Why ‘UK Black Girl Makeup’ is the new face of luxury

Why ‘UK Black Girl Makeup’ is the new face of luxury

There is general agreement across the beauty world lately: Black women in the UK have mastered the “perfect beat” – a specific brand of polished, aspirational makeup that now looks distinctly British – or, as one person enthusiastically described it in twitter, “Black girls in the UK have the best makeup in the game without a doubt!!!!” Defined by a ‘skin-like’ foundation, shimmery under-eyes, glossy lips and false eyelashes, the UK Black Girl makeup aesthetic is gaining traction and acclaim on every corner of the internet. On TikTok, videos tagged with UK Black Girl’s makeup have racked up over 58 million views, and YouTube tutorials by Mela Child, Cee Loux and Beauty By Bemi, offering a step-by-step guide to recreating the look, have gained appeal. International. It’s not uncommon for US black makeup lovers to try UK black girl makeup on themselves (and look distinctly more “bRI-ISH” as a result).

I am a black woman in the UK but this growing reputation for beauty perfection is not something I can personally claim. And yet, as I look around at my glamorous agemates, all in all the splendor of UK Black Girl makeup, it’s a makeup technique I’ve silently wanted to master. Mainly because it’s an image of ‘together’ sophistication that I’ve come to associate with successful black British women. See black UK influencers like Melissa’s Wardrobe and Patricia Bright who are praised for their “perfect beats” and luxurious, aspirational lifestyles to match. These objectively successful women are routinely referenced in relation to popular “black girls in luxury” lifestyle trends, where black women are encouraged to aspire to an abundant, “smooth” lifestyle that may be unattainable. On social media, it seems that if ‘smooth living’ is the attitude, then ‘UK Black Girl makeup’ is the makeup look that goes with it.

However, for famed makeup artist Bernicia Boateng, the UK Black Girl Makeup look was simply born out of a real need for black British women to celebrate themselves and their own unique brand of glamour.
“I think that’s what people see, they see [UK Black Girl makeup] like trust,” says Boateng.

Bernicia Boateng is a celebrated makeup artist who works on the faces of black British stars like Michaela Coel. The London-based MUA was recently part of the main cast of Channel 4 high life, a reality show that charted the lives of successful young black Brits with West African heritage. Boateng is no stranger to the UK Black Girl makeup look and praises it for its understated glamour.

“I would say that our approach to makeup is very unique. Why we’re English and our approach to everything is a little bit cooler, a little bit more discreet,” she explains to Unbothered about the zoom. “My biggest influence on beauty is soft glam, which kind of comes from that era of ’90s R&B music videos and the [Black rom-com] movies that were released back then, where the makeup is subtle, it’s there, but it’s not quite there. And I think we have this perfect medium. I think [Black British women] just really understand that when it comes to beauty, it’s about looking like you’ve changed but still look a lot like yourself.”

While this look is seen as understated and (somewhat) natural, it takes some decent makeup skills to recreate (“I can spend 30 minutes on this look and sometimes two hours,” Boateng claims).” With less of a focus on rough contours and a shift to a natural, near-perfect skin finish, UK Black Girl makeup looks like a close cousin to the “clean girl” makeup trend – an aesthetic that has seen its fair share. of debates recently. Its main opponents claim that the perfect “flawless” finish is limiting.

Likewise, some have criticized the black girl UK makeup trends for imposing yet another unattainable standard of beauty and lifestyle, as a person. tweeted, “There is now a beauty standard for black girls in the UK, if you’re not wearing expensive frontals, clothes and flawless makeup you automatically put it on a stand, TikTok definitely breaks things down…”

While trends like ‘clean girl’ makeup have their issues, for some black women to be able to explore more minimalist beauty looks like UK Black Girl makeup are signs that the beauty industry is evolving and black women are no longer an afterthought. .

“Makeup has definitely evolved for black women,” says Boateng. “There are a lot more products on the market for us as brands like Fenty beauty have really pushed the beauty industry to expand their color ranges to be more inclusive. And all these kinds of changes taking place in the beauty industry have made us feel more accepted and more confident. And now we feel that we are part of the luxury beauty world because we were considered.”

UK Black Girl makeup is certainly a far cry from the fun, colorful and dopamine-inducing beauty trends that are also all the rage right now. However, weren’t blacks once the perfect canvas for bright and colorful beauty looks? As Boateng explains: “If I look back at my work from 2015, there is a big difference in just a seven-year period. Now, I’m less focused on my eye color or putting too much gold glitter all over my face, for example. That’s not the vibe anymore.”

No shine. Noticed. So what sparked this beauty vibe shift?

“Black women have finally realized that we I can Going for a soft glam, there was a point where the only foundation that really suited black girls was maybe MAC’s Studio Fix Foundation, which is a pretty full coverage foundation. So in our minds at that time, there was only one way to look at it, because those are the only foundations that came to our shadow. We’ve never had BB creams that match black skin, so it was really hard for black girls with darker skin to get that easy, cheerful, you know, like ‘I’m going to apply my foundation with my fingers on the train’ look that maybe girls do. whites could do. We couldn’t do that, because there were no products for our skin tone. But now we can. And so we’re embracing it. And we are showing different layers of our beauty.”

During our chat, Boateng recommends Nars Soft Matte Foundation, Fenty beauty Lipstick, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Freeze, Tom Ford Eye Color Quads, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Setting Powder, and Kiko Milano Gloss if you want to give it a whirl. look at the look.

I do. I want in. I want to be a Pat McGrath luxury girl wearing makeup.

By their very nature, many makeup trends born on social media are fleeting, and of course, not every black British woman has to aspire to look like this – please you. But I can’t help but want to get involved with the UK Black Girl makeup trend (at times) because it feels like a Black British luxury attainable within my own means. I have often wondered if a smooth and luxurious life is simply a look or a feeling. Here, it can be a little bit of both.

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