Backlash over 'vagina lightening' advice

Makeup guru Huda Kattan has spoken out about the importance of beauty brands to be inclusive to different skin tones, but a recent blog post from her Huda Beauty range is now being accused of being insensitive and body-shaming.

As Refinery29 U.K. reports, the controversial blog in question is devoted to a dermatologist’s DIY tips on lightening a “dark νagina” (which is actually internal; it’s the labia that is visible).

According to a Facebook post promoting the tips, the pigment of one’s private parts is “a real issue.”

The April article includes advice from beauty expert Dr. Doris Day — not to be confused with the actress of the same name — who notes that hyperpigmentation is typically caused by friction and can be avoided through weight loss and moisturising the area.

Day also recommends a DIY treatment using lemon juice, coconut oil, and rose water.

But the post has sparked a backlash from women who don’t think they should be pressured over the appearance of their most intimate area.

Is hyperpigmentation really an ‘issue’? (Photo: Giulio Fornasar)

“Lip darkening is NATURAL, you don’t need to make it lighter so you look like a prepubescent little girl to ‘appease’ men,” read one comment. 

“Any νagina beauty contest going on???” cracked another critic. 

“I unfollowed this page over crap like this,” another commenter wrote. “What’s next? A highlight and contour for my νulva? Bore off.”

“‘Real issue’???” read another reaction. “WTF! Is having a dark νulva not normal? If we don’t lighten it, will it make our men dump us? Ok fine, nice message.”

“Did someone notice it’s the labia major and minor that get dark and not the νagina itself?” added someone. “Who cares what it looks like from inside as long as it is healthy!”

An update on the Huda Beauty post acknowledges the controversy, but references the use of DIY treatments — which are often considered unsafe — more so than the complaints about the so-called need to lighten the area in the first place.

The brand does concede that the procedure is not “necessary,” however.

“Hey guys, we wanted to address some concern over this topic,” the note reads, “We appreciate and respect everyone’s opinions on this subject and want to express that we do not feel lightening your νulva (νagina/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. We’ve seen a lot of harmful DIYs on the internet, so we hope this post provides the best information on the topic and offers safe ways for people to do this, should they wish to.”

Skin lightening in any form has been a controversial practice, since it has been accused of shaming those with darker skin. What’s more, many products used to bleach skin contain harmful ingredients, which have prompted bans and FDA warnings.


Got a story tip? Send it to

Want more celebrity, entertainment and lifestyle news? Follow Be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.