Huda Beauty's Guide To Vagina Lightening Sparks Major Controversy

Photo: Ashley Armitage.
Huda Beauty's vibrant eyeshadow palettes are a cult favorite among beauty bloggers and makeup enthusiasts, but the beauty brand went viral late last week for all the wrong reasons. The company, founded by popular Instagrammer and makeup artist Huda Kattan, is facing intense backlash for a blog post advising women how to lighten the color of their "lady parts."
Originally published on April 7th, the post, titled Why Your Vagina Gets Dark And How To Lighten It, includes tips from "trusted expert" and board-certified dermatologist Doris Day, MD. (Oddly, the word "vagina" is also used throughout, when the brand presumably is referring to the labia β€” the external, visible parts β€” as opposed to the vagina, which is internal.)
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Dr. Day runs through "DIY vagina lightening hacks" that include putting lemon juice, yogurt, coconut oil, and egg white on the area, as well as various tips to "avoid the hyperpigmentation (darkening)" of vaginal skin in the first place. This is despite the fact that it's perfectly natural for the labia to be darker than the rest of the body. Dr. Day even states that "reaching your ideal weight" could determine the color of your privates, as "excess weight can lead to friction, which can cause darkening." She goes on to recommend women ask their dermatologist to "prescribe a prescription brightening cream or chemical peel" containing ingredients such as hydroquinone and tranexamic acid.
People are irate that a well-respected brand would dip its toe into the highly controversial waters of skin lightening, especially as it relates to the vagina. A Facebook post on the brand's official page promoting the article has racked up more than ten thousand reactions, several hundred shares, and hundreds of angry comments. "I unfollowed this page over crap like this," one person wrote. And, as many pointed out, there is nothing wrong with or unnatural about having dark labia.
People on Twitter and Reddit also shared their opinions, with many criticizing the article for fueling women's insecurities and upholding toxic and unachievable beauty standards. Others were puzzled as to why a cosmetics company was even discussing women's genitals in the first place. Popular beauty blogger and expert Caroline Hirons called the brand out in her Instagram Story, asking, "What are you expecting when you're down there? Blackpool Illuminations?"
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The original post on the Huda Beauty blog has since been updated "to address some concern." The brand said it "appreciates and respects" people's opinions on the issue, but that the goal was to provide "expert advice" to women who did want to alter the color of their intimate skin.
"We do not feel lightening your vulva (vagina/ lady parts/ VJJ,) is necessary. Our goal is to give details for those who may wish to, by sharing expert advice from a leading dermatologist," and to steer women away from following the "harmful DIYs on the internet," the update reads. Sometimes, the road to public backlash is paved with good intentions.

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