Category Archives: Dark Skin Beauty

Apologies for the long hiatus

I’ll come right out and apologize for this long hiatus.  Life happens and I started a fabulous new job that allowed me to pursue another not for profit passion of mine.

If there is one thing I have learned from starting this blog, it is that writing takes time, creativity and energy.  I was drained and needed to take a break. The upside is, while I was gone, others have been making progress and carrying our torch.

First among them is the Dark Is Beautiful campaign. With monthly workshops, active blog posts, advocacy for fair representation of the people in media, they continue to do an amazing job from Chennai, India.

Melanie, from Beautifully Brown keeps handing out way better tips than I could.

But most of all, we are hoping that today’s parents continue to instill confidence in their children. Tell your children they are so dark and beautiful!

I also believe that in the last 6 months, there has been some positive activity where Indian designers have used truly dark skinned models. Wooohooo! Read more about it on my next blog post.

Finally this is very difficult for me but I am going to step it up and post pictures of myself, because, thanks to my wonderful parents and family, I’ve always felt radiantly beautiful and parade around with abundant confidence.

That picture you see of me was taken three decades ago. My brother and I were brought up to believe we were great looking people. We know and knew no different.

Let freedom reign! Allow yourself to see the superstar in you! 


Know that you are beautiful, just the way you are.

The new face of Dark is Beautiful – Sharon Muthu

Sharon Muthu is an American actress, voice over artist and singer. In February she also became the ambassador to Hollywood for India’s “Dark is Beautiful” campaign.

sharon muthu 2Dark is beautiful is a campaign that was started in 2009 by the founder of Women of Worth, Kavitha Emmanuel. This campaign has been highly successful in effectively changing social practices, providing outreach programs and even changing literature and content  of advertising.

sharon 3

Sharon Muthu has been part of TV shows such as Glee, Desperate House Wives and recently Blackish. You can also listen to her album Muse here …

It is very exciting to see more and more people getting involved in this movement to showcase the beauty of being you. In Sharon’s words…

“Know that you are beautiful, just the way you are.”


Dark is Also Lovely

Reflections by Toronto based playwright Sindhuri Nandhakumar

Sindhoori-NandakumarI won’t lie. I’ve used Fair and Lovely. I don’t want to make excuses, but it was curiosity that drove me to squeeze that supposedly magical potion out of the tube and rub it on my face. I wanted to see if the claims were true : would I really become so many shades lighter within six weeks?

This was about 15 years ago. Looking back at my childhood, I realize that I was raised not just by my parents, but also by Indian, particularly Tamil, cinema. I was the child who would happily stay home, faking some kind of stomach ache, so that I could stay home with my eyes pasted on the television screen.

During commercial breaks, my favourite female actors would come on screen, revealing to me how their lives had somehow been miraculously transformed after they started using Fair and Lovely. Click here if you would like to see the advertisement that influenced my childhood. Single ladies now had husbands; previously unemployed women now had dazzling jobs – it just seemed like a ticket to a world that was so much more amazing. Whatever shade of brown you were, you could be three shades lighter!

So, during a family trip to India, I purchased a small tube of Fair & Lovely and dutifully rubbed it on my face for about two days, until I lost interest and patience and forgot about it.

I haven’t really thought about it much since, but somewhere along the way, I slowly came to understand how many dangerous connotations and how many prejudices lie beneath the flourishing of products such as these. Millions of rupees are being poured into this “fairness” industry, and nobody is complaining. The underlying notion is quite simple: dark is bad, light is better.

Well intentioned grandmothers and aunties will advise you to stay out of the sun, or to carry an umbrella. When I went to visit my grandmother after a trip to Rwanda (a country that is really close to the equator), her face dropped in dismay. “How could you get so dark?” she wanted to know, implying that I had the choice to stay away from the sun, and that I was foolish not to do so.

