#MyMelaricheStory

Humans are naturally insecure. From the dawn of time, cavemen probably wondered whose cave was bigger, who can make the biggest fire and bring home the juiciest meat to serve. Cain killed Abel because of jealousy, which stems from insecurity. Insecurities can eat us up and make us feel resentful but mostly towards ourselves. This made me think how I allowed others perceptions of beauty affect me negatively from a young age, because that’s where it starts, young, trying to fit in with the majority especially when you’re the minority. We don’t know what’s best in life and we look to what is fed to us through the media and our environment. In a society that plays us against each other, especially women (and even more so, women of colour) it’s not hard to find the faults that allow us to figure ourselves unworthy.

The European standard of beauty is always in our face; mainstream beauty is exclusively white. An article by Susan L. Bryant called “The Beauty Ideal: The Effects of European Standards of Beauty on Black Women” she says, “Black women are particularly vulnerable to the effects of European standards of beauty, because these standards emphasize skin colors and hair types that exclude many black women, especially those of darker skin.” Many celebrities have been ‘white washed’ especially more now than in the 80s & 90s, whether we realise it or not and if it’s been said or not, implied or not, mixed & black women have always been made to feel that our natural beauty cannot be embraced. While all images in advertising very narrowly reflect society, there’s no doubt that it’s highly more Eurocentric beauty driven. Melariche is a brand that exclusively carries brands for women of colour. A one stop online shop for products and advice. I was asked to share my Melariche story about how the western beauty standard has affected my self-esteem...

Growing up there was not as many mixed or black children within my environment as there is now - such as school, after school clubs. I knew I was different, I just had to look around and when you are given Barbie's that look nothing like you, Disney Princesses are what most little girls want to be & subconsciously these things are fed to young children. There's a thought; Would I be pretty or enough for others if I didn't look like what was popular and flying off shelves?

It wasn't until I was 11, did I have my first incident of being attacked for my race & skin colour. I was bullied for being mixed race – yes it happens. I am a child from a black mother and white father but solely know and raised by my black family. Black culture was all I knew. The girl told me such things as ‘You’re a half breed’, ‘You should die’, ‘You’re disgusting’, ‘Mutt’. And this came at the hands of a black girl, my age, who was of a darker complexion who possibly was too a victim also of the European standard of beauty and she probably saw in me that I had ‘light skin privilege’ - FACT: Light-Skinned Privilege Doesn’t Make You Immune To Discrimination. She attacked me and any confusion I had begun to resonate more where my self-esteem was diminished. I didn’t feel beautiful; I didn’t belong anywhere. I felt excluded by my white family - possibly because of who my mother was and I am the product. During my teens I wasn’t too fussed over make-up it wasn’t a big thing around me, too much of a tomboy, makeup wasn't a thing in my home so it didn’t affect me until I was about 18 and started to take an interest in make-up, purchasing magazines. Browsing the aisles and noticing that there were hardly any women of colour friendly shades, even for me. Foundation stopped about between 4-6 shades, all of which wouldn’t accommodate me unless I purchased 2, just to mix.

For years, when I got into makeup, I never wore foundation. I'd simply just do my eye makeup and lips to be honest, my skin didn't really need it looking back but just because I didn't then, doesn't mean others didn't. I think it took me until I was about 21 before I started using foundation. I didn’t realise at the time but this makeup wasn’t made for me at all – and neither was the ideal of beauty that I saw on T.V & magazines. It’s as if we don’t exist.
Through these popular magazines, the ads, hair & makeup recommendations were not aimed at young women as myself, in the UK nothing screamed and aimed their brands towards us - unless you purchased black hair and beauty magazines (which isn't a bad thing but once again excluded from the mainstream magazines)–– I began to realise, we’re the excluded party because our beauty isn’t ideal.

