“I love the fact that beauty is becoming more inclusive and representative of all of us! If there’s one thing that unites us all it is that looking good gives us confidence,”
says Denise Rabor, Founder of WOW Beauty, an online platform to celebrate the beauty of diversity. With such a refreshing perspective, we couldn’t wait to interview Denise, a celebrated international make-up artist with experience of working on major publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, ELLE & Vanity Fair.
Melan Magazine: Would you say the beauty industry is getting better at recognising, and including women of colour?
Denise Rabor: Yes and no. Yes, some brands are indeed making an effort to be inclusive and I applaud them for their efforts, it’s refreshing to see women like Lupita Nyongo representing Lancôme and more recently Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for no.7 in the UK: these brands are making a clear statement.
No, because in 2016 this shouldn’t even be a thing…we live in a time when globalisation is a buzz word, when diversity and inclusion protocols are everywhere that we look, a world where technology is blowing our minds; and yet the basic science of providing a broad spectrum of makeup colours is beyond the capabilities of some of these mega brands. In 2016 it’s shameful for brands to fail in such a basic area. In 2016, women of colour whatever that colour is, shouldn’t need to feel grateful for being included.
MM: What are your top beauty myths about black skin?
DR: There are still some people who don’t think that it’s important for those with darker skin tones to wear sun protection: it’s a myth. Yes, darker skins have more melanin which provides more protection against sun damage than Caucasian skin, but here’s the thing: we do need effective SPF protection because we do burn and the damage caused by over exposure leads to uneven skin tone in some. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate.
Every so often I hear women say things like ‘we can’t wear bright or bold makeup colours’: that’s a myth.
Darker skin tones look gorgeous with bold or bright colours, it’s just a matter of knowing which shade in a particular colours’ spectrum suits your skin tone, as well as knowing how to apply it. I think that a lot of this comes from lacking the confidence to accentuate your bold beautiful features.
MM: Looking back on your career, who had the most gorgeous natural skin?
DR: That’s a really difficult question; Because I’ve worked mainly in fashion and beauty, most of the beauties that I’ve made up had great skin. If pushed I’d say that the awesome Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell, Yasmin Le Bon and Aishwarya Rai.
MM: What are your top three anti-aging creams?
DR: To be honest I think it’s more about how you’ve looked after your skin over the years than any specific creams…don’t get me wrong I love lotions and potions. I’ll bring it back to the inner beauty idea: you can use all the ‘anti-ageing’ creams that you want but if you are not nourishing your body with the kind of foods that create healthy skin…if you’re overdoing the salt, sugar and stress etc.. , if you allow yourself to get dehydrated …if you don’t protect your skin with sunblock…then all that you’re actually doing is lubricating your skin and dealing with the surface issues when you apply creams.
MM: What top five beauty products can you not live without?
DR: 1) Body moisturisers in the form of body oils, rich lotions and body creams with Shea butter.
2) Fragrance: I am a perfume addict and if I had to choose between perfume and makeup …perfume would win every time.
3) Mascara and khol pencil
4) Nourishing food full of antioxidants and essential fatty acids
5) Rest and relaxation and vacations in the sun and laughter 🙂
MM: How important is health and wellbeing to outer beauty?
DR: From my perspective, there is no real and lasting beauty without good health and wellbeing; sure we can put makeup on, but while makeup can do a lot to make us feel good, it can’t make our eyes sparkle, or our skin glow with vitality. I think that over the last couple of years there has been greater alignment between the worlds of beauty and wellbeing, which helps us to understand the importance of what goes into our bodies and how we look after our emotional and spiritual selves.
MM: How do you relax?
DR: I have to be honest and say that I’m a work in progress; like many women in business I’m a bit of a workaholic and there’s always stuff going on in my mind. I love going on vacation to hot, tropical places. I am however making time to unwind. I love to read as reading has always been an escape for me. Oh yes, and music, movies, eating amazing food, laughter and stupid jokes.
MM: What do you regard as your greatest career achievement?
DR: There have been many proud moments and achievements, but I’m not sure that there is a “greatest”. My career is a work in progress and as such there are many proud moments to reflect upon and many more to come.
MM: What’s next for WOW Beauty?
DR: To continue developing into an inclusive space sharing beauty, wellbeing and inspiration for women of the world.