Of morning shows, Nabila's No Makeup Palette and whitewashing Pakistani women

The most prominent and applauded transformation was of the girl’s complexion. The finished look was far from natural.

Fatima Majeed November 24, 2015
On November 19, 2015, Nabila’s official Facebook page shared a “make over” picture showing the beauty transformation of a girl after using Nabila’s new ‘No Makeup Palette’. The picture was taken in HUM TV’s morning show.

Photo: Facebook/NABILA'S

The picture was disturbing on so many levels. The most prominent and applauded transformation was of the girl’s complexion. She went from a dark and dusky hue to absolutely fair and bright. The concept of the ‘no makeup look’ is a popular trend around the world. The quintessential purpose of this trend is to give the skin an even look without overdoing it. It should make you look ‘naturally good’.

Nabila’s makeover conflicted with the basic purpose of the ‘no makeup’ concept.  The finished look was far from ‘natural’. The girl looked like she had been whitewashed.

As I was going through the comments, I was absolutely appalled at how people were appreciative of the girl’s makeup. Everyone wanted to try the new makeup palette to acquire the same ‘fair’ complexion.

Some cynics, like myself, were sure that the picture was photoshopped, but most of the followers of Nabila’s Facebook page were in awe of it.

One comment, which particularly shocked me, said,
“Nabila apa this product is too expensive for me but I am buying it because of your excellent experience”

I am huge fan of Nabila’s and have always admired her distinct and sophisticated style sense and beauty services. This “transformation”, however, certainly doesn’t belong to Nabila’s legacy.

The saddest part is that the whole morning show presentation was culturally insensitive. Morning shows have a vast following. Women not only watch them but also foolhardily follow the advice shelled out by the morning show hosts and the guests. Instead of urging viewers to be confident in their own skin, the show’s hosts are glorifying beauty standards that are unreal. The purpose of the ‘No Makeup Palette’ should be to make every skin tone appear healthy and fresh. You cannot restrict the idea of beauty to a single skin tone. It would be a hideous injustice to all the diverse beauty forms that exist.

What these ‘makeovers’ and morning shows are essentially doing is promoting the idea that dark skin is not the beauty standard to aspire to; you have to be fair to be beautiful.

We welcome our indigenous makeup productions and the endeavours of our makeup artists but with great power comes great responsibility. It is their responsibility to promote local beauty and positively affect the standards set by the beauty industry.
Fatima Majeed An avid reader, freelance writer and home-maker.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Riffat Alam | 7 years ago | Reply Well that is awkward. She is my long distance relative and I am seeing her since my childhood she was as beautiful and good looking as we can see her in the 2nd picture. I don't know how badly they have Photoshoped the first one. she never had joint eyebrows, yes the complexion is dark but she never looked like the 1st pic. She is a top model now and her name is Manal-e-Fizza Rizvi.
Sonia Khawaja | 8 years ago | Reply not everything is about color. you must be blind for not noticing the main changes, i-e hair style, eye brows, and replacing the dracula lips with a soft color. The "whitness" is primarily because of lighting which is lacking in the before
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