Friday, February 4, 2011

My 234Next Article: What EXACTLY is your Colour?

Lead ImageI am a retail pharmacist and I have been for four years. That means that I get to see tens of clients everyday who want to receive medication for simple and sometimes not so simple ailments. 

I attend daily to the traffic induced headaches, children with runny noses and the never ending cough, men with requests for  instant libido enhancers. I enjoy my job. My clients serve as pleasant diversions to an otherwise tedious profession. Which is why I am tired of entertaining requests for creams that help maintain ‘my colour’.

What exactly is your colour? I once worked with a colleague who blurted out the not too discerning question to an elite client once. On being asked by this Remy hair wearing, bejewelled, Jimmy Choo bag carrying lady of fourty something years for a cream to help maintain her colour, my colleague did a quick once over of the lady and spotting the greenish yellow patch on her feet, the charcoal black spots on her knuckles and the Miranda orange peeking out from the mask of very fair MAC powder on her face and  just had to ask, “Which one, Ma?” Thankfully, the boss was not in earshot and the client had the grace to grin; batting her eyelids coquettishly.

What is it that you want? A total transformation from a Jonathan Goodluck shade to a Pat Utomi hue? I shudder to think! Although I’ve seen  a few people who have embarked on that journey and are now spending the remainder of their lives trying to avoid being found out through suspicious looking  potions that are surreptitiously transferred from Jimmy Choo bag to Blvgari bag and stern instructions to “carry am go fridge sharp sharp!”

We were born into this world with different melanin quotas;  God held back with the dose for some  but was overly  generous for the others. Now, why do you think that the fair colour is a better option for you? I‘ve heard a few answers to that question. The first being that men find fair ladies more attractive and that among a sea of suspects, detectives are more likely to believe a fair person. Now, now, let’s look at this critically. So you think your skin colour is your most marketable asset (not that I think we should market anything) that it has to be completely changed.  That  you have nothing else to bring to the table that the guy is just supposed to look at your splash of colours and think that this is the woman for me?   In the case of being a suspect;  now that’s a laugh,  are you planning to be bomb anywhere? If you aren’t , why should it matter if you’re fair or dark?

We’ve heard it countless times;  hydroquinone and all such mercury containing compounds increase the risk of skin cancer. Ok, something must kill someone, but isn’t it a bit unfair for people to lose you to skin cancer brought on by the use of unsafe products?  You haven’t heard that before? You want to be first?

Ok, ok, I’m being a bit too hard, but the thing pains me. Beautiful ladies with skin the colour that God gave them reducing themselves to objects of ridicule; their lives spent pursuing after the latest potions someone has cooked up, and I even heard those things are not cheap. There is a way out though, assuming you think like me that is. I am dark skinned, as in I use MAC NW50. Now that is dark I hear you say. Wetin person fit do?

When I am stressed out, I  do feel sometimes that my colour is a bit dull and  looks very ashy and pale. But I don’t try to become yellow;  I simply use  exfoliating scrubs and  face creams with alpha and beta hydroxyl  acids which are anti oxidants that keep your skin healthy. Vitamin C, lemon, oatmeal, granulated sugar are all homemade remedies that could be used to brighten the face. I also use sunscreens with an SPF of over 30 containing soy complex and natural light diffusers. What this does is brighten and cause light to reflect off my face, giving me a healthy, luminous  glow.  But when I tell clients that you don’t need any cream, that all you need is to slough off those dead skin cells to reveal your brightened hue, they just look at me like I’m crazy and go, eh, “let me first get my colour back!”

To talk more about the health hazards of these potions may be overly dramatic, but I know what I have seen in the way of a cream job gone bad; it’s a sorry sight and more often than not there’s no going back. You are beautiful just as you are,  abeg!  You no see Naomi Campbell?

This article was published on 234Next on the 29th of January in their Elan section. Photo credits : 234Next


  1. I have added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit my blog and become a follower also.

  2. When i found out that my little cousin was using cream that had hydroquinone, i was not happy at all. I explained to her why it was not good and asked her to stop but she refused. Not only was the cream not good for her, it left an awful odour which everyone in the house complained about. So we had to throw it away...

