Despite rigorous “Black is Beauty” campaigns, a majority of people still prefer fair or light skin tones over darker ones. In particular, the media has perpetuated the controversial notion that beauty equals a light skin and thus put a lot of undue pressure on celebrities. Instagram, where one’s photos can be easily shamed and celebrated at the same time, has put even more pressure on those in the spotlight.

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How do celebrities lighten their skin?

In a bid to keep up, black celebrities have spent vast amounts of money trying to achieve a lighter complexion. The methods of skin lightening vary. Some go under the knife while others opt to use harsh bleaching creams, chemical peels or chemical serums.

The health-conscious ones have opted for less risky methods such as Vitamin C, Retinol, Arbutin, herbal supplements,or even vegan products to achieve a lighter tan naturally.

Without further ado, here is a list of the celebs that have taken this route.


singer Beyoncé before and after skin whitening

Beyoncé Knowles, the music queen herself, is the first on our list of celebrities who bleached their skin. However, hers is not so much bleaching as it is brightening.

Many speculations have pointed to chemical peels or microdermabrasion as the technique used to achieve a slightly brighter skin tone. In fact, if you are not keen enough, her before and after pictures may appear the same. Maybe her hair color transformation could be responsible for this confusion?

Nevertheless, gone are the days when this company would get public scrutiny for apparently digitally altering Queen B’s looks in a TV ad.

Nicki Minaj

Nicky Minaj before and after skin whitening

When the news of Nicki Minaj’s skin whitening broke, no one was taken by surprise. The rap celebrity has gone from a teenager with dark skin to a very fair woman over the years.

What actually surprised the world is Nicki’s denial of skin bleaching talk directed at her. Usually, she is not one to sit behind the curtains and hide over something she strongly believes in. Well, she has her own reasons for this but really, Nicki?



We vividly remember the Pon De Replay video like it was shot yesterday. Obviously, we recall the killer dance moves first but importantly, the fair skin color of the girl in the video.

RiRi has definitely been through rather rigorous treatments to achieve her present skin color. She has been rumored to be using Glutathione whitening pills in the past, though there are better options.

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Like Nicki Minaj, the sensational music star hasn’t confirmed this, but the change is clearly noticeable.

Lil Kim

Lil Kim before and after skin whitening

Legally known as Kimberly Denise Jones, Lil Kim’s skin lightening rumors populated the internet for the longest time. For many people, it is not clear whether her progressive change in her skin color is indeed a result of bleaching or use of heavy make-up.

Lil Kim's self-hatred makes me sad. Attacking her is wrong because she's already broken inside #400YearsOfColorism

— Shashana