Now I know as someone with a lighter complexion besides the occasion when younger and while visiting Paris - This was the first time I'd experienced racial taunting as an adult. As I boarded the train, I was the only person of colour in the immediate 2 carriages and refused my seat by someone sitting in it, they made monkey noises at me and kept referring to me as one and ugly. After I kept insisting for them to give me my seat, they moved exclaiming they wouldn't want to sit anywhere near a monkey. During that journey until I left, I kept having to hear the remarks. It doesn't do much for your self-esteem. - I’ve not had it as hard as my darker complexioned sisters. At the same time, it’s still a problem because we have varied skin tones, undertones as women of colour and shouldn’t be excluded for that reason. The excuse that there’s no demand is bullshit; it doesn’t take more time to do darker foundations. The women of colour they have fronting campaign, majority have smaller features to look similar to their white counterpart. So although companies ‘try’ they still exclude more ethnic features. I feel the beauty industry thrives off manipulating women’s feelings, making us feel bad about ourselves, we need to change our ‘flaws’ that don’t fit into their standard and it seemed to show looking at the brands.

Sleek Makeup use to be called Sleek Cosmetics, it was very women of colour friendly and catered predominantly for Black Mixed Race and Asian women (their words), it use to be found in our hair stores, normally right by the counter. When Sleek Cosmetics went through its rebrand to become Sleek Cosmetics, it completely dropped the friendly aim towards women of colour, discontinued shades that were WOC friendly and started to cater more to others which left a lot of women of colour disappointed and began selling in Superdrug & now Boots but I do think the brand has over the years become very diverse. In all, the beauty industry is coming along but it's still got very far to go.
Unfortunately, we're not upheld as beauties, our features are beautiful when enhanced or on another race - not our own. When you're constantly reminded you're 'different'...'ugly'...& everything else that's thrown at you from young. You begin to try find someone to look up to, schools growing up weren't as diverse as they are now. When I started to be more aware of women and beauty, I looked at Jennifer Lopez, Aaliyah, Lisa Bonét and still do. There are so many women I look at because they’re beautiful, strong women & also seem to have souls that are positive, Erykah Badu, Taraji P Henson, Regina Hall, Rihanna, Lupita, there are so many beautiful women of colour to look up to and who are also using their position to collaborate with brands, hold positions as a spokeswoman and in Rihanna's case, developing a makeup line. We become our own bosses of our beauty, lives and businesses, instead of waiting to be told we are accepted.
I fight with that battle of seeing myself as beautiful, stuff from childhood seem to resonate into adulthood. Self-love is a lesson, we're not born knowing how to love, we learn by how we're treated, learning to love myself is to be more patient, kinder, compassionate and understanding of myself. Beauty is about embracing who I am. Beauty to me is to never compare myself to someone else. Flowers do not worry about another flower, they just bloom in their own time and space. Beauty to me, is more than skin deep, cliché but your positive personality can make you more appealing to anyone you come across. Beauty to me is having a soul that others vibe with, want to be around because my beauty is helping others to embrace and feel positive about themselves. It’s about standing in the mirror and saying to myself “This is what beauty is”. I now embrace my hairs versatility, my complexion because it's me.

Self-esteem building can start at home. I was told I was beautiful and fussed over but when you're seeing and hearing different from your peers, what your family or family friends say it becomes "but you're meant to say things like that...!".

I think brands can start with helping girls from in their teens by front campaigns to help self-esteem, by either keeping it up or building it. Letting them know that they're a beauty and to not be discouraged by a lot of the cultural appropriation that's going on, the white washing within the media & negative comments. Brands could also team up a lot more with positive figures from the community - by having ambassadors, who also have a story of their own and how they overcame them. There's so much more now in terms of the internet with exposure and it can be a good and bad thing but as long as there's more awareness, multi-cultural images and campaigns aimed at young girls hopefully they'll know to love themselves and to not feel they're less than & to always compare themselves to European beauty standards.

Have you ever felt you don't live up to the eurocentric beauty standards?