But why is this the case? Why are so many young South Asian women and other women of colour around the world made to feel like they’re not good enough? Why are we letting companies sell skin lightening products that cause terrible and irreversible reactions in our skin? Why did society let an eight year old girl think that it was okay to buy Fair & Lovely so that she could see if her skin would lighten? Why are we okay with the idea that black and brown are not as beautiful as white?

The thing is, dark is beautiful. And so are all the other shades between dark and light. Yes, we all have our “types” and personal preferences, just like we would pick our favourite colours, but that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. It’s just a preference, and that’s it. If we’re fixated on the colour of everybody’s skin, then we’re missing out on all the other beauty around us. What we should be helping create is a world where people can exhibit their beauty in whatever form, whatever shade.

Woman Crush Wednesday: Mugdha Godse

Wow right?

What makes model turned actress, Mugdha Godse so irresistible?Maybe it’s her deep set eyes, or those full pouty lips – no it’s definitely that dark brown skin!

Mugdha is a 28 year old model and former semi-finalist at the Miss India 2004 competition. Towering at 5ft 9, she was one of the tallest contestants in history! There is so much of her to love!


She came from a modeling background and wanted to fill her hands with a new project: acting. When Priyanka Chopra burst into the limelight as one of the darker skinned women of Bollywood, it soon marked a path for Mugdha to follow. In 2008, Bollywood released a film produced by Madhur Bhandarkar called Fashion. It flew under the radar for a bit, but she and Priyanka became great friends. Mugdha played a supporting role playing a model herself – I suppose it wasn’t actually acting. She impressed several audiences and since then has been seeking the right next new role.


Actress Mugdha Godse at the 3rd Edition of India Resortwear Fashion Week (IRFW) 2013 in Mumbai on December 14, 2013

Mugdha says she has been offered countless acting roles but is waiting for the right time and opportunity to strike again. She says her journey has been “great – no, fantastic!” and is so thankful for Madhur Bhandarkar’s film and all her fashion education for giving her this start, but is in no rush to become the next it-girl.

Mugdha’s style is very bohemian, yet she retains a sense of class and put-togetherness. She’s more than just a model, she’s a real fashionista.

On being darker than the average bollywood queen, Mugdha says she’s been very appreciative of her skin color. She doesn’t however draw attention to this “breaking of convention”. She doesn’t believe she is a dusky outsider, but just another actress. A gorgeous one at that!


Beautiful brown faces at the International Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show is underway in Detroit, Michigan and I had the privilege to experience what’s coming in the world of the motor car.

From production car introductions and concept cars to after market mods. You get to see everything.IMAG1978[1]

Presenting some of these metallic beauties were our brown beauties.

It made me happy to see the number of brown women presenting these vehicles, so I had to make a quick post about it.



Tell your children they are so dark AND beautiful

Parenting and coaching are the most powerful weapons humans have. To effect a human mind to last generations is a responsibility we should not take lightly.

This New Year Cinnamon Spirit encourages all parents living in countries that distinguish between dark and fair to use the following terms of endearment when addressing their children.

You are so dark and beautiful.

Avoid and discourage people saying “She or he is dark BUT beautiful”. There are no buts about it. Those of us who aren’t damaged by society, love our dark skin. I for one would never trade it.

You are dark and beautiful. You are fair and beautiful. You are yellow and beautiful. You are black and beautiful. You are white and beautiful. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

This article is inspired by RohiniMani’s work.

Brown Sparkles Too!

It’s Holiday Season again! All around the world people will be celebrating winter holidays like Pongal, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Thaipusam, and of course, bringing in the New Year (Jan 1st, 2015). If you’re searching for the perfect dress to show off your beautiful brown skin tone, what better way to sparkle than wear sequins!

