Model Winnie Harlow has been celebrated for bringing a fresh perspective to the runways and the world of fashion. With her vitiligo (a condition that affects skin pigmentation), Harlow has a distinct appearance, and while her presence in the spotlight has raised awareness and acceptation of the condition, she’s not here to be a mere “movement.” She’s here to be her.
As such, her beauty philosophy and expression of self-care is something we all need to hear.
“I’m not a ‘Vitiligo Sufferer.’ I’m not a ‘Vitiligo model.’ I am Winnie. I am a model. And I happen to have Vitiligo. Stop putting these titles on me or anyone else.” she said in an interview with Elle.
She warns that putting labels on people—even if those labels are intended to be positive—can keep us from seeing each other as nuanced individuals who defy tidy and generic definitions.
“I am tired of [my vitiligo] being ‘the thing’ or ‘the movement.’ It just needs to be the norm. We are trying so hard to get out of one box, but then place ourselves in another one, rather than just opening doors,” she explained to Coveteur.
Unsurprisingly, Harlow is adamant about defining beauty on her own terms and not allowing the ideas or words of others to get in her way or change her opinion of herself:
“I don’t care what other people think of what I look like when I model, but I put a lot of pressure on myself. I have my own idea of what beautiful is. It may not be what the photographer, makeup artist, or viewer thinks is beautiful. I have my own idea to what is beautiful to myself, of myself. That is what is important.”
“The real difference isn’t my skin. It’s the fact that I don’t find my beauty in the opinions of others. I’m beautiful because I know it. Celebrate your unique beauty today (and every day)!” She said on Instagram.
It’s hard to imagine that people would be cruel to a stunner like Harlow, but then again, people are people… Fortunately, the wise-beyond-her-years model commented, “[I started ignoring bullies] a few years ago. Although, even today, people will say something to me, and I will have to remind myself that actually, [what they’re saying] isn’t true. I know better.”
She continues, “My beauty philosophy is very general—beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I try not to focus on what someone else thinks is beautiful. People will always say, ‘What is your definition of beauty?’ or ‘What is beauty to you?’ It doesn’t matter. What is beautiful to you? Let’s stick to that. You don’t have to search for someone else’s definition of beauty to know what is beautiful to you.”
When it comes to her beauty practice, Harlow’s routine is right up our alley (hint: it involves several oils!).
“[At night] I wet my face with warm water and I always have a new rag, every single day. That was so Jamaican of me, ‘new rag.’ My laundry can build up, but the towel stuff cannot, because I need a new one every single day. I take my lashes off first, obviously, and I wet my face with warm water, and I get the warm water soaked up in my skin. Then I pour warm coconut oil into my hands, rub it together, and emulsify all of the makeup. I take that rag and I wet it a little bit and wipe the makeup right off. It is good for your skin and takes your makeup off so easily. I don’t use any makeup removers. I’ll wash afterwards with African black soap, then moisturize.”
African Black Soap is known for its gentle detoxifying properties.
If Harlow isn’t dousing herself in coconut oil, she turns to another popular natural skincare staple, avocado oil:
“I don’t shop. If I shop, it’s for skincare. My skincare routine is so complex. I take off my makeup with avocado oil and tone it with tea tree oil. Then I use an anti-aging oil and rub that into my skin and have a face cream, and so on and so forth. It’s a lot,” she told W Magazine. It is a lot–and we’re totally here for it!
Avocado Oil–an amazing source of skin-loving fatty acids that can also help dissolve oil-based makeup products.
What’s your beauty philosophy?
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Photo: Respective brands, Winnie Harlow via Instagram