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9 Positive Ways to Describe Dark Skin

by - October 04, 2018

Recently I heard dark-brown skin described as, "charcoal". What a negative way to describe a dark complexion, right?  It was said in an attempt to be funny, however it has stuck with me ever since. I decided I would help provide some examples of more positive words to use when describing the type of skin that has been naturally blessed with extra melanin. Take a look at the list below and check out this video for nine positive ways to describe dark skin tones. 

1. Ebony 

Ebony is a dense, black hardwood. It is an almost black brown color. Black piano keys and black chess pieces are often made with ebony. The word ebony can easily describe the complexion of model, Khoudia Diop. She has very dark skin which is very similar to that of ebony wood. True ebony skin is quite rare, so I do not think it should be used to describe most skin tones.

Model, Khoudia Diop

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2. Espresso

We can naturally use types of coffee as inspiration for naming various shades of brown. More specifically, an espresso is typically pure coffee without additives like milk or cream. Espresso is typically one of the darkest shades when picking a foundation or even furniture pieces. The lovely Hollywood actress, Lupita Nyong'o shows what espresso skin looks like. 

Actress and model Lupita N'yongo

3. Chestnut Skin

Chestnuts have a nice, warm brown finish. It is medium-brown with a hint of red. There are also some other nuts that show a similar color including pecan, hazelnut and walnut. This color range can describe the skin of supermodel, Naomi Campbell. 

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Supermodel and actress Naomi Campbell

4. Mahogany 

Mahogany is a type of wood that is quite a few shades lighter than the aforementioned ebony. It is a very warm brown color with strong red undertones. It is similar to the pigment of former Destiny's Child singer, Kelly Rowland.

Singer Kelly Rowland

5. Almond Skin

Consider an almond's external skin. This color shows more of a lighter, even brown. Unlike mahogany or chestnut, this color does not have a reddish undertone, but instead a yellow one. The  model Jessica White shows off an almond complexion. Gabrielle Union would be another example.

Supermodel Jessica White

6. Melanin-Rich 

Melanin is the pigment that gives all humans their skin, hair, and eye color. Darker-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than lighter-skinned people have. The term melanin-rich or melanated gives a broader, scientific description of dark skin shades. The term has gained popularity over the past few years.  

7. Chocolate 

Who doesn't like chocolate, right? When describing a smooth, rich brown color there is one word that easily comes to mind. When using this term it is like having a two for one deal. A positive name for brown skin and also a sweet compliment.

8. Cocoa 

This describes the dark brown color of cocoa or cacao beans. This would describe someone closer to an ebony shade and is typically used to illustrate dark makeup colors. Cocoa is also a very cute name and maintains very positive, feminine vibes. 

9. Mocha

Well, hmm... PrettyMocha is the name of this site, so why not include this one in the list? We know mocha describes the color of a type of high-quality coffee. Specifically it describes a chocolate flavored caffe latte. This type of color can range from various shades of dark brown. Mocha is also used to describe makeup.

Now that you have an array of nice words to describe dark skin, please begin using them daily. Say them to others and use them to describe your own skin if it applies.


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