Let’s Put an End to Nose Contouring – For Good.

April 3, 2012 ‐ By Charing Ball

Brandy in YRB Magazine - Source: http://freshlikedougie.com

Brandy’s got a new look ya’ll.

Yes, “The Boy is Mine” singer, best known for Moe-to-the-E-to-the…has ditched the long weaves and her signature temple-pulling braids and has returned to sporting a more mature look, complete with a cute little pixie cut for her YRB Magazine shoot. Oh yeah, and she just so happens to be like five shades lighter – at least in a couple of the pictures. Seriously, a couple of the pictures have completely washed out her lovely skin, making her about the same complexion as Beyoncé – after Destiny’s Child of course.

I don’t know if it is intentional or if it is a matter of poor lighting. I’d like to think it is the latter considering we see this sort of improper exposure use to photograph dark skin in so many photo shoots. Fairly recently, Beyoncé found herself again at the center of a skin- lighting scandal when promotional pictures were released of her with a markedly lighter and pale complexion in her face and upper body. That too, had been attributed to the lighting used in the studio. Maybe. Without definite proof, it is all speculation. However, I cannot recall an instant where black celebrity men had the same lighting issue. In their instance, they usually show up on the cover of magazines true to color – if not darker (hey O.J.).  Things that make you go hmm…

Lighting aside, there is something more bothersome about Brandy’s pictorial. No, not another conspiracy, but this is actually intentional and obvious. In short, it’s the nose. I know it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Brandy on the scene, but I’m pretty sure that is not the nose she was born with.  In fact, that nose doesn’t even look natural, very Latoya Jackson-esque. Did she get a nose job? Is it the lighting again? Nope, that’s the old makeup trick of contouring and shading.

MadameNoire Video

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  • fakehair

    Here we go again! Look, I get so irritated with the skin lightening police among black women. I mean Beyonce is naturally light skin, so why question her lighting? I was born rather light much like Beyomce and if I were a celebrity listening to these jealous, hating black women who write articles like this I’d check their asses!! Beyonce does not lighten her skin at all. This is just a sad article coming from yet another jealous black woman, you don’t hear white women going around policing whether or not another white woman got her nose done, or is wearing a hair weave! This has become common place to sit there and criticize each other for our appearances instead of for our brilliance, just how suoerficial have most black women become? . It is ridiculously retarded not to mention strange to accuse an already very light skin black woman like Beyonce of bleaching her skin! The author of this article acts like Beyonce was a chocolate color, when she never was! She was always very light, very close to Lena HORNE SKIN TONE!
    And wait a minute! A “mature” look? Lol i don’t get that either? This is a silly article and I feel embarraseed readiing this garbage, it’s like nstead of talking about Brandy’s new music stupid self rightous black (probably darker skinned broader nosed) women like this wtite about Brandy’s appearance!

  • Jbug

    This article is weird because I am a girl of 100% African descent and I have a thin nose and medium sized lips. If you were to travel through sub-Saharan Africa you would see that the people have big noses, small noses, full lips, small lips, wavy hair, kinky hair, and many have narrow Asiatic-looking eyes! We as black people are very diverse looking, white people do not have a monopoly on thin noses! I DO think that we need to embrace wider, flatter noses, but a lot of people make it seem like black people with thin noses are mixed and that is not true. We as Africans have many different looks and we should embrace all of them.

  • People always want something that they don’t have. It’s not necessarily a race issue, though those pictures tell a different story. People with straight hair buy moose and curling irons for curly hair and people with curls or kinks buy the perms and the flat irons. The grass is always greener, and it isn’t necessarily a race thing. White women get injections in their cheeks so they could have prominent features like black people. And they get injections to get fuller lips. It’s not necessarily an insecurity issue. It’s just something that you want because it’s not handed to you.

  • Yeah… i noticed that her skin was 2X lighter than her usual look but thats not the point of my comment. the point is: her hair is CUTE!!!!

