Darky. Daughter of the Night. Mother of the Stars. When it comes to her nearly onyx complexion, Senegalese model Khoudia Diop has heard it all. After relocating to Paris at age 15, not only did Diop find herself in a foreign country but in a region where those around her had seldom seen someone with a skin tone as deep as hers. “I would get so angry whenever I’d notice people looking at me weirdly,” she says in an interview with Beauty Atlas. “They’d even stop me on the street and ask questions about my skin color.”
With her family’s encouragement to disregard comments from bullies, Diop, now 19, has learned to embrace her skin tone, even coining a new nickname for herself that celebrates her dark complexion: Melanin Goddess. “I began thinking of some names of my own,” she says. “I knew Melanin Goddess would be cool and could help educate people about darker skin tones.”
Under her new alias, Diop has signed with The “C” Girl, Inc., a creative organization founded to celebrate and empower women of color worldwide through beauty and fashion campaigns. She’s also gained nearly 350,000 followers on her Instagram page, (@melaniin.goddess), where she shares campaign images and selfies that showcase a natural glow only Snapchat filters can create for most. There, the tone of conversation surrounding Diop’s complexion is largely positive and almost always respectful. #BlackGirlMagic. Insert all the brown fist emojis.
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As for her beauty routine, Diop more than anyone, can sympathize with the frustrations that black women with deep skin tones experience when shopping for makeup products. “I’ve always had trouble finding makeup in darker shades.” But her struggle hasn’t led her to adopt a muted palette. “My advice for all girls, not just those with dark skin tones, is that as long as you feel beautiful inside, you can [wear] whatever you want.” Here, Diop shares some of her favorite beauty products for dark complexions (including a blue lipstick!), and a few skin-care tips to boot.
Her Secret Skin Savior
“A tip that I got from my mom that really helps keep my skin fresh, is to wash my face with ice water in the morning. I love it. Just splash with water—cold water. That’s the first thing I do every morning.”
Her Go-to Hydrator
Her Favorite Foundation
“[Iman Skin Tone Evener BB Crème in Earth Deep] is the best foundation I’ve ever tried. I love how it highlights my skin tone on my face, which is a bit darker than the rest of my body. And my favorite part is how light it feels when I have it on. People barely notice that I have any makeup on.”
Her Vibrant Lip Loves
“We were on the T. D. Jakes Show [recently] and the makeup artist blended a scarlet red lipstick with a fuchsia lipstick to create this magenta tone that looked really pretty. I also love the way blue looks on my lips!” Try M.A.C. Liptensity Lipstick in Blue Beat.
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Her Non-Chalky Highlighter
“I have a natural glow without makeup, but if I ever want to [apply] highlighter, I use the Urban Decay Naked Illuminated Trio. I love to mix the Pyrite and Twilight shades—they’re my favorites!”
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