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

Published: November 24, 2015

The most prominent and applauded transformation was of the girl’s complexion. PHOTO: FACEBOOK (https://www.facebook.com/NabilaExpress/)

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

Fatima Majeed

An avid reader, freelance writer and home-maker.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • rationalising argument.

    pakistanis want to prove that they are arabs so that is why they wear make up.Recommend

  • Nida

    Fatima, being a woman, i think its deplorable on your part to target a girl who “chose” to model for Nabila’s makeup kit and chose to look like that…you have made the girl a soft target for mean and rude comments from a few good for nothing male facebookers..i fail to understand why u needed to write article on such a non issue. If you wanted to write on the issue of “stop wanting to appear fair” then there are alot of other ways to do that instead of hurting someones feelings for no real reason.Recommend

  • Don of Lyari

    Fair skin is attractive on women, it’s politically incorrect but the truth!Recommend

  • Rambo

    Because Arabs invented make up?! Pakistanis don’t think Arabs are attractive, the Khaleejis are actually quite dusky like Somalis but I know it’s all the same to somebody from ndia cause of the whitewashing that goes on in Bollywood.Recommend

  • amna saeed

    Its not a “non-issue” when you are judged on every facet of your life on your skin colour. The girl looks completely different and instead of contouring or enhancing her God given beauty, Nabila just wiped her away with her pallete box and made her white. I may not face this issue but realising that White is the only complexion considered worth having in a country of brown people is a harsh reality of life . Black and Brown is beautiful and our make up artists should learn to diversify and improve their pallette skills.Recommend

  • Ali

    If Pakistanis are Arab then Indians are Arab as well.Recommend

  • Shaan

    Obsession with gora-pan is found within some Hindu castes in India too. And don’t try saying it was a British or Mughal introduction… it was present well before then too!Recommend

  • Asy ma wail !

    Slap. By picking a name which sounds intelligent, do you really think that you have iota of that? now sit calm and finish your feeder.Recommend

  • Browncoat

    Read the article again. Nowhere does it target the Model. Rather the practice of ‘white-washing’ via makeup. It doesn’t even target the Make-up artist (Nabila), only her obsolete approach and those of the culturally insensitive morning shows for towing the line of ‘fairer is prettier.
    You’re the only one playing target-practice with the writer.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I’d agree with you…… the girl was pretty to start with, Nabila only had to do her hair, her eyes and eyebrows and left her natural skin tone alone.Recommend

  • Hk

    I totally disagree ! You have an issue with it don’t use it . If this makes people have let them be happy yar ! Why do we have to make an issue out of everything . In a world where people are dying getting killed all the time if stuff like this gives them happiness let them enjoy it . This probably made the girls day let her be happy chill out yar ! Recommend

  • Marie Shiz

    its not non issue as some of the comments say….. being prejudiced bcz of not having a fair complexion is a massive source of discontent among our females leading to depression, self pity, and lack of confidence. these morning shows and our celebrities can play a major role if they want to in this regard instead of promoting the concept of fair is beautiful. i personaly boycot any product which says whitening…. i am not fair. i have a wheatish complexion and i frown if some one ever tells me what i can do to make my self fair…… I AM NOT FAIR AND I AM PROUD OF IT.Recommend

  • Anam imran

    I for one actually happened to watch this episode and throughout the show nabila kept emphasizing the fact we should embrace our complexions and was giving away palettes according to the everyone’s skin colour whether they were fair or olive toned. She also spoke about wearing the right foundation/makeup for your skin color or else you will end up looking grey. She in no way encouraged ‘white washing’. This picture is just highly photoshoped I guess.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Next time…try looking a little harder.Recommend

  • Sonia Khawaja

    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 beforeRecommend

  • rationalising argument.

    you are not too intelligent to understand pakistani mentality.Recommend

  • rationalising argument.

    no it was present only with low life converts who converted at the first sight of the sword.Recommend

  • Riffat Alam

    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.Recommend