The new black

I want to update my make-up.

I want to move seamlessly from the 80s retro look to a fresh spring face. The easy thing to do would be to buy a couple of women's magazines and see what they suggest. But there's a problem. As a black woman, I can be sure that none will be able to advise me. Yes, they will have plenty of beauty news and pictures of how to wear the current looks, but they will all be modelled on skins in varying degrees of white. Black women spend five times more than their white counterparts on hair products, and three times more on cosmetics, according to the organisers of the Afro Hair And Beauty show. Ignoring black women isn't just annoying, it's bad business.

This month's Vogue doesn't feature one black model - unless you count a rogue Benetton ad and a snapshot of an unnamed woman backstage at the latest round of fashion shows. Vogue doesn't carry the strapline "for white women" - but it might as well.

Of course, the fashion bible isn't the only culprit - every women's magazine and most weekend supplements have beauty pages. They all ignore the black woman. No powders in our shades. No hairstyles for our hair. No creams for our skin. Yes, I know we're all the same on the inside, but on the outside we're just not. My hair is not the same as a white person with "curly hair just like an Afro", my skin is not "just like yours when you go abroad". I'm different.

I know I can turn to magazines such as Pride, or Black Beauty, but why should I have to? I want to be in the mainstream. I want to see myself in the magazines I buy. Sure, I might get a picture of Naomi Campbell or Alek Wek, but come on... I doubt Naomi has problems finding trousers to fit, and Alek is so stunning she is rarely made up at all. These two are hardly examples of the average black woman - and why should they be? Black skin, like white, comes in many different shades - blue-black,brown with red undertones, or brown with orange undertones. This is a column about those different skin tones, hair types and body shapes. I can't promise to find the perfect jeans, shampoo or powder, but I'll try.

• Hannah Pool's column on black beauty appears weekly.

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