ruby woo: a black girl’s best friend

red lipstick 3“she too dark to  have on that red lipstick.” apparently, asap rocky isn’t the only person who believes black women on the darker side of the melanin spectrum shouldn’t wear bright lipstick.  according to my big sister kdj, she faced this not-so-quiet whisper while boarding the bus, and was quick to couch it among the bevy of criticism and judgmental stares that she receives while wearing her precious ruby woo lipstick. not easily intimidated, kdj was unfazed, but her comments made me think: how many black women shy away from bright colors because we’ve been told that we’re too “dark”?

when i turned 16, my mom took me to the fashion fair counter and purchased my first makeup kit.  the sales associate counseled me to wear warm colors and quickly applied a golden lipgloss that was as thick as molasses.  the message was clear: dark-skinned girls like me shouldn’t venture to the more colorful side of the lip color rainbow.  thank God some of us are challenging the ridiculous notion that skin color should be the only determinant for lip color.

reds, pinks and the current trend of even bolder colors like blue and purple are being worn by sisters as chocolate as sudanese model alek wek (pictured below).  beauty is all about self-expression and confidence; let the naysayers mumble under their breath while we dark-skinned-red lipstick wearers continue to swag the fuck out.  remember that the roots of this “no bright colors” rule comes from the same racist and sexist paradigm that tells us we’re not beautiful.

i’m sending power and love to sisters who boldly eschew the restrictive norms that are associated with being dark skinned.  i see you.

bannerred lip collage



  1. You know it still bothers me that people always have to impose what they think “isn’t right” on others. There are still a ton of us who literally think… “rock that lipstick girl” even if it’s blue. I don’t care it’s like people want to scream how different they are until they see someone else marching to the beat of their own drum. I don’t get it…and I’m not sure If I even want to know why people think like this in 2013. Then again I was a cookout where all the black women where dogging us natural women and sharing stories of their little girls speaking to non-blacks about how their hair is nappy. Like it was so cute…Anyway This is my favorite lipstick still. I feel like I can layer it with stuff, putting on a nice liner works, or wearing it alone.


  2. Love the color and we as dark skinned woman have to embrace ourselves and not look to the world for approval! You are right Shi, it starts during childhood when some little kid makes us believe that we are ugly because we are dark skinned!!! We have to teach our young girls to love themselves regardless of what anybody says or what society tries to tell us is “BEAUTIFUL”! Darkskinned GIRLS RULE….
    We must love the skin we are in and wear it well! I think I am going to try some red….


  3. I’m a huge fan of beautifully bright, vibrant lipsticks on sistas. It’s beyond breathtaking. Love Fola, who you have pictured at the very top, is one of my favorite models/artists and she can never do any wrong with what she wears. Hell, I just ventured into wearing reds and even Diva from MAC recently myself. We definitely need to show our young girls that we are beautiful! Thank you for writing this post!!!


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