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Cosmo Magazine Uses Black Women for Beauty Don’ts & White for Dos in Trends Feature | Faces Backlash



Cosmopolitan Beauty Feature - BellaNaija - April 2015

It looks like Cosmopolitan Magazine has a lot of explaining to do to women of colour who read their publication.

In a feature they titled “21 Beauty Trends that Need to Die in 2015“, they highlighted beauty trends that gathered popularity in 2015, that they think should end. However they are facing a lot of backlash for using black models & celebrities as examples of beauty don’ts in the “RIP” column, and white for beauty dos in the “Hello Gorgeous” column, for majority of the trends.

Cosmopolitan Beauty Feature - BellaNaija - April 2015001

Social Media has been buzzing with the backlash from women of colour calling the magazine out for the comparison. Twitter & Facebook users shared reactions like;

– “Coincidence that all the “wrong” looks are on black woman/WOC?

– “Rare to see women of colour in a mainstream magazine. And when you do it’s to tell us we’re ugly.

In their bid to remedy the situation, an Editor’s note was posted to the article stating – “This article focuses on beauty trends with images that represent those trends. Some images have been taken out of context, and we apologize for any offense. Celebrating all women is our mission, and we will continue to work hard to do that.”

The article was originally posted on Monday 5th January 2015, but has recently resurfaced with over 90,000 shares.


Tell us BellaNaijarians – do you think this was another case of racism in the fashion & beauty industry since black women were only used for beauty don’ts, or just bad judgement? Share your thoughts.

Photo Credit:

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at) or style(at) | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle


  1. Debee!

    April 3, 2015 at 9:09 am

    It doesn’t look like coincidence to me, they knew very well what they where doing.

    • Ash

      August 18, 2016 at 4:38 am

      Ash August 18, 2016 at 4:21 am
      Just as our founding fu$&ers or “fathers” were intimidated by their muscle bound exotic slaves, afraid of their white women lusting over them…it seems white women are intimidated by the exotic looks of black women…Botox in the lips to have fuller”black looking” ones, Botox in the a$$ for a bigger ” blacker” looking rear, baking in a sun bed for a sweet potato tan to look darker…if black and biracial women are the “less” attractive ? Why do so many white women attempt to duplicate this look??? Racial ambiguity!!!! Demeaning someone who is more attractive and exotic …. To make ones self feel better looking than the other…lets just face it , the most gorgeous women out there are BIRACIAL! Not pure white not pure black… The exact reason so many white and black people demean biracial people…jealousy bc they can never look that desirable…

  2. Alice

    April 3, 2015 at 9:19 am

    SHAME ON cosmo! Definitely boycotting cosmo and their sick subconsciously conditioning agenda designed to take away our identity and replace it with their hate!!

  3. wagamama

    April 3, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Racism between races……………………………..
    Tribalism between cultures……………………
    Religious bigotry between religions…..
    Sexism between sexes……………………………..

    Here, my generation, are the WORLDS current problems conferred on us by the previous twisted generations who didn’t know how to live and let live.

    I WISH THE WORLD WOULD MIX ALREADY AND ACCEPT THAT WE ARE ALL UNIQUE AND DIFFERENT…….But with the way things are looking, I doubt these problems would be solved in this generation.

    My dream……. One day, we would all be colour-blind, religion-blind, culture-blind, and genital-blind. We would call a good person good, and a bad person bad.

    • b-west

      April 15, 2015 at 8:09 am

      …And the church says AMENNNN!!!

  4. @edDREAMZ

    April 3, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Lmaoo… Business strategy. They want to get peoples attention and i can say for a fact they have achieve that goal bcos if yu read down they said 90, 000 people have shared it already and after that they apologised and believe me in no time everyone will forget about it while they might have pocketed so much sum in their pocket….. Lolx….

  5. Ladi

    April 3, 2015 at 9:45 am

    Racism can’t be stopped.. So it only d blacks that does d wrong makeup? Yeye pple..

