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What is Morena Beauty: The Filipina Beauty Standard
Although we all love beauty and skincare, it’s safe to admit that our culture in the Philippines has some pretty toxic beauty standards.
When you’re white, you’re automatically beautiful. But when you have brown skin, you have to work harder to find pieces – be it lipstick or clothes – to actually flatter you. I’ve often heard people from multiple beauty circles say, “Any color suits fair skin!” and “Dark-skinned girls should stick to brown, earthy, neutral tones to suit their skin tone.”
Subtle as it may be, the bias is there. And it’s pretty toxic.
Luckily, as the body positivity movement has seeped into our collective consciousness, more and more people are starting to embrace their natural skin. Now, having brown skin isn’t something to be ashamed of, but something to be proud of.
Because, real talk, beauty is never just skin-deep. People look their best when they’re confident, no matter the shade of their skin. Let’s talk about the essence of being a morena Filipina and how you can embrace the natural you.
What is a morena girl? What type of skin is Morena?
Have you noticed how beauty standards differ across cultures? In the West, those with fair skin covet deeper complexions. In Asia, it’s the opposite: everyone wants whiter skin, even if it meant bleaching their bodies through cheap whitening products and glutathione drips.
But over the years, the body positivity movement has gained traction, and with it the idea of not only accepting but loving the natural skin color we were born with.
Rather than bending over backward trying to conform to unnatural standards, we should enhance what we already have. After all, beauty, makeup, and skincare are all about bringing out our own unique glow, not concealing it.
So, if you’re someone who doesn’t fit into the typical pinkish-white standard that many Filipinas tend to uphold, worry not!
Morena skin is usually defined as a medium to deep skin color, but it also encompasses Filipino features such as a short nose, plump lips, hooded eyes, and dark hair.
What is a morena beauty?
Now, how often have you read style tips that often discriminate based on skin color? Things like, “never dye your hair blonde,” “stay away from bright hues”, “highlights are not flattering on deeper shades!” and so much more are all discriminatory statements disguised as style tips. Morena/moreno beauty seeks to eliminate all that and create a community that is proud to embrace their color.
One can describe the modern Morena girl as someone who isn’t afraid to be proud of their brown skin. She’s someone who has ditched the colonial mindset and learned to be proud of features that society tells her aren’t conventionally beautiful.
The best part is, with more Filipina women able to create this culture of self-love, other dark or medium-skinned women can follow suit. Some examples of proudly morena influencers are Nadine Lustre, Ylona Garcia, Ayn Bernos, and Inka Magnaye.
Brands have also hopped on the bandwagon and created products exclusively for morena beauties. Morena the Label is one example that comes to mind; it’s a clothing store centered around celebrating kayumanggi skin, and it’s found an enthusiastic market among melanin-loving individuals.
How do you get flawless morena skin?
So you want to drop the stash of whitening products and enhance your natural morena skin. Go, you!
The problem is, now you need to restart your skin and body care routine. You also want to get the products that you’ve been dying to experiment with but have been told countless times that they would not look flattering on you. It can be overwhelming, so let’s look to our favorite proud morena women for inspiration.
Don’t be Afraid of a Pop of Color
Forget everything you know about pink lipsticks – anyone can wear them. The perfect shade can offer a stunning contrast and make your skin stand out even more. The same thing goes for blush.
Choose the Right Foundation
Get rid of the dreaded “ghost face” look and wear a foundation color that actually suits you. Happy Skin co-founder Rissa Mananquil-Trillo emphasized inclusivity for all Filipina skin types as one of the core values of her makeup store, and because of that, they carry a wide range of shades that promise to bring out natural Filipina aura (and actually help you match your face to your neck!).
Having a solid skin and body care routine is a huge part of creating that morena goddess glow. You won’t have to bend over backward, either – following a basic regimen can give you the results you want.
Experiment with Hair Colors
There’s a huge misconception that light or blonde hair doesn’t look good on a brown-skinned Filipina. But like most of these easily-debunked myths, this is completely false and also sends a harmful message.
This photo that proud morena Kathryn Bernardo posted on her Instagram account shows that anyone can wear and look good with lighter locks.
Ylona Garcia can also be seen with a head full of gorgeous bright-colored hair and pulling it off.
So, no, skin tone isn’t a measure of whether or not a color will look good on you. What does help is matching your undertones.
What Makeup Looks Good on Brown Skin?
Whether it’s mauve, pink, or brown, morenas can pull off all sorts of hues. Ayn Bernos is one influencer that regularly posts videos of morena-friendly products.
At Pretty Me Philippines, we believe in empowering all types of Pinay beauty. Head over to our website to read more about the best beauty tips and tricks!
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.