Brown Girl Beauty Myth: "Black Don't Crack"


brown girl beauty myth

"Black Don't Crack" by Dre Brown

I don't remember the exact day I stopped believing in Santa Claus. I'm sure it was sometime in the '80s, but the year escapes me. What I do recall, however, is knowing that Christmas that no husky man in a red suit was going to come creeping into my house. Suddenly, I was well aware that my highly-anticipated Operation game would make its way under the tree by way of my parents' discreet placement.

The funny thing is, the debunking of that myth (that had so long been engrained in my mind) didn't take the joy out of my favorite holiday. It actually made me appreciate the real source of my gifts so much more!

Myth-busting can indeed be freeing in a lot of ways, whether it's putting to rest the mysteries of a jolly bearded North Pole dweller, or breaking through some of the stereotypes and cliches that shape the views we share of our own beauty.

Right up there on the list with Santa, leprechauns and pain-free stiletto heels are a few myths about African-American beauty I've long sought to debunk. So I sought the counsel of brown girl "beauty whisperer" and celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine to help me explore potential rationales for these myths, while providing some trusty myth-busting beauty tips and tools you can try on your own.

First up: "Black Don't Crack." If you haven't heard this rhythmic phrase before, then the rock you dwell under must be quite cozy. It's definitely one of the oldest in the book. Many sistas have long subscribed to the belief that by nature our skin is virtually age-proof. Fact, fiction, or perhaps a little of both?

At the thought of this notion, I recall witnessing the resilience of my nearly 90 year-old grandmother's skin when I was growing up. She barely had a beauty regime and managed to stay pretty much wrinkle-free well into her golden years (and that's without a drop of sunscreen). Go figure?

Without breaking out beakers and test tubes, Sam and I examined some generally understood considerations that might lead sistas to stand by this mantra. With an abundance of natural oils and greater levels of sun-protective melanin, African-American Beauties may have a bit of natural edge when fighting the aging affects of sun exposure. But SPF is still essential in ensuring this natural defense isn't depleted. "Women of color are starting to understand that SPF can stave off sun damage," Sam shares.

For many sistas today, developing a protective skincare routine is much like trailblazing.  "Culturally, we don't have a history of products that would teach us to invest in care of our skin," Sam adds. Luckily, recent cosmetic and skincare innovations by brands targeting women of color now offer multiple options for optimizing skin and preserving its natural resilience.

Whether "black don't crack" represents a universal truth or not, we sistas can now arm ourselves with tools our mothers and grandmothers didn't have. So, godspeed brown beauties—begin your own beauty myth-busting journey by investing in preservation and protection, so healthy skin won't have to be a myth for you!

Dre's "Black Don't Crack" myth-busting must haves

1 Carol's Daughter Face Butter

Created with women of color in mind, this ultra-emollient facial moisturizer boasts the anti-aging benefits of fennel oil.

2 MD Formulations Moisture Defense Antioxidant Eye Creme

The eye area can be the first to show signs of "cracking". This trusty cream fights fine lines by keeping the delicate skin supple and smooth with much-needed moisture.

3 Ambi Even & Clear Exfoliating Wash

This gentle cleanser contains microbeads that smooth skin and brightening soy and vitamin C to balance tone and give you a youthful glow.

Driven to infuse each encounter with joy-inducing laughter, Dre Brown seeks to offer those she reaches both something for the eye and for the soul. Based out of New York City, Dre splits her time between makeup artistry, hair styling, strategic marketing, writing and entrepreneurship. Follow her exploits on her blog: a Dre in The Life and her Beautylish series "Confessions of a Nouveau Natural Woman"

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