  6. Fols

    April 3, 2015 at 10:00 am

    Hmmm…ppl can like to play the victim shaaaa! I went thru the article, and only 3 black women were used for the 21 don’ts! The rest of the don’ts section was filled with white women, from Heidi Klum, to Katy Perry, to Avril Lavigne, to Carrie Underwood, to Carmen Electra, to name just a few. Can you get whiter than that? Na wa ohhh…

    • Suga &Spice

      April 3, 2015 at 5:27 pm

      I know right people are too sensitive. I didn’t see anything wrong with the article. Go and look well people

    • me

      April 3, 2015 at 10:04 pm

      My thoughts exactly, we should move past this racism thingy already, with every little thing we cry foul, when what we really are fighting against is a personal identity crisis. no one can make you to feel beautiful about yourself but when you come to love yourself and can feel beautiful In your own skin NO ONE can take that away from you, with their words or actions, wether black or white, it’s about how you have accepted to view yourself,

    • molarah

      April 4, 2015 at 7:37 am

      Just went through the publication, and what you’ve said is right – black women were used for only 3 out of 21 don’ts. I think it’s a big shame to BN for promoting this baseless backlash. You guys don’t have to report everything, or is it by force to talk about racism, even when it’s actually not happening? A website business is not all about having hits, please learn to use your star power as a premier blog in Nigeria to drive public opinion in the right direction and engage people towards positive outcomes. Not that you don’t already do that, but this post takes you a step back.

    • madam p

      April 6, 2015 at 4:18 pm

      You saw white women because the article images were changed. The donts were initially all black. i saw the original, so i know its not a matter of sensitivity.

  7. ruth

    April 3, 2015 at 10:03 am

    *sigh* i feel like most of this pple just do these stuff on purpose , to get pple talking and rile them up, thus bringing popularity to their published content. i mean “cosmopolitan” magazine of all magazines, they mean to say they were not the least bit concerned or aware that this could be misinterpreted.

  8. Ginika

    April 3, 2015 at 10:04 am

    For some strangeeeee reason, I think this has to do with the new trend of people of colour having more lead roles. Let me explain myself and my theory, they are not newcomers in this industry, an industry notorious for racism. These editors apply all sorts of filters before they approve a publication and I can assure you the racism filter was thought of. As someone said, it is easier/better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. I link this to the new trend of people of colour slowly playing more significant roles in various industries.

  9. Oluwaseun

    April 3, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Racism at its worst.

  10. gogo girl

    April 3, 2015 at 10:20 am

    There were 21 looks out of which 3 black women were used in the ” r.i.p.” trend section. hardly racist! The only mistake I see here is that they could have shown some diversity in the” hello gorgeous” section. Sadly, if one only reads BN’s extract of the article you would think that they had black girls exclusively in the “r.i.p.” section. A rather inflammatory article on your part, I would say.

    • tunmi

      April 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm

      That is part of the problem. All the “Hello Gorgeous” were women who were white or with European features. Even the one with the cornrows (gawdamn!!). Where are the other many groups in the US? Asian? Black American? Latina? Native American? Anything other than white/white-passing

    • Yeka

      April 3, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      I completely agree. simply putting up the pictures of black women would make one think that this article was solely about them. The article was about trends and not the beauty or integrity of women of color. I think putting things in context is imperative. The problem with the fashion industry is a term called White privilege and the apparent advantages that comes with thinking that euro-American is normalcy.

  11. Anon

    April 3, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I have a problem with the whole article. The caption is an insult to women. The article is very mean spirited, There is space in this world for multiple beauties and beauty trends. There is a saying if you don’t have anything good to say, say nothing.

  12. Anon

    April 3, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Both looks could have been represented but the same women. The part they took was unnecessary.

  13. Shopperoflife

    April 3, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Racism is a reality irrespective of how much the western world tries to be politically correct. The average white person does not have time for anybody of color. I live in the UK – here on an assignment and you are only properly acknowledged if you live in a large city and that is so long as you respect yourself. If you go to some places outside of London, a black face is a novelty. Even in cosmopolitan London, the posh shops almost do not want your business. I normally go about in the UK fresh faced – no make up And casually dressed. Until my friend said to me that this is not how to play. So, l go out now well dressed and face properly done when attending meetings or shopping if it’s a high end shop. I staggered once when one shop owner (in her view o) complimented me that l speak so well. My response was “I am educated and from Nigeria”. Or was it when my whole family went to the dentist? This person after hearing what we wanted done said “I think u should know that this is very expensive! Haba! My response came fast “I did not ask for your opinion”. If you are polite, l am polite but l do not for once deceive myself that any white person will go out of his or her comfort zone for my good. As far as l am concerned, the only kind hearted Oyinbos are missionaries!! Am l racist? I don’t know.

