Over the weekend, this meme began circulating on social media. It pictures a black woman — mid contour — reflecting on her actions. The caption says:
“When you’re contouring and highlighting and realize that you’re trying to get more eurocentric features.”
Contouring is a makeup technique that defines and reshapes areas of the face using pencils, creams or powders.
My first reaction to this meme was confusion. I proudly wear makeup and contour on special occasions for an extra glam look, but I’ve never tried to look like anything other than myself. To blanketly state that contouring is about looking more European is gross generalization.
For decades we’ve been conditioned to think that a nose with narrow bridge and small nostrils is exclusive to white women. It isn’t. In fact, Ethiopian and Eritrean women dispel this myth entirely. I admit, some black women do narrow their noses in an attempt to downplay the size. But we have to balance that with an understanding that women of African descent are incredibly diverse in appearance.
Furthermore this meme implies that high cheek bones, a narrow face and full lips — in addition to a slim nose — are Eurocentric features that black women desire. But many already have high cheek bones and full lips, which are a sign of beauty in both African and black American culture. Just look at Sudanese model Alek Wek, Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o or actress Kerry Washington. If anything, there are a million tutorials directing non-black women on how to get these features.
Sometimes I think people forget what contouring actually does. Like makeup in general, it is a way to enhance what is already on your face. Do some take it overboard? Of course. But contouring is a way to add dimension and balance to your face. Like wigs, weaves, and clothing trends,it’s fun and a way for women to temporarily try different looks. And while a lot of attention is paid to nose narrowing, a lot of contouring focuses on the shape of one’s eyes, chin, cheeks, lips and face.
In my opinion, it’s not a form of self-hate and a this meme seems to lump all black women who contour into that category.
Check out these fierce black girl contours. Eurocentric who?
Fall Vibes✨ – Using the @kathleenlights x @morphebrushes collab palette on the eyes! #morphexkathleenlights — Brows • @anastasiabeverlyhills Brow wiz in granite Highlight • @anastasiabeverlyhills Glow kit in that glow Face • @covergirl ready set gorg foundation + @maybelline fit me concealer + @nyxcosmetics cream contour kit in deep Lips • @nyxcosmetics brown lip liner + @colourpopcosmetics "weho" ultra glossy lip Enjoy!💋
• I'm just stuntin' on my ex bitch 🙃 #MakeupDolls #mua #bossassmakeup #instadaily #ownyourpretty #wakeupandmakeup #motd #like4like #naturalhair #vondashana #fiercesociety #inssta_makeup #contour #modeling #her #blackgirlmagic #summer #smile #HAPPY #Love #GbciScout #darkskinwomen #MelaninAppeal #lgbt #lesbian
Press Play▶️ still testing out different lighting and editing so bare with me Im new to this, I am not tech savvy whatsoever😅 but hey we all have to start somewhere lol and Ive been wanting to do this for the longest and I refuse to keep putting it off because of being scared😜 ✨Products used✨ Brushes for foundation and concealer- @mikasabeauty (OBSESSED with the ovalbrush set) Foundation- @gerardcosmetics BB+ illumination/ @maybelline fit me in shades 338 and 360 Concealer-@morphebrushes in khaki Contour/glow-@anastasiabeverlyhills contour kit and glow kit Mascara-Instant fakes Eyes-@morphebrushes 35OS Blush- @morphebrushes 9N #aunimakeup #makeupbyauni #makeupartistworldwide #morphegirl #morphe #mikasabeauty #anastasiabeverlyhills #anastasiabrows #abhglowkit #wakeupandmakeup #tutorial #follow #makeupforblackwomen #melanin #beauty #highlight #contour #kcmakeupartist
Ladies, what are your thoughts?