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Nude stockings, nude lipsticks, nude foundations, nude heels, nude lipsticks. We all know nude as a standard beige colour that’s often used as the go-to descriptor for skin-tone. But what is the term nude really describing? More importantly, who is it referring to? Nude Against Nude is a powerful advertising campaign that wants brands to stop using “nude” interchangeably with “beige” and “cream.”

Why is this important?

The term nude — particularly in the beauty and fashion industry — is meant to denote a colour resembling the wearer’s skin. When a person of colour doesn’t quite match that nude bra, lipstick or pair of shoes, the term is othering. It implies white is the standard.

“This widespread usage of ‘nude,’ interchangeably with beige, is another instance of casual racism. This is because as a society where white privilege prevails, white is the standard skin tone and non-white skin is other. This idea that ‘nude’ is one color results in an astounding range of products which make no attempt at inclusivity,” the site says. The campaign has also created a petition that requests beauty brands to change the names of current nude products to more apt descriptions like beige or cream.

True, some strides have been made — Aerie recently released a line of inclusive nude shades and indie shoe label Kahmune wants to launch a range of nude shoes this year — but as these striking images tell us, there’s a long way to go.


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