    • Anon

      April 3, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      If you go to some places outside of London, a black face is a novelty –
      Please can you name one of such cities? The UK has really opened up in the last 20 years with students and even sports people discovering other cities outside London. Even places like Stornaway, Sunderland and Newcastle have a large population of blacks.

      Even in cosmopolitan London, the posh shops almost do not want your business. –
      I disagree. Walk into any high end store on Bond Street, Sloane Street, Kings Road, even in the Trafford Centre and the Bullring, once they know you are a Nigerian they want our money because they know we spend. I have heard it endlessly that Nigerians have taste and we know how to spend money.

      I normally go about in the UK fresh faced – no make up And casually dressed. Until my friend said to me that this is not how to play. So, l go out now well dressed and face properly done when attending meetings or shopping if it’s a high end shop –
      Perception, maybe? Your confidence is key. How you dress up is minute compared to how much poise you have.

    • Shopperoflife

      April 3, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      @Anon You make me laugh. No bi dis UK? BTW my twin girls attend a private boarding school outside London. In their school, there are only four black pupils -three sets of black parents at all school events. My friends daughter is the only black student in her boarding school. Her parents just withdrew her to the U.S. ‘cos the girl couldn’t handle the subtle racism. As for shops, l beg forget all those high street shops. I’m not talking gbogbo ero. Go to boutique shops were they peep at you before opening their doors. No bi by boast my confidence no be for here but l am easy going until u find my trouble and since moving to d UK, l generally have this attitude that Shebi no one know me here. So, leave dat matter for those of us who know what we are talking about.

    • Anon

      April 4, 2015 at 5:36 am

      Now you have qualified it by typing about boarding schools. There’s a different demographics for that.

      Who mentioned high street shops? I said high end shops.

      Your confidence is high yet you switched your mode of dressing because someone told you to. Joker. It must be low for you to listen to an inane comment and switch.

      The laugh is on you. Change your perceptions

    • Shalewababe

      April 4, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      @Anon, You sound bitter. Shopperoflife only expressed her opinnion. As for throwing names of streets around, I hope you are not one of those who think “high end” begins and ends with Gucci, LV and Prada.

      I do not know where you live in the UK nor do I know of your experience. However, I know for sure that the shops on Bond street welcome Nigerians bcos we spend money like drunken sailors. Smiling at me by opening thin lips is different from smiling at me while your eyes light up. Have you tried returning an item as a black person to any of these high end shops?

      As for making up and changing your style of dressing -it is called being politically correct Like we all do from time to time. I work in a blue chip corp here in America and l know that putting my hair in braids all the time will limit me. Does that mean l lack confidence? Naaaaa. If you think so then you are a learner. Their music, their dance.

      Express your opinnion using your experience and move on. Sunderland? That is igberiko naaaa!

    • T

      April 3, 2015 at 11:02 pm

      I’m sorry but I do not believe a word of what you just wrote. I went to boarding school in England at 15. Went to university in Manchester and i’m currently doing my masters in London. The picture you have painted about the UK is FALSE!!!
      Especially your kings road comment! Go to any high end shop in london and they’ll tell you their biggest customers are Nigerian.
      Everyone knows the UK has a more of a class problem than a race problem. If your’e having all these issues then its probably because they think your’e low class or something. But definitely not because your’e black. Ask anyone how gypsy’s are treated in England. They treat them horribly and they’re all white!

