How I Learned to Love My Brown Skin

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Sometimes that voice in your head has no chill when it comes to hating on your looks.L’Oreal Thompson Payton, now in her 20s, learned how to shut it down and embrace her unique beauty — and you can, too.

Blonde hair. Big boobs. Blue eyes.

As a teen in the early 2000s, I thought that was the magic formula for beauty. At least, that’s what the teen magazines I subscribed to led me to believe.

Back then, our first lady wasn’t Black, Lupita wasn’t crowned one of America’s most beautiful people, and Beyoncé was not yet running the world. Simply put, brown was not beautiful … at least not to me. I was just an average teenage girl with brown skin, brown eyes, and wide hips. Oh, and glasses and braces, too. “Adorkable” wasn’t trendy yet, so I was just plain dorky.

When it came to boys, I preferred books. When it came to putting on makeup, I would have rather done math (even though it was — and still is — my worst subject). I was considered a nerd and my status as “teacher’s pet” certainly didn’t help my popularity either.

It took me a long time to learn to love the skin I’m in. I wish I could say that one day I went to bed and woke up feeling #Flawless, but that wasn’t the case. My self-hate brewed deep and it was going to take a lot more than a daytime talk show makeover to help me realize my inner beauty.

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