Mindy Kaling – writer, comedian, star of her hit show The Mindy Project, and absolutely fabulous brown skinned fashionista embraces sequins as well as chunky jewelry and bright colors. Where many women of color will shy away from these kinds of bold moves, at Cinnamon Spirit we think you should be the shining star of the party!  Mindy agrees “I wear all of those things, because I like looking at it. It makes me feel happy and excited to wear it.” In the photo below, she wears a beautiful dress and skirt combination. This scene was from the Pilot Episode of The Mindy Project, and to be honest she looks gorgeous! I love that the kind of sequin pattern on top is so much different than the metallic embellishment on her skirt. From far away, it looks like a dress, but when you look closely we find that Mindy has connected the 60s disco-ball and the Victorian Era in the best of ways. While Mindy’s outfit does technically break the mixing-prints rule in fashion, it is a definitely haute look that I think any brown woman could pull off. sequin

Anouksha, 21 fashion blogger from the United Kingdom has found a way to glitter during finals week. Here, she wears a black bomber jacket from H&M, black stockings, and casual tan booties from MissGuided. Paired with her gorgeous vintage flapper, and stuffed bagpack, she get’s an A+ for style. SONY DSC

I found another stunning gold and black sequin dress from BeBe while looking for my own sequined New-Years-Me Dress. I can’t tell what is more radiant, the model’s deep brown skin or her dress. I’m too focused on how happy she looks while twirling around in it!


So maybe, you’re working for the holidays. You can still bring your briefcase of glitter with you! Katerina L., a 27 year old from Voronezh, Russia wears her sequins subtly. This outfit is a perfect day to night outfit that can be worn at lunch with friends, and then again at office party. Her sweater is also from H&M and her skirt is from Mango. She and her skirt, look delicious.Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 6.21.45 PMMy personal favorite is an Etsy Legend worn by a beautiful Indian Model, Menaka Iyer. She is 23 and from Toronto, Canada. I’m sure once you see this dress, you’ll be dying to have it.  She wore this vintage, one of a kind dress to New York City for the first time. “I had my first mimosa in NYC – Dream come true!” Menaka says excitedly. Although I couldn’t find the dress’s link, I did find that her feather earrings are from Spring and her muted (but also black sparkly heels) are from Nine West. tumblr_ng8w2oIHJP1tg7w7jo1_1280Obviously not many of us can afford to splurge and spend thousands of dollars on a holiday dress (we’re too busy getting presents for our friends and family), so I’ve compiled a few under $50 options:

Lony Women’s Sequinned Party Dress ($39 from
Shining Open Back Long Sleeve with Sequins Dress from (only $33.80 with Free Shipping Worldwide!)

Stay tuned to see what sparkles I picked for my holiday dress! Stay warm this season my brown-skinned beauties!

Our definition of beauty …

At the turn of the 20th century, bronzed skin became the new fashion must-have. Coco Chanel famously got sunburn on a yachting trip, which spurred her acolytes to start spending more time in the sun. Doctors of the day began prescribing sun therapy, which was quickly adopted by the upper classes, as were outdoor sports.dark women

We believe the following have always been standards of beauty that will stand the test of time.

  1. The Happy Confident Smile: It doesn’t matter what you are wearing, how thin or thick you are, how tall or short you are, how rich or poor you are …. A smile that says you are happy with being who you are, tops our list.
  2. Sunshine Spirit: The ability to make others smile is someone with the Sunshine Spirit. This is a beautiful thing. It brings about a beautiful atmosphere of well being to those around you and cynosure to you.
  3. Being Fit: Will you be able to run if there were to be a zombie apocalypse? Human beings were meant to lead active lives. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and less time at the doctor’s. Studies have shown that one’s skin glows from adrenalin, so we think this is all around beautiful.
  4. Neat clothes:  We think some energy spent on keeping your clothes straight (washed, mended, ironed) goes a long way in adding clarity to everything around you.
  5. Cleanliness : No matter how beautiful you are, if you haven’t showered and smell bad… forget it. You ain’t gonna be considered beautiful.



