Beauty Guru Melanie Yvette Talks Skincare, Colorism and Women with Curves

Photo by: Randolph Garrett

Photo by: Randolph Garrett

Whatever you do, don’t tell Melanie Yvette she is pretty for a dark skin girl. The 30-year-old Maryland native, turned Brooklynite has made it her mission to change the way women of color are perceived in the beauty industry-one lippie and story at a time.

As the editor-in-chief of her own beauty blog, Beautifully Brown, Melanie been in the  beauty game for 8-plus years, working for major brands like Bobbie Thomas at the Today’s Show, Ebony.com, Centric TV and L'OReal, all while building her own platform for women of color.

What is next for her is perhaps her biggest assignment to date. 

“There is still so much to do in the industry,” says Melanie. “I want to help companies really understand women of color.”  

We talked to this beauty expert about body positivity, blogging and beauty tips. Get into it!

What was your inspiration for creating your blog BeautifullyBrown.com?

“When I was at Ebony, it was column. I would use the hashtag every now and then and it began to build a following. Someone, an Asian girl, reached out to me asking me if I was still doing the Beautifully Brown columns. I decided to transfer it to being a blog. I didn’t know that so many Asian and Hispanic women were following it, but if  a message resonates, it resonates, who cares what we look like. Other women of color have the same issue as Black women. I wanted to create that space for women of color to have these conversations. I was so tired of the mainstream take on natural hair. I wanted to interview regular women and get their take on beauty.”

 

 

Women of color in general have more issues in common than we think. We have the same issues. I want to create space to talk about that.”
— Melanie

How has your blog changed over the years?

 "At this point, I am clear I want to talk about issues that women talk about behind closed doors that no one is talking about. There is something else to be said. There is so much deeper we can go with beauty. There are so many angles you can talk about things from the point of view of women of color.”

Do you remember a defining moment that shaped how you thought about your body, especially black beauty?

"Diana Ross was always so glamorous and sexy with big hair. I used to love the girls in the GAP ads. My mom is a lipstick girl. I don’t know how much how that defined me, but I definitely LOVE lipstick."

Did you struggle with your confidence growing up?

"I never had issues with confidence. I never got teased for my complexion, but I was chubby. I was never worried about my complexion--I wasn’t raised to think different (about my skin). There were times when I think I felt overlooked, but I never felt self-conscious. Not everyone that has dark skin is miserable. I would say my issues had more to to with my body than my complexion."

 

Not everyone that has dark skin is miserable.
— Melanie

 

Now let’s talk about about that. What were your issues with your body?

"My experience is being oversexulized when I was in highschool. I didn’t grow up to feel conscious, but it came from the outside world. I realized my body was unique. I have a big butt, I have hips. There is nothing I can do about that."  

Photo: Melanie Yvette

Photo: Melanie Yvette

That is so relatable to us curvy girls. We internalize and are hyersexualized alot as young girls even.

"I would say for me the body dysmorphia began to set in. I just thought I was much bigger than I was. I think I have body issues that stem from my mom. I love my mom, but my mom did a lot of yo-yo dieting, and like her, I would do the crash diets and over exercise. I was always thinking about my body. I have had a very up and down relationship with my weight. When my father died, that I was the first time I really felt insecure. That is the first time I really noticed the weight gain."

How and have you overcome this?

"I will be honest with you, I started dating a guy who brought out the worst in each other, and I realized he forced me to come out of my comfort zone and look at myself from an emotional standpoint. So once I started working on my mental, I naturally just wanted to take better care of myself. I just decided I wanted to be healthy mentally and I just naturally wanted to take better care of myself.  Now, I feel amazing.”

Who are your body crushes?

"Serena Williams. Her body is just heaven to me. The plus-sized model Le'Tecia; she is so sexy. I have a bit of crush on Ashley Graham. I don’t see a lot of girls celebrated like her but I see that changing."

Now you have bomb skin. What is your favorite products that you use?

"I make sure I take off my makeup with makeup wipes. I love Garnier and Sephora wipes. I use Shea Moisture black soap as a cleansers and the rosewater toner from Fresh. I like to do my routine in the shower, but not too hot. You should not wash your face with hot water; it dries you out terribly." 

What about moisturizers?

"I’ll use Mario Badescu if my skin is dry. Africa Miranda Elixir oil is a favorite. I always layer. I start with toner, eye cream and Angela Bassett’s Molecular Cosmetics and Africa Miranda oil to hydrate at night."

What are your favorite foundations for your complexion? Favorite brands?

"I love Kevyn Aucoin in SX16 and Maybelline Fit Me Foundation in 370 for the summer. I get oily, so I do the translucent powder first--my Cover FX powder before foundation. I let it sit on my face for a minute to absorb the oil then apply the foundation. My skin looks super glowing but natural.”

 

Need more beauty product reviews for your complexion? Follow Melanie on social at @BeautifullyBrown! 

Interview condensed.