Humanae: Food and Pantone Matching System to talk about skin tones

This ongoing project from the Brazilian artist, Angélica Dass, is a fresh take on the issues surrounding skin tones. For the last 10 years, she took portraits of people all around the world to match their skin tone to the Pantone Matching System (used by the design world). I love it!


Every time I have to describe my skin colour I refer to food: 1 pint of Guinness, a handful of milk chocolate and a drizzle of caramel for the undertone. It started as a joke with my friends, one of them ask me if I was drinking “that much Guinness to keep my skin dark”. We laughed and everyone was adding his/her ingredient to the mix until we finally agreed on that recipe for a “Sarah’s skin tone”.

And guess what? Angélica does the same in this video about the creation of the Humanae project. Food more than basic colours gives a new dimension to how we create our skin tone from things we like or not. The story behind the project is inspiring.

I grew up in Switzerland, in a small town where until 2 years ago it was impossible for me to find a foundation for my skin tone. I had to travel to the capital, Bern, or other bigger cities to find some. Before 2009, I didn’t even know foundation existed for other skin tones than the shades of white/pink/peachy colours which filled the make up aisle. I read an article about Michelle Obama and there were a few beauty tips. Excited, I wrote down two brands for “dark skins”: M.A.C and Bobby Brown. It was a miracle, I could finally wear makeup like all my “white” friends!

It is ridiculous that we use “White”, “Black”, “Yellow” etc when there are so many shades. Thank’s to cultural mixing no colour can represent a nation, we need to think in a nuanced way. Each skin tone is unique and beautiful.



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