44 comments

  1. All the time is probably the only answer I can give - I don't like the way I look at all - it's worse since my mobility got bad as well as I don't have the ability to be up and about and as active as I once was. x

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    1. Aw Sarah-Louise, it's so hard because you see so much in the media that is glorified as beautiful, that if you don't match that it can be a huge downer. I'm sorry to read that your mobility has got so bad lately x

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  2. I'm disgusted with the way you were treated on that train in Paris, absolutely shocking. It's absolutely unnaceptable that you had to endure bullying. You are beautiful, and the Melarich makeup looks gorgeous on you.

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    1. It is disgusting but I know others have had it so much worse unfortunately sometimes just because of your race or religion you're just a target for some people. Thank you so much Galina.

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  3. It breaks my heart that racism still exists, my Daughters best friend is mixed race and all we see is the person not skin colour, which is what I have raised my children to see. Unfortunately, there is always pressure by society x

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    1. Mine too. It's vile and I wish more people had the same outlook as you and others. You should never judge someone by how they look, it should always be how a person treats you. Society has always led so much before and today - when will it change? x

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  4. It hurtsme when I hear of racism. I hope one day it will completely disappear, but unfortunately I don't see that happening. I don't know where it comes from! I have noticed when buying makeup that I struggle to get pale colours, but then that there are even less darker colours. Thanks for putting the spotlight on such issues. Thankfully we have so many women to admire of different races!

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    1. I agree with you, it's been going on for so long, it's embedded within society to judge and degrade those who are different. Yes it's very much on either end of the spectrum, I have noticed that too. Thank you for leaving such a lovely comment and for understanding Jodie.

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  5. Well I think you are absolutely stunning and anyone that says otherwise is just jealous. Your right, technically I am British and Portuguese but because I don't look white but am most definitely not black I would always have snarky comments growing up ' go back to your country' 'white priviledge' you look foreign, Paki or my 'favourite which I still get to this day:'where you from'/ Me- I am British/ Them- but you don't look British/ What would you define as British? I was born here end of story- Them- But you can't be British, where are your parents from- You can see how tiresome this tirade can be. As for foundation don't get me started, I am yet to find one for olive skin, I am sorry to hear about these horrible people and what they did to you!

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    1. It's ignorance. Straight up ignorance. You're British, born and raised here and your heritage is Portuguese because it's where your bloodline runs back too! It's so frustrating but I do think a lot of it is jealousy and it's also taking a lot of anger they have on others, they'll find something to pick at you to make you feel as insecure or low as them. Although we know this, it's hard to accept sometimes because you do start to feel like that left out person. Omg yes I'm with you on that because I'm more olive toned, yellow undertones and finding something that's not pink or orange..just yellow and the right amount is a NIGHTMARE. But thank you so much Ana for your kind words, you're just as beautiful!

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  6. So sorry to hear you were bullied for being mixed race. You are simply stunning. Jo x

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    1. Thanks Jo, it's a shame it happens to many people of different ethnicities x

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  7. Totally off topic, but I love that natural shot of you with hardly any makeup. So pretty! It's disgusting the way that you were treated. I'm mixed race too and it can be difficult some times.

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    1. Aw thank you so much Jemma, I appreciate that so much. It can be, I don't think others realise how difficult it can be.

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  8. You are so beautiful, and I cannot believe the mistreatment you've had - some people are just so awful! I also had no idea that that was True about Sleek Cosmetics - what a shame

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

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    1. Aw, thank you Steph. Some are, I'm glad I've encountered more nice people than nasty, that's a blessing but it happens especially to others more than me just because they're of a darker complexion. I know, brands can be like that, I found it all online and even a detailed email written explaining the reasons behind the rebrand.

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  9. I always view every single person with the same open heart and mind. I am sorry you had such a bad experience you are beautiful xx

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    1. That's how it should be. It's unfortunate how people are viewed by exterior. Thank you Kathryn xo

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  10. Can't believe the way you've been treated, can't believe it x

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    1. It's unfortunate and best believe others have had it worse though. Although it's unfortunate that we do have to go through this x

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  11. I'm discussed at the way you were treated and think you are stunning. I've always thought it was Kylie Jenner in your avatar!!