Today, Cinnamon Spirit would like to introduce a new team member: Miss Ishra Ella Noor

I love coffee so much no wonder I work at Starbucks! This is me at Hummingbird Cafe in Christchurch, New Zealand on a study abroad program


Name: Ishra Ella Noor, “Ella”
Age: 21 years
Heritage: Indian
Occupation: Full time student studying Environmental Geoscience and Political Science at Purdue University and Barista at Starbucks

Why did you decide to join the Cinnamon Spirit team? Cinnamon Spirit finally highlights a beautiful asset that I’ve known exists my whole life – dark skin. As soon as I heard about this initiative I just knew I had to be a part of it.

How would you like to help Cinnamon Spirit?
I’ll be routinely posting tips and tricks for beauty, fashion, recipes, and tailoring them specifically to highlight the beauty of dark-skinned women. After all, the fact that we can actually pull off mustard-yellow is a feat on its own.

 Who are some of your style icons? In terms of fashion, I have to say I’m a huge fan of Giuliana Rancic. I love how classy she is but still has a razor sharp edge to her style, and a killer smile to sport around with that dark golden skin matches every outfit.

Plans for the future? “I really want to help people. I’d love to incorporate what I’ve been studying in college to do this. I would love to pursue Natural Disaster Recovery or Hazard Mitigation. I’d also be really excited to have my own art gallery one day!”

Welcome aboard, Ella! We’re glad to have you here at Cinnamon Spirit!

Exercising outdoors is always better than in the gym, at least in my opinion. I feel like a mouse on a wheel on a treadmill! (Maui, Hawaiian Islands)
I love what I study because it gives me the ability to see parts of the world that most people won’t even know exist. (Sunset Volcano, Arizona, USA)
One of my favorite moments, on the Athabasca Glacier in BC!


Foundations for dark skin tone

Finding a suitable foundation that works for  our skin tone can be tricky. Here are some tips for you to find something you love wearing everyday. The idea is to match your skin tone and give it a smooth, natural look.


  • Test 3 shades that you think will work on your jawline. Resist the urge to blend and wait five minutes for it to settle.
  • If you have oily skin, go one shade lighter
  • If you have dry skin or wrinkles, powders can accentuate this problem.
  • When using a foam foundation, shake well, pump a quarter-size blob into your palm, then stipple it onto your face with a damp sponge. This will keep the bubbles intact till it gets to your skin and spreads evenly.
  • When in doubt, look for warmer bronze shades to avoid the ashy look.
  • We’ve included the price of these products so you can go out and experiment with what suits you.

1. Becca Ever Matte Shine Proof FoundationThis product has four different shades for darker tones, making it much easier to find your match….$US42.00cinnamon-spirit-becca

2. Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation: The darkest shade, espresso, has a tiny bit of sparkle, giving you an all-over glow that’s noticeable even on your chocolate skin….US$ 40.00


3. Lancôme Teint Visionniare Foundation: It comes with a spot corrector, perfect to combat manchas or patches in skin tone…         US$ 60.00


4. Makeup Forever HD Foundation: This one includes five different shades of brown and is oil-free….US$42.00


5. Black Opal Foundation Stick: This brand is formulated specifically for brown skin, so it’s guaranteed to meet your needs. Plus it is one fourth the price of some others…US$ 10.00


6. Fashion Fair Oil-Free Perfect Finish Foundation: This cream-to-powder foundation comes with 17 different shades of brown and glides on without that caked-on look that often happens when using powder foundations…. US$ 25.00


7. Clinique Even Better Foundation: This compact foundation comes with many deep shades, and it also combats dry skin…         US$ 32.00


8. Covergirl Queen Collection All Day Flawless Foundation: No need to drive yourself nuts trying to find matching products — this is a primer, concealer, and foundation all in one….US$ 12.00

9. L’Oreal True Match Super Blendable Foundation: The name speaks for itself. The variety of shades blend smoothly into skin, leaving a natural, fresh-faced finish… US$ 11.00


10. Urban Decay Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup: The three dark shades address your specific undertones too, making it a flawless match… US$ 39.00



This article has gathered it’s information from ‘s work for the Cosmopoliton,  Alden Wicker‘s post for LearnVest and Erica Smith‘s article for