  • Guest

    Best I’ve seen Brandy look ever! Where are her eyebrows?

  • Just saying!

    I researched a good number of my favorite black celebrities and found that an overwhelming majority of them have had nose jobs. Look at Oprah, Halle Berry, Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Tyra Banks, Kimora Lee Simmons, the list goes on and on and on!! People say “don’t judge people” and BLAH BLAH but I think this goes MUCH deeper than that. The question isn’t “Is it okay for them to change their noses” because I think that’s dumb–not our decision. The real question is, “WHY do they feel the need to change their nose?” What messages are being sent to them by the media and the business that convince them that their black physique is unsatisfactory for superstardom? 

    • lady g

      Sorry but I’d say 75% of famous women have had nose regardless of ethnicity. Angeline Jolie, Jennifer Anniston, the list is endless and not just black women. I resent the fact that women have to alter their apperances while the men can do whatever they like.

    • Netdandri

      Hmm, I’m pretty sure Oprah, Mariah, and Kimora don’t have nose jobs. In fact the only one I’m sure has had one is Halle. Don’t believe every rumor you hear.

  • Courtneyhilton32

    i just miss moesha

  • Mrsadkiah

    It seems that people want to brush this off as a “people can do whatever they want with their bodies” thing. I’m not saying that they can’t, neither is the author of this article. 
    I saw a comment that said “I contour b/c it looks better”…what does contouring do? Make our noses look like a White persons nose. So think about what it means to say contouring makes your nose look better: you’re saying that White noses look better than Black noses. There is no way around that. I’d be fine if people simply admitted that. If you want your nose to be more narrow and look like a White persons nose, admit that. I’m not saying that I’m not gonna look at you sideways but who cares! Most of you were going off about Lil Kim for getting her nose done, making it look more White. You think that you or any other women who contour are better than she is simply b/c you only temporarily make your nose look more like that of White persons? No. Like I said people do what you do but don’t get all defensive when someone points out the truths behind certain actions. 

    • Netdandri

      Contouring your nose does not make it look like a white person’s. It only makes your bridge appear straighter. It doesn’t make your nostrils thinner. Some people might associate a straight bridge with white features because it is more common for whites to have than blacks. But there are some blacks with straight bridges and whites without. Anyway, it’s a far cry from Lil Kim’s all the way european nose.

      • Mrsadkiah

        There are also some Whites with a little bit larger nostrils like our Black noses and? Still a narrow bridge is a European feature, which means that anyone conturing is attempting to make their nose look more European. Like I said I have no problem with it I just wish people would stop beating around the bush about what it really is. And yes it’s far cry from Lil Kim but like I said I don’t think that she’s any worse for making her nose permanently European than a person who washes off their European nose when they take off their make up at night. It’s all the same thing. To each his own though.

      • fakehair

        Lol little Kim’s nose looks like an anime cartoon character in one of those Japanese cartoons. She looks more like an alien lol

    • Jbug

      Its not just white people with thin noses. There are full blooded black people with thin noses and long hair too.

  • Shoot. I love my button nose. No contouring for me, thanks!. =)

  • Guest


  • Netdandri

    Why can’t you give a nice article of Brandy’s new look?  She looks amazing.  I have heard complaints about the skin tone in the pictures, though. That is pretty annoying, becuase if the lighting was off, they could’ve still went to photoshop and tried to add some melanin back to her skin.  But I didn’t even notice anything different about her nose.  It may be contouring.

    But I’ve seen plenty of pics her in appearances recently where her nose and skin are the same as they’ve always been, so to people asking if she’s done something to herself, no she hasn’t.

  • well damn, I actually thought the pictures looked really cool. It’s not like nobody knows what color she is. there are plenty of other things you could have written about

  • Shay

    Really, you have nothing better to write about?  First it’s Beyonce’, now Brandy.  Let’s just be for real.  I doubt either one of them went into the studio and told the photographer to make them look lighter.  It all has to do with the lighting and retouching.  We are so worried about everyone else tearing down black women, when we’re doing it ourselves.