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    1. Thank you. Nope, no Kylie Jenner here. All me & natural :)

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  12. It saddens me that you (and anyone else) was subject to bullying because of the way that they look. I always think that I'm not as pretty as beauty subjects us to feel but I think we all feel like this sometimes x

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    1. It's immature and ignorant. I do feel we all can be and even the women in those images because most times their 'imperfections' are photoshopped. x

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  13. It's awful that people can be so mean. I think you look great. I see a slight resemblance to Rihanna in that 2007 photo.

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    1. Thank you Melanie, compliment taken and warm hearted lol. People really can be, it's very unfortunate and the fact it's still going on for another generation.

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  14. I cannot believe that in this day and age people are still so discriminatory and make such hurtful comments. It seriously shocks me to hear what you went through in Paris! Such a powerful and important post, and written beautifully. And, by the way, you are increidbly gorgeous! xx

    Ashton
    ashtonjade.co.uk

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    1. Very much still - I don't think it's getting better but thankfully there is more awareness and media figures expressing about the issue. Thank you so much Ashton, I really appreciate your words xo

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  15. Can I just say that you are so beautiful! My husband is mixed and he too has suffered with people calling him names like 'half breed' not knowing where he stands in a carribbean barbers and not fitting into school being bullied. Things like that effect his life every day and I was oblivious to the fact since to me its only skin colour. Colour, ethnicity, heritage is what makes us all different, unique and beautiful I don't understand racism at all! I hate that people are so disgusting as to taunt and make fun of the way a person looks its fucking horrendous. I'm sorry people have made you feel that way and that you have to constantly live with it. I'm super happy to hear that sleeks makeup range is specifically for other ethnicities I love that! I think makeup for all skin tones is on the rise so its positive, looks like the world is finally going somewhere!
    xox

    www.mylifeinrosetintedgasses.com

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    1. Francesca, thank you for sharing this. It's sad to hear about your husband. People don't realise that unfortunately when mixed it can be hard because others look at you as you don't belong either way. Our differences shouldn't be used against us but should be embraced and respected. MakeUp for other skin tones is on the rise and the UK needs to embrace that and give things a try instead of sticking with what always sells because it's excluding so many women of colour but if we keep pushing and speaking on the subjects - brands need to take note xo

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  16. I've always felt I don't live up to beauty standards. But as I'm getting older I'm starting to feel a little more confident in my skin but it's taken a long time to get to this stage x

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    1. That's such a good thing, I think for a lot of us it'll take time cos it's learning to appreciate ourselves. xo

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  17. being chinese, i get so much racism. it's lessened as i grew up but i still get the odd one here and there. not fitting into the beauty standard here does make me feel insecure but ive learnt to ignore this beauty standard now

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    1. That's so sad to hear Nicol - I'm sorry. Yes that's the best way to be because the beauty standard can break a lot of women down.

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  18. It is a shame in this day and age a slight difference between people be it eye, skin or hair colour can be used as a target x

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    1. Yes it's been going on for so long though, that a lot of people still feel it's okay and a great way to live life x

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  19. I hate that racism still exists and that some feel as though they dont live up to a beauty standard xxx

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    1. Me too. It's ignorant and hateful. I feel a lot feel that way because they try pigeon hole beauty to look one way xo

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  20. It is sad that racism still exists in 2016. You arr a beautiful woman and I say that because it's true.

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    1. Very much so, it's not getting any better neither but it's becoming a lot more expressed. Aw, thank you Stella - I appreciate that beautiful.

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  21. It's so sad to hear of cases when people don't treat others how they would like to be treated!
    http://lilinhaangel.com/

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    1. Very much so. It scares me if I have children what they may have to face.

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  22. Such a powerful post. It just amazes me that the kind of treatment you experienced in Paris is still a regular occurrence.

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    1. Thank you Emily. I know, it just doesn't stop to be frank, people have become more accepted in certain places but the prejudices still occur.

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