Skin colors around the world

About Skin Color

The evening before I left Lisbon to go to India for my new spicy life, I decided to go bra shopping. I didn’t know what kind of lingerie I’d find in Delhi, so I thought it’d be a good idea to go equipped from Portugal itself.

I visited one of the outlets of the famous chain Women’s Secrets and asked the shop assistant to find me some bras my size. I liked one of the models she showed me and so I asked her:

Z: “Do you have this bra in any other colors?”

Shop Lady: “Yes, we have it in white, black and skin color!”

The last thing she said got me thinking!


I am white and she was black and

she is trying to sell me a “skin color” bra!!


What the hell am I supposed to assume skin color means?! I know, from previous experience, that skin color means a darker shade of beige, closer to the caucasian skin color, and that it’s used mainly by white people when they wear semi-transparent clothes, as “skin color” doesn’t show through.

But isn’t the term “skin color” wrong to refer to this tone? I think it is. I guess people just don’t think about it. Otherwise I doubt this lady, being black, would say it, when the color doesn’t clearly correspond to her own skin tone. I wonder how she would have reacted if I had asked “black?!” in response to when she said “skin color is available”!


This is what comes up on Google images when you type “skin color bra”:

This is what the world understands when you say "skin color bra"

This is what the world understands when you say "skin color bra"


I guess it’s not a racist thing as such but

it’s one of those little details that can be annoying

when you think about it.


And after this bra episode, I thought about other products that come in “skin color”.

The most obvious one and that actually shows (unlike bras – or most of the bras, let’s say!) is band aids. I never thought why band aids look like they do, but now I realize that they are supposed to be “skin color”. That color exists so that band aids are discretely covering your wounds… but what about when people don’t look that same “skin color”?!

Then, they look like this:

Mommy: is this really a skin color band aid?! :(

Mommy: is this really a skin color band aid?! :(


I know now they start making band aids for different skin tones (or even see-through ones, which might be a better solution for all!), and they should!

But what they should also do is rename that “skin color” term so commonly used, particularly in the fashion industry, for “beige” or whatever color this might be.

The difference between wearing a skin color band aid and one that actually matches your skin!

The difference between wearing a skin color band aid and one that actually matches your skin!



Fashion Industry: it’s about time you change this old fashion term!

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  • good point, zara!

  • Jessica Says

    I’ve never thought about this before, but you’re totally right! I can’t think of any shade more diverse than “skin colour”.

  • Zara Says

    Thanks girls! :)

  • manish Says

    I came across your site while googling the slavery in Dubai, I am yet to write my opinion on that blog, so much so I am moved that I need right words to express my anger about the plasticness and fakeness you have exposed.
    But this time you made me your fan, i mean …. you really got “under the skin” of this whole band-aid issue.
    I will be following you closely to read your views on India.

  • Mozue Says

    I actually never thought about that, but this was a very interesting article. That is why I love to travel – there is always something new to learn and think about.

    • Zara Says

      I am glad you enjoyed reading it, Mozue.
      As you travel, there is always something new to think about.. indeed!

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