion. She began volunteering with the Indo-Caribbean Association to contribute directly to her community and to learn from other like-minded individuals.
For more information visit feliciagopi.ca