#NoBareLips30 Lipstick Challenge: A Call To Black Women To Define Their Own Beauty

April 17, 2014  |  

On the heels of the sudden and tragic passing of natural hair and social entrepreneur, Karyn White, who began The #DarkSkinRedLip Project, another black women’s empowerment movement is gaining momentum to keep her message going. #NoBareLips30, started last year by blogger Keiko Kaveri, started out as just a personal challenge to prove that lipstick could be worn everyday without purchasing anything new.

After posting the simple rules to the challenge on Instagram, Keiko was surprised to see that almost 1,000 photos with the hashtag #NoBareLips30 had been posted in solidarity.

“The biggest blessing of #NoBareLips30 was seeing so much self-love and self-acceptance,” Kaveri wrote on her blog about the overwhelming success of the campaign.

After A$AP Rocky’s outlandish remarks about black women wearing red lipstick last year and even black women coming for other black women who choose to wear various bright shades of lip color, I began to question my own views of wearing lipstick. I was convinced for years that I looked like a clown or a crime scene in red lipstick and that maybe, as a a black woman, those shades just weren’t for me. However, after a conversation with Keiko about #NoBareLips and its success last year, I decided to begin purchasing simple drugstore brands and looking for shades that complimented my skin tone. The initial discomfort I felt quickly faded after I posted a few photos and received such great feedback from other women of color. My confidence in wearing lip color has grown and so has my stash of lipsticks!

With seemingly everyone policing the bodies of black women so closely and viciously, it is easy to want to give up on defining our own beauty standards. There is always an article, a rap lyric, or a debate about how we should look. If we choose to apply makeup, others expect a reason other than us wanting to look good and feel good for ourselves. We hear ” some black women shouldn’t wear this,” “some black women look crazy wearing that,” all the time. Those baseless and oppressive critiques were the exact reason why Keiko thought up #NoBareLips30:

“I wanted to do something fun as winter was approaching. I wanted to prove that it is possible to wear various shades of pink, red, purple, brown, and orange as a brown lady. I wanted to throw on my lipstick and snap selfies without having to answer to the inquiries of who I was looking good for.”

With the rise of social media, criticism has risen, undoubtedly. However, social media has presented itself as a tool of empowerment and solidarity for many who probably never would have connected without it – especially women of color.

If you use social media and would like to participate in the Spring 2014 edition of #NoBareLips30 here are some of the details:

  1. #NoBareLips starts on April 28, 2014 and ends on May 27.
  2. There will be a calendar and you will need a red, a pink, a brown, a nude, and a bunch of fun shades!
  3. You don’t have to post every day.
  4. Use the hashtag: #NoBareLips30 and please unlock your accounts for the thirty days (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook are the most popular social networks for this challenge).
  5. Have fun!

For those who missed the first #NoBareLips30 T-shirt campaign, never fear! Ms. Kaveri may be releasing another line soon. Be sure to check her site for updates and for testimonials about the first round of the #NoBareLips30 challenge.

La Truly is a writer, college professor and young women’s empowerment enthusiast. She mixes her interest in social and cultural issues with her life experiences  to encourage thought, discussion and positive change among young Women of Color. Follow her on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly and check out her site: http://www.hersoulinc.com.


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