At Byrdie HQ, it’s our MO to celebrate beauty from every corner of the world. The beauty customs of different cultures are unique and steeped in history, and by learning about them, we’re able to expand our own perspectives (not to mention pick up a life-changing new tip or two). That’s why we’re proclaiming this week Global Beauty Week and paying special homage to women far and wide, from Thailand to Russia and beyond. Each day, we’ll honor the beauty practices, trends, and traditions of our sisters around the globe—complex, intriguing, and versatile as they are. Enjoy!
As a former Birchbox employee who starred in many beauty tutorials for its website, Deepica Mutyala had a revelation one day that she should create her very own YouTube channel where she could share the lessons and tips she’d learned throughout her life. Fast-forward to a mere two videos later, and the newly minted vlogger had already gone viral (we’re talking over nine million views) with a video that’s still garnering traffic and buzz (more on that later). Needless to say, the girl’s got some tips worth knowing, especially when it comes to Indian women and South Asian beauty. Mutyala took some time from her busy schedule to share those tips with you, dear Byrdie readers, so keep scrolling to find out what they are!
1. Choose the Right Brow Shade
“You know that feeling you get after getting your eyebrows threaded? (Yes, I said ‘threaded’ because— let’s be real—we South Asians love us some threading.) You look in the mirror and think, This completely changed my face. That’s the same effect that filling in your brows has! I’m telling you: It’s one of those things you won’t be able to live without once you start doing it. You’ll notice your entire face looks like a little more put together!
“I don’t always use a brow pencil—sometimes after doing my eye shadow, I take one of the shadows and start filling in my brows. It really takes the brows to another level. An important tip to know is that you shouldn’t fill in your brows with a color that’s the same as your hair—which in most Indian women’s case is black. It will look extremely harsh and overdone. Do a shade lighter that’s almost closer to your skin color rather than your hair. I usually use a dark-brown shadow, but if you’re ever in doubt, the Universal Brow Pencil from It Cosmetics ($24) is great and works on all skin tones.”
2. Always Wear Sunscreen
“I will be the first to admit that I was a latecomer to the SPF train and am so ashamed to say so because I now can’t emphasize the importance of wearing sunscreen enough! It protects your skin from being damaged by UV rays and prevents long-term skin effects like wrinkles. I’m telling you that your 70-year-old self will thank you if you start applying SPF now. Your makeup is only as good as your skincare! If you don’t take care of your skin first, your canvas won’t be ready for painting.
“Growing up, my skin never ‘burned’ or turned red, but I always applied it because I didn’t want to get dark, which of course, in the Indian culture, isn’t thought to be attractive. It’s funny how things change, because I now love the way my skin looks when it’s sun-kissed and think tan skin is beautiful, and I love seeing Indian women who are darker than me embrace their skin color as well. Feeling comfortable in your own skin is the MOST important factor in feeling beautiful, and that comes from embracing who you are—fair-skinned or not.”
3. Ease up on the Eyeliner
“South Asian women tend to wear extremely heavy eyeliner—I was guilty of this too, but it’s because of how we were raised. Bollywood actresses dating back to the ’60s and beyond have worn thick ‘kajal.’ I remember my mom used to apply it on me even in my baby pictures! I think we think that our eyes look dull without it, but the real trick to making your eyes look awake is good mascara and brightening concealer under the eyes. I love using a brown pencil liner on my lower lash line for a more day-to-day natural look. It draws attention to your eyes without looking too harsh.
“Most Indian women tend to have larger eyes; however, if you have smaller eyes, stop the eyeliner halfway—by taking it all the way to the corner of your eye, it’ll close your eyes in rather than open them up. Also, using a nude or white eyeliner in the waterline of your eye helps them pop if you do happen to have smaller eyes. I even do this some days when I look super tired to appear more awake.”
4. You CAN Wear Nude Lipstick
“In terms of finding the right nude lipstick, it really is a trial-and-error process, but what I do want Indian women to know is that we CAN rock a good nude! My friends always tell me they are intimidated and think it makes their face look dull because it’s too chalky—however, I found that rose-tinted lip colors are a safe way to go and work well with our skin tones.”
5. Color-Correcting Is Key
“I think if you took a poll and asked South Asian women what their number one beauty concern is, they would say discoloration of their skin, and probably 90% of those women would say specifically dark circles—I fall into this statistic! For years, I would put on concealers and foundations hoping to hide them, but even with the heaviest products, I had issues. That’s when I started to experiment with color-correcting. I know it can sound scary, but it’s really simple if you think about it! Just look at a color wheel and see what shades are opposite each other, and apply that to your face. The green colors under your eyes counteract an orangey-red color-corrector. Similarly, redness on your skin can be color-corrected with a green color. By applying color correction to your makeup regimen, you’ll notice an immediate change in the way your skin looks. I especially see it on video and in pictures!
“When I used red lipstick under my eyes to mask dark circles a year ago, I had no idea how fascinated the world would be! [Ed note: It’s the viral video that’s paved the way to countless media opportunities for the vlogger.] It was a trick I had used for years. Now, there are so many brands launching actual color-correctors that are meant to be used under the eyes that I’ve fallen in love with, but a girl always needs to have a good beauty hack in her back pocket!”
6. Embrace Your Roots
“South Asian rituals are some of the biggest trends in beauty right now. Remember all those home remedies we saw our mom cooking up in the kitchen? Coconut oil slathered ALL over her hair, turmeric masks on her face, or that time she said we would regret getting our hairy eyebrows thinned out, and we thought she was insane, right? Well, lesson learned because as usual, Mom always knows best. Sometimes there isn’t a need to go buy a fancy new product when you can create something you’ve seen made at home your whole life.”
Ed note: Quotes have been edited for content.
This story was originally published on March 18, 2016.