Beauty · Feminism · Inspiration · Lifestyle · Motivation

Conforming To The 21st Century Standards of Beauty

I’ve been a victim of whitewashed black beauty. 

Black women throughout modern history have been portrayed as unattractive.

The 21st century’s current beauty ideals, are a reflection of European beauty standards; emphasised through the widespread projection of Eurocentric facial features: fair skin,thin nose and long silky hair.


Generally, these homogenous standards of beauty exclude many black women, potentially causing detrimental effect on self image.

The media plays a huge role in whitewashing beauty. The use of image altering applications to lighten skin, reduce nose sizes and shrink figures modifies the perception of beauty and brainwashes individuals into believing that beauty is subject to resembling what we are being fed by the media.

Growing up, I disliked my natural hair. It was nappy, untameable and dry. This drove me to resort to applying harsh chemical relaxers to make the combing process more manageable and to give it a straighter appearance.

I recall the moment I entered my teenage years, I would beg my mum to buy me  ‘good weaves’ just so I could have nice straight hair which I could flick over my shoulders.

Presently, hair extension businesses are booming due to the high demand. Top quality virgin human hair ranges from £50-£600 and onwards.

2014; chemically relaxed edges and a weave install

In 2015 I made the conscious decision to go natural and to stop relaxing my hair. It wasn’t easy.. it still isn’t. But one realisation during this journey is that I began to ‘get to know’ my hair. I became more aware of what products to use in order to care for it and started using less heat on it. Overall, I felt that only after making the decision to go natural, did I truly begin to know and understand my hair.

I had gone through life believing and giving in to the idea that I was born with undesirable features. I didn’t like myself. To the outside world I might have appeared happy.. confident even. But the camouflage wasn’t changing the way I felt about myself.

Looking back its unfortunate that this feeling of uncertainty about myself, was in part perpetuated by images and what I was being fed by the media alongside a clear lack of self esteem.

I do still wear hair extensions. Not weaved in, but I turn them into wigs so as to protect my natural hair from climate changes. As ironic as it sounds, I do love switching up my hair style and trying out new things. However, the difference between now and then, is that I am now looking after my own hair, I no longer subject my hair to harsh chemical relaxers and I am also confident within myself to rock my own natural hair when I feel like it.


I’m not quite there yet in terms of ditching hair extensions altogether. At the moment, I either have it out natural in an Afro, or I have my natural hair canerowed and put on one of my wigs when I feel like switching things up. 

Momentarily, I am enjoying the whole wig concept and the flexibility of being able to change my look within a matter of seconds. Will I ever be a complete naturalista? Not any time soon, I love playing ‘dress up’ a bit too much.

It is important to firstly accept yourself in your truth and for who you really are. Henceforth, everything will begin to fall into place, and you’ll begin to feel a lot more confident and self-assured.

Self love; an essential practice that a lot of us fail to adhere to.

– V.O.L



21 thoughts on “Conforming To The 21st Century Standards of Beauty

  1. Love this post! At the age of 35 I am still learning to love me for me! I grew up with a white family, in a mainly white neighbourhood. White was all I saw and I wanted to fit in. I hated my natural hair and couldn’t wait to get weaves, extensions and my hair relaxed! I’m a massive fan of natural hair now. It’s beautiful. I don’t have the patience to keep natural hair but admire those that do. X

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Same here, I was also brought up in a predominantly white neighbourhood, this sort of affected my perception of things. Our natural hair is certainly one of a kind, however hard to manage lol. Thanks for your thought xx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been natural since 2011 and I love it. Mostly because it just feels right. I feel at home. I worry less about beauty. Love your post. I feel the same way about makeup, regardless of race. I have not worn makeup since 2011 either. I also don’t care too much about fashion either. I used to subscribe to Cosmo magazine and the like but now, eh, just not into it. I am into myself and what makes me feel at home. Thanks for your post. I love myself and it has been a journey. I used to worry that if I had natural hair and didn’t wear makeup that I wouldn’t be accepted in corporate culture at work so to that ends, I began to look at working for myself so I could be myself. Be beautiful and love yourself 🙂


    1. Wow that’s so brave of you. It’s sad that the thought of you not wearing makeup or having your natural hair out would mean you wouldn’t be accepted in the corporate culture at work. Well done for finding a way to make it work 👏🏾👏🏾. Stay Blessed xx


  3. Hmmm… You look really pretty. I guess there’s far more to ‘I am not my hair’, right? 🙂
    I picked a few lessons here and I think I need to learn more of that self-love principle. Why do I have a feeling I will coming here a bit more to read you?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this post, it’s always nice to know I’m not alone in my struggle! I have been natural for several years now, but I still struggle with knowing what to do with it and how to properly care for it. But it’s definitely gotten easier over the years and I will say I have learned to appreciate the beauty and versatility of my hair instead of seeing it as a burden.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re certainly not alone hun. It’s so refreshing to see that other fellow black ladies are also beginning to embrace their natural hair. With time, I’m sure the ‘natural hair’ market will grow a lot due to the raised awareness. Hopefully get a lot easier (and cheaper!) to find products for our hair type lol xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This post is Ah-to the-mazing. I have been considering going natural but at this point it won’t be easy, but its something I’ll eventually venture into. Amazing post.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are so beautiful… I just stumbled across your blog and I really like that you write about things that matter. Keep shining angel ❤


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