If you’re a brown girl like me and live in India, then you know that we’re a nation obsessed with white skin. You’ve definitely been on the receiving end of some pretty traumatic statements; like “You’re very pretty for a tan girl”, or “you’d be so much prettier if you were fairer“, “we can only see your teeth in the dark“, kali billi (black cat)” like a pseudo-pet-name of sorts. I mean these are statements brown women are expected to tolerate and better yet find humourous. For years we’ve been under the impression that there’s something wrong with being brown. Truth be told, I used to subject myself to the horrors of fairness creams and TBH those products never worked on my skin or my dwindling self-esteem.

My foray into the world of beauty products:

Anywho, all that aside, I was lucky to have had a cousin more like my brother, who is a makeup artist and also happens to be one of my favourite humans of all time. He’s someone I often turned to for career guidance and things I just needed to get off my chest. So, while I was growing up, he would try all of his latest learnings in makeup and honestly I loved it because I felt lucky and privileged to be sharing time and space with him. He is the reason I’m able to put my best face forward on days that I manage to put on makeup, that is. He loves working on brown skin and the makeup he’d suggest always worked wonders.

However, I did take off on my own tangent and studied what works for my skin over time. I’ve observed that brown women share some of the same insecurities. Pigmentation, dark circles, dark spots, acne, this list is never-ending. So I borrowed a few products from my brother and his kit, that has worked for me. Truth be told, I feel far more confident when my hair and makeup come together seamlessly. And, I bet many of you ladies share the same feelings as me. But take a look at my very short but incredibly effective list, that will even help the beauty noobs.

Here’s a list of 5 must-have beauty products I swear by:

1) Concealer

As the heading suggests, it conceals dark circles and dark spots on the surface of the skin. This is a revolutionary beauty product that everyone should own and it really helps add additional coverage and an even tone to your face. It helps refresh tired eyes and can even help stop your red lipstick from bleeding. It’s a great tool to use before applying eyeshadow to help bring out the pigment of the product as well.

2) Foundation

I think I started using foundation way before I even bought myself a concealer. I just wanted so badly to have even skin tone that I started using foundation very early on. A lot of people have cited issues of feeling caked up with this particular beauty product. But rest assured, when you find the right colour with the right texture for your skin type you will never stop using it. It’s an extra layer that protects against pollution and also acts as sun protection to some degree, depending on the SPF level mentioned on your bottle. The best way to test foundation is not by applying it to your hand but by swatching a bit of it on your cheek, just slightly above your jawline to get the best match.

3) Colour Corrector

I’m not going to lie, I do not own this beauty product yet. But why is it that I swear by the colour corrector? I, like any other girl, looked up some quick tips online about how to correct the pigmentation in my skin. I found that a lot of brown-skinned women used red lipstick instead. Now, this I can attest to because I use this so very often before big events mostly. When I know I may have long hours at work and would like to look fresh even at the end of the day. But, the basic idea of colour correction is using colours on the opposite spectrum to neutralise the discolouration on your skin type. This is specific to my brown skin. Here’s what different tones do—green tends to neutralise redness, a great way to hide those hickies ladies. Orange will neutralise dark circles and spots on the skin with a blue tint, yellow tends to neutralise dullness and purple visible veins on the face a common occurrence when you have pale skin.

4) Setting Powder

I have combination skin, mostly because of Mumbai’s climate. I go from being in an air-condition that dries my skin out to a rickshaw that makes my skin excessively oily. This is one beauty product that I always carry around in my bag. I won’t powder my face through the day at the office but if I have someplace to be after work then I most definitely will. It gives my face the freshness and the lift it needs. I prefer loose setting powder as compared to compressed setting powders, more commonly known as compacts. The basic use of a setting powder is to set and hold your foundation and can help reduce shine and that sticky feeling you get after a long day.

5) Blush

Lastly my favourite beauty product of all time. I like having a flushed face that looks like I’m blushing all the time. It makes me look and feel youthful. I have the tendency to often just smudge my lipstick as a stain on my cheeks, I like the monochrome effect it provides me. But I mostly use this cream pot as a blush, it’s so old that the text has vanished from the underside of the product. There have been plenty of days when I’ve just left my house with blush and still look alive because it adds depth to my brown skin. I tend to steer clear of powder blushes because I don’t like the build-up after I’ve added my setting powder. I like a dewy finish that I tend to get from my cream blush instead. An easy hack with cream blush is to use it as a lip stain and an eye shadow as well, in case you wanted to keep it easy. So now you know why this specific product is one of my favourites.

What are the top 5 beauty products that you swear by? Let me know in the comments below.

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