  14. Mgbekefeelingfunky

    April 3, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Seriously, does everything have to be about racism with Black-Americans. There were only three or maybe four blacks featured in that piece. Plus there were way more whites lablleled as beauty don’ts in the “RIP” column. If they did not inlude any blacks, they would claim racism too. Abeg….the black-american population needs to take a chill pill and save their energy for the important battles…. Jeez

    • tunmi

      April 3, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Because it is so ingrained in every action. Once you learn to spot it, you can never not see it. So in the Hello Gorgeous for a major American magazine for women and young females, they could not find a better representative of the American population. Haba, it’s insulting.

  15. bug

    April 3, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Racism at it peak. Anyway we don’t care.

  16. missusK

    April 3, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Black people like to take a piss at everything. Read the article, think there were 3 black models for the donts out of 21.
    Why didn’t they just read the article and move on? I was more ticked off with the trends they put under the donts while some need to truly RIP, there are some which are still great IMO. I wouldn’t even have noticed the black models if it wasn’t mentioned here first.
    At some point we would need to stop playing the race card and grow up.

  17. Tosin

    April 3, 2015 at 11:58 am

    Clearly dark skin is another beauty trend that should die 😀
    Just kidding.
    Anybody that takes these industries seriously…
    Just love yourself. Stop running from pillar to post in the name of ‘beauty’, you are beautiful end of story.

  18. C'est moi

    April 3, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    It is the inherently racist ones that look to find racial arguments in such frivolous things, always reading intentions where there need not be. If I had seen the whole article first – which by the way has numerous white faces tagged in RIP I just wouldn’t have even noticed!

  19. TeeCee

    April 3, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    ofkus, it was! Wat else???

  20. Misi

    April 3, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Out of 2o images, there were 2 black girls. shouldn’t they use black models???

  21. tunmi

    April 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    And then someone will comment that they are tired of seeing Lupita. Well if you are, Cosmo has the perfect balance for you.

  22. Benjy

    April 3, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Please before you comment click on the source of this article and you will see that out of 21 pictures only about three of them are black women. We black people are to touchy. Go to the cosmo page and see it for yourselves.

  23. Fossil

    April 3, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Naija people…una dey do worst. U people were just insulting each other during & after the. election , calling any other tribe aside urs fools.. Wishing them the worst in life. My advise is take care of home people impressing the street. Sort out ur tribal issues 1st b4 complaining of Cosmo magazine racist issues.

  24. kim kardashian

    April 3, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    They will just laugh it off and apologize as they always do.

    Like, You want apology, here take it. There.
    Racism in America is at an all time high.

  25. fossil

    April 3, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Naija.. make una solve your tribal issues 1st b4 complaining about another country racist problem…

  26. Drknite

    April 3, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Haha, you got me Jennifer. There are 2 black models in the entire article. Nice race baiting>

  27. Regina

    April 3, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Why wont they be racist When some African people and some black America people want to look like oyibo, stop bleaching and stop wearing their hair.
    If you know your history you will know where you are coming from, do they want to look like us?hell no, no matter the bleaching and fake hair we are shit to them, to them White skin is beautiful.

  28. Kamal

    April 3, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    At times i look at ourselves and i just wonder. There’s a whole industry(weave, wig, hair extension etc) just for the inferiority complex of blacks and we are not a major player in it.

  29. Ebony

    April 3, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    RIP though? Really? Like the Do and Don’t wasn’t insulting enough

  30. Ebony

    April 3, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    But erm. The full article, there are Caucasians in the don’t/rip part. Just that there no woc in the do part.
    Black people should ignore somethings and stop giving these childish people attention I guess..

  31. judid

    April 4, 2015 at 3:43 am

    I read that article and there are more white faces than black. Maybe…just maybe..this just a suggestion……. maybe we blacks should stop looking for an offense in everything. The are only three black faces in that article. 15 of the other faces are white and the two photographs of hands are white. Does this still sound racist.

  32. lola Carey

    April 5, 2015 at 3:09 am

    @judid..but how come all d ‘ georgous ‘ are white.?since ur mind is only one track..

  33. pheberry

    April 7, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Do people go through the comments before typing theirs? Madam p just stated that there was an original article having all coloured women for the R.I.P. section. can we verify this please cause if its true then black people have a right to be highly offended.

  34. Ibinabo

    April 13, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Haba, I think this is overblown.. there are more that 10 white ladies on that post. BN please observe properly.

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