An elegance influencer named Level Blue TikTok recently published a post that did not go down well with some of her followers.
She even prompted a response from makeup and fashion influencer Jackie Aina.
Blue has amassed a following on TikTok as she shares her tips on staying elegant. However, she received backlash by saying that “wearing brown lipstick with gloss on top of it” as well as “lining your lips in a dark lip liner” is a “makeup mistake elegant ladies never make.”
“It looks ridiculous, especially up close in person,” she said in the now-viral TikTok video.
Whether deliberate or inadvertent, her statement and choice of illustrations (she uses only dark-skinned ladies) are an indicator of a wider problem when it comes to lack of inclusivity when defining beauty standards.
Jackie Aina’s Response
Jackie Aina, a renowned Black beauty influencer and FORVR brand co-founder did not shy away from calling Level Blue out.
In a response video published on her TikTok, Jackie notes that Blue is not the right person to critique the trend. “I will explain to you why that particular tip was not received well by people who look like me in the comment section of your video,” she said.
As Jackie explains in her response TikTok video, there is a reason why the “mistakes” Level Blue points out are a thing.
“For dark-skin people, wearing a dark brown lip pencil is literally the only way to get most lip colors to be flattering on our complexion. Like, there is just no way around it.”
She adds “Now there are also levels to it. Obviously, the look can go from more extreme to more subtle, but either way, it is a thing. Most of us are just not one skin color, especially on our faces.”
She even uses herself to put her point across, saying that she has pigmented lips (which is just normal for many brown-skinned women).
“Have you ever seen someone with dark skin trying to wear like a nude, or a like a peachy or pale pink leap color but around the perimeter it looks ashy? That’s what happens.”
Jackie Advises “Elegance Influencer” to Avoid Blanket Statements in the Future
Being an industry leader in her own right who has built a successful career out of showing brown girls how to wear makeup, Jackie is knowledgeable about the subject matter.
Jackie concludes her response video by saying out loud what caused negative responses to the video – the traditional lack of inclusivity. “I mean, I’m not an elegance expert but I do know a thing or two about being in an industry that was always quicker to say, ‘That don’t work on complexion,’ ‘this looks tacky on you, this looks ridiculous’ vs what they should’ve been doing, and ‘saying here is a brush, I’m going to show you how to do this on your skin tone.’”
Finally, she concludes, “You need to be super careful in the future about using blanket statements like ‘not elegant’ or ‘ridiculous’ when talking about beauty ritual that are specific to a particular culture.”
Before deciding to create and post that video, Blue should have researched the subject matter well and should have sought to find out the reasons why the two so-called “mistakes” of “wearing brown lipstick with gloss on top of it” and “lining your lips in a dark lip liner” are a trend, especially among women of color.
She has yet to respond to Jackie’s video.