  • Nefijones1

    Brandy looks very pretty in these photos. 

    The photos are very likely retouched – just like every other celebrety.  A makeup artist very likely contoured her face – and not just her nose.  These are not a new practices in the photography world.  It is a very artistic and fashionable look.

    This article should have focused on how good she looks as she makes a comeback.  WE should strongly support her  – and not start of picking her (or anybody) apart!

  • Drea

    I feel this is the equivalent to white women, etc., getting botox shots for fuller lips. All women, not just black, take measures to make themselves feel confident in their appearance.

  • Guest1234

    LMAO!!! Brandy outta be ashamed.  That was NOT poor lighting.  That ish was deliberate to make her skin look light – and we ALL know it.  Girl, please!  We already know you dark-skinned.  I can never understand why celebs do this kind of stuff.  We’re not suddenly going to think you’re white.  At most, her AND Beyonce look like they have some serious mental issues going on upstairs.  Making your skin look white is a deranged activity.  And it’s kinda sad.

    I would think that even if I DID dislike my dark skin, I’d be too proud to put my insecurities on display in a magazine like that.  These celebs are cray cray!  Thanks for the laugh, though. 

    • NetDandri

      Are they taking pictures of themselves?

  • Wow, I think this picture was taken WAY too seriously. The lighting is being used artistically (I doubt Brandy or the photographer is seriously trying to give the illusion that she has lighter skin) and while I don’t contour or like the look of contouring, it is a style makeup artists use and it’s being done here, so what?

    • Rwgsecy

      I agree…this pic is being disected,even if she did have her nose done it was her money that paid for it..These days with technology and medical advancement you can do anything you want if you are not satisfied with your body. And as far as black white dating its a matter of personal preferance not who s
      society says we should date. Learn to feel secure within yourself, that’s all that matters.

  • I doubt she’s doing any kind of skin lightening, it’s really just the lighting done by the photographer. As for her nose, I don’t really have a problem with it. I for one, am a fan of contouring of all kinds. It gives you the opportunity to change yourself without the finality of plastic surgery.  And a thinner nose doesn’t always equal European. I’ve seen plenty of black people with small thin noses. 

    • fakehair

      I agree! There are African Americans with thinner noses anyway. Not to mention some people mistake proportion for having a nosethst looks white! This is not tru. Many black oeople have a proportioned nose rather than a “white nose” proportion is about balance, not all Europeans have balance to their faces at either and thus contour their nose as well. I have seen very so-called African shaped noses, which appears small and propotioned without lokking point or European looking, a good example would be Gabrielle Union. Her nose is flat, and the shaping is no where near European, yet her nose looks proportioned. Thandie Newton is another great example of a proportioned typical African American nose.

  • Cha Cha

    I also wish black folks would celebrate their looks, instead of trying to look like someone else, but whateva… it’s their body, so they can do what they want with it… with that said, I think Brandy looks awesome in these pics… I absolutely LOVE the short hair on her.

  • she kind of look like michael jackson

  • Cchigbu23

    I am honestly beginning to think that you guys are reaching. Photography and the art of the magazine spread calls for so many different types of lighting and editing techiniques. What one artist will do another won’t. I think you need to start calling out the photographers and editors. 

  • Candacey Doris

    I hope she hasn’t really lightened her skin. She’s so beautiful, it would just look weird to me. As for the contouring, whatever. Not my thing. But if that’s what she wants….

  • Airing this out

    I’ll stop this right here. As a photographer and retoucher, I will share that the lightened skin, and extra defined nose, is the work of the retoucher, and one that’s leaning on the amateur side at that. 