  3. Haha,so this is where you've been hiding that fiesty pen!
    This is quite learning,must say.

  4. @Steve ...Thank you for the invitation..I have followed your blog.. Awesome blog...God bless...

    @Con...Ok, Thanks, I would follow too..

  5. @Rita... You did the right thing... she doesn't need those'll do more harm than good... If you don't mind I can help her with some natural things to even out the tone and prevent redarkening...

    @T. Notes... I've been hiding? I thought I was all over the place! :)
    Thanks for stopping by... Cheers..

  6. I laughed @ 'which one?'

    Fair skins are seen to be beautiful by both men & employers, that is why SOME people bleach..but i don't know why men bleach!Please any time you go to any of the new generational banks, check out the gals; ALL FAIR, TALL/PETITE & PRETTY! i had to ask someone if they were chosen becox of their beauty or brain? Embassies nko?

    I use pears products only! That an extended family rebuked me that; i want to spoil my kids skins by using jelly, that i should buy 'better' cream since they are a bit fair like their dad. I bone am & still continued with my lotions & jelly shikenna!

    No matter how a person bleaches...their yansh would still be dark!...shikenna!

  7. LOL @Ibhade...

    Well, the truth is that generally girls with lighter skin get moreattention.

    I dont know if its self-hate or a legacy of western influences but we (Naijas in general)have deep-rooted love for 'yellow' complexion.

    Will it change anytime soon? Doubt it.

  8. @Ibhade N.G, the matter is very serious..I see those people everywhere oh..looking like .....I don't even know what to say..but God dey sha...

    As for your babies, please 'better' cream sounds suspicious.. We need good moisturizers that's all to take away that ashy look.. All the extra is just well, you have plenty money...

    The 'yansh' situation is..well...just God's way of're really not that wise!! :)

  9. @@Naijamum, don't mind people oh...

    The deep rooted love for the yellow color can be attributed to the fact that we are used to associating the oyinbo color with affluence, sophistication etc.. but is it not evident by now that if you're NOT tush, you're just not, if you're not smart, you're just NOT, if you're NOT rich, you're just if folks haven't gotten that by now..then only God can help!

  10. I like this!!In India creams that gurantee to make you "Fair and lovely" are sold by the tonnes..! I dont know how this came about - probably a colonial legacy that we have been unable to shake- I have read ancient Indian classics and all the beautys there have been described as dusky, dark etc etc. But frankly, give me dark skin anyday- the glow that it carries far outweighs the blotches on a white skin!

  11. @meerasrajan...really?? So, this is an African issue?? Amazing!!I know right, about dark skin...truth is any colour is good as long as it's yours!!

  12. Hehehehe...I like that your colleague jo!
    Good question.

    I guess aside from altering colours and stuff (which I think is lame) one just needs to be informed of health risks of products and all.

    Nice, Berry!

  13. @RemiRoy..Yes oh, my colleaugue is quiet but she sometimes just SHOWS herself!

  14. Nice one berry
    Very funny!!! I particularly liked the line "A total transformation from a Jonathan Goodluck shade to a Pat Utomi hue?"
    We all need to be told that we are BEAUTIFUL/HANDSOME just the way we are irrespective of colour....
    Thanks for sharing
    Am your new follower and also a rookie blogger

  15. Lmao...Ibhade is just a nut-case.

    I have ranted about this bleaching thin and I've run out of words...don't know how true this is but heard of a woman who died on a theater table cos her skin had been so badly messed up by bleaching products...its a sad thing really

  16. @meerasrajan..I meant ; so this is not only an African issue??

    @Omoba- Thank you for following.. I'll follow right back..U love that line eh?? I wanted to bring it home :) since these are faces we see everywhere as elections draw near!

    @jhazymn...U too dey shout?! I tire oh! It is possible that someone can die; very possible if I may add.. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  17. After all the wahala, they end up with 'colour riot' yet they wont learn.. KMT

  18. Don't mind them..P.E.T. Projects.. :)


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