A Transnational Analysis of Skin Tone Ideals in Cosmetic Advertisements in Women's Lifestyle Magazines

Wanjiru G. Mbure, Jennifer L Stevens Aubrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


A content analysis of cosmetic advertisements in British and Kenyan women's lifestyle magazines from 1955 to 1975 (colonial time period) and 2000 to 2010 (postcolonial period) was conducted. The findings suggested Eurocentric beauty ideals originated in the colonial period, whereas British magazines set the pattern for skin tone. In the postcolonial period, an increased similarity of ideals was observed with Kenyan models reflecting the Eurocentric ideal in skin tone. Differences in gender portrayals reveal that the light skin ideal may be targeted more toward women than men. Meanwhile, changes in British magazines reveal the skin tone of models becomes slightly darker as skin tone for Kenyan magazine models become lighter. This suggests a homogenization of skin tone as different local cultures move towards what is considered ideal on a global level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalHoward Journal of Communications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Apr 8 2017


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Strategy and Management

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