    Long story short, the lighter you make one’s skin (in this editing program that was used), the smoother the complexion appears to look. Sometimes, the tools used to smooth out the skin have a lightening effect. If the retoucher is experienced, then they know how to attain smoother looking skin and an even complexion on a model without sacrificing their skin tone.
    The MUA’s work is almost none existent in this photo. If the MUA contoured we would not be able to tell because the retoucher over-exposed his/her work into oblivion and that would piss me off as a MUA. So let’s place the blame where it belongs, on the retoucher, who lightened the images and bumped up the clarity instead of taking their time to do justice to Brandy and the other artists that they worked together with on this project. Concerning makeup otherwise, public figures have to wear a bit more than normal, because flash light’s things up in a spectacular way that renders an everyday makeup look as having none at all. I’ve seen some good contouring and I’ve seen some atrocities. If you’re looking at a photo and see that “lighter line of makeup” straight down the person’s nose, then their MUA missed the class on blending.Applying makeup is an art, so is photography and retouching. Having people doing the jobs of artists without the proper experience, because they have connections is a spit in the face of real artist who have taken the time to perfect their crafts. So let’s talk  about that. Let’s put an end to nose contouring for good by those who look at YouTube videos and consider themselves MUA’s. ((steps off soapbox))

    • fakehair

      I was a professional retoucher too, so I know this is true. Many Blacjpk people don’t understand the techniques. Like I was saying before Beyonce never lightened her skin…again ut’s all getting ridiculous policing the skin of black people is just as bad as all the accusations spewed in bad taste!

  • Elise

    “light skin, yella bone” blah, blah, blah is what all these rappers talk about nowadays to the point where it seems like most black men would prefer the lighter-skinned black females. i actually had an ex-boyfriend who always talked about how he liked light-skinned girls so much better, even though i’m pretty brown skinned. but that’s besides the point…

    nose contouring is pretty silly to me because at the end of the day, it washes off and you’ll still have your regular nose, so what’s the point of hiding it half of the time? embrace your nose girl!

    • LadyBee1959

      we need to stop perpetuating the notion that light skinned is “better” in any way…get rid of that old slavery mentality…don’t teach our kids that crap anymore

      • Smacks_hoes

        Lol you can’t change people’s opinion. To some lighter skinned is better to some darker skin is better…its just a person perceptions which is something you can’t change

      • Davan Ward

        I had to get on my son about this.  Now before he started listening to rap, his ideal girl was the little girl from Akeela an the Bee (?). Next thing I know he’s popping off at the mouth about light skin chicks. Say what? So he get’s his first girl friend this year, and he’s like

        “Mom, I have a girlfriend.”

        So I ask

        “What is this girl like?”

        His reply? She’s light. WTH does that mean? My husband and I both just stared at one another. Is being light supposed to be some instant qualifier for being girlfriend material now? What happened to personality and good character and all that stuff. Of course, my husband and I probed the hell out of him over this. Being color struck is a no no in our house. I have never been dissed or hurt by colorism in the black community but I have seen the affects on  other girls/women and there is no way I am letting my son become the kind of person I wouldn’t even keep company with. When it comes to that light skin nonsense my son understands it’s not tolerated in our house hold and this is coming from a brown skinned chick with a light skinned husband.

    • It Aint Easy Being Me

      Well I AM “light skin, yella bone” and it disgusts me; how many men overly emphasize this being such a major factor in their attraction to me—almost as much as it saddens me; how many women openly resent me for something I was born with. It’s just sad how caught up we are in such a shallow detail of our existence as a whole. I embrace the day we focus on more substantial topics!

  •  A little and a little, collected together, become a
    great deal; the heap in the barn consists of single grains, and drop
    and drop makes an inundation.

    • Mls2698

      And a big nose is a big nose.

  • Asap

    She skin tone does look really light compared to the way I’m used to seeing her.

    • Asap


  • Kena1908

    yes! yes! yes!   I was a model and I hated when it was done to me! 

  • Tcleckley

    Brandy does look good in her pictures…I didn’t even notice the nose…I will be so glad when African American women start celebrating their own looks. Hell, we have to know we are hot. Other nationalities pay for injections to have full lips like ours. White women are paying to have big butts like ours. We are so beautiful…I just wish WE would recognize it. The color issue is so sad…I truly believe that the media continues to create this madness by always putting lighter skin girls in videos. When all you see is light, bright, straight nose, long straight that is what people are going to desire. Images are very important.  

  • NikkitaMichelle

    My only issue is that the lighting is so bright that she looks pale.  I think Brandy has a beautiful complexion.

    •  That’s what I’m thinking. It makes her look just a tad sickly.

  • Cma141047

    I really hope she hasn’t done anything permanent with her look, like skin lightening. She was gorgeous before. And anyways, it seems to me that more and more African American people are trying to drop their African features and rock the (White) American look instead. Pity, because black people are so naturally beautiful

    • really???

      “Pity, because black people are so naturally beautiful”

      tell that to black men.

      • Smacks_hoes

        Lol true story…

      • LadyBee1959

        especially to black men with money or fame

        • TheVoiceOfReason

          So black men can’t date women who aren’t black because it makes black women feel like they aren’t naturally beautiful? Or are you mad cause black men start making money and THEN start dating women aren’t black. Either way what’s the beef? To each his own I say.

    • LaLaLaMeansILoveYou


      Although I seem to be in the minority here, I actually agree with the
      writer of the article. The very first thing I thought when I saw these
      pics is, “that is NOT Brandy’s nose”. It really does seem to be getting
      out of hand with black celebs “softening” their natural features to be
      more acceptable in Hollywood. From Halle Berry, to Kelly Rowland, to LL
      Cool J, to Patti Labelle…it’s really sad. I wonder what some of our
      civil rights marching brothers and sisters are thinking when they see
      the lengths some of us are going to in order to fit in to that standard
      of beauty. The waist length silky weaves, the nose alterations, the skin
      bleaching…wasn’t the whole afro movement in the late
      sixties/seventies about celebrating black beauty in all of its natural

      And don’t even get me started on the skin lightening. I agree that while
      some of it is in fact studio lighting…there are a LOT of black celebs
      permanently lightening their skin…she may be only one of many but
      even though I have always LOVED Diana Ross, after reading the piece
      about her doing it (and going back myself and noticing the HUGE
      difference between Diana in the 60’s and Diana now), I was TOO through.

      To each his or her own? Totally. But as the writer pointed out how many
      white/ non black celebs do you see altering themselves to look more like
      us? And don’t start with the tanning issue because we all know they
      only want a “golden” touch to their own complexion, the LAST thing they
      would want is to actually look like an african american.

      • Rachael

        Hmm so you have opinions on skin lightening and nose contouring? Aren’t you the same goofy chica in the other thread mad at me because I joked about multi-color weaves. What happened to NOT trying to control other people? If you want to be hypocritical you could at least do that ish under a different screen name. LOL

        • LaLaLaMeansILoveYou

           Hmm stalk much? But I’m goofy right? lol get a life…unlike yourself I’m not a troll who hides behind different screen names. I say what I want and if you don’t like it then…well i really don’t care if you don’t like it 🙂 smooches!

  • Smacks_hoes

    It annoys me that people feel te need to always judge what other people want to do with their bodies. I mean who is it hurting. FYI caucasian people contour their nose as well. I have a pretty small slim nose for an African American woman and I still contour. Not an obvious or drastic contour or just a little. Why you may ask? Because I feel it looks better. I mean it is my face not yours. I can do what I want with it. Jeez…

    • ImJustSayn

      I agree with you Smacks_Hoes (LOL for that name) but I think Brandy looks great and there is nothing wrong with her contouring her nose. Every time black women do things to make them selves look or feel better it becomes a don’t love your self thing. Honestly she hasn’t looked this good in a while hair and all! Love it!!! #TeamContourThatDamnNose