Black and ebony seem like the same thing – the black piano keys are called ebony, so is there really a difference? When it comes to skin tone, we hear Black skin called Ebony all the time. What is the difference between black and ebony?
Well, if you’re asking about colors on the color spectrum, that’s an easy question to answer. It has to do with where ebony first came from and how it became an integral part of our lives. From piano keys to furniture, ebony and black have some distinguishable differences.
However, Black and Ebony skin tones can be harder to define. When it comes to technicalities, we can talk about dermatology and makeup palettes, but it’s difficult to define the skin color. One thing we can say for certain is that Black or Ebony, it’s all beautiful.
What Is the Difference Between Black and Ebony?
Black and ebony might seem like the same color, but they aren’t. While black is an absence of color, ebony is named after a type of wood. Although there’s much more to the words black and ebony than just their color definitions, we’ll start there before talking about the difference in skin tones.
Black is not a color. It’s generally described as an absence of all color or a complete void of color. This concept may not make much sense at first, but it has to do with how the human eye sees colors and identifies them.
To perceive colors, human eyes reflect light off of objects at various wavelengths. For black, no light is reflecting. This is why we see black when our eyes are closed or when there is no light source to show us the true colors of something.
Black is a common color for clothing, furniture, and accessories. Because it is the absence of color, it matches everything and is easy to pair. While ebony usually refers to things made of wood, black can be anything from cars to clothing.
In reality, nothing that we see is black. Most things labeled as black are very, very dark gray because we can see the light reflected off them to make them look black. True black is the absence of any light or color, and we wouldn’t be able to see that unless it was very dark.
Ebony comes from the wood of a tropical tree. It’s extremely dark, almost black, but has reddish and brown undertones. Trees with ebony wood are native to tropical climates and have been harvested for anything from furniture to piano keys.
The ebony in trees hides under a regular color bark. Inside the tree is beautiful, almost-black wood. It’s been used in furniture and for piano keys because it is a hardwood that lasts and keeps its color. Even though ivory is no longer used in piano keys because of poaching, many black piano keys are still made from ebony.
Ebony as a color is very closely related to black but usually has a more mahogany or reddish undertone. There is a greater shine to it and it often has more depth than a black piece of wood. Because ebony is a natural tone of the wood, it has a natural beauty that doesn’t need paint.
Black vs. Ebony Skin Tone
Of course, we commonly hear ebony in terms of skin tone. While Black skin is a general term for anyone of African descent (whether that’s African American, African, or otherwise), Ebony skin tone has a specific look. Black skin can vary from light brown to dark ebony, so technically, Ebony is a specific Black skin tone.
Black skin and the color black are different. Because Black has come to mean more for African Americans than just a color, it doesn’t have to match the shade of someone’s skin. Black Americans of all skin tones come together under the color Black as brothers and sisters of the same race.
There’s usually no reason to define the different Black skin tones. However, when it comes to makeup palettes, dermatology, and skincare, diverse amounts of melanin do make a difference. This is why we’re defining Black vs. Ebony – because you must get the skincare and beauty routine that you need for every skin color!
Within Black skin tones, there are thousands of different shades. Some people refer to all Black skin tones as ebony, which can be unifying. However, if we want to get technical, Ebony skin is the darkest and smoothest of Black skin.
Ebony skin usually refers to extremely dark and smooth skin. It’s beautiful, like all Black skin, and often has a dark shine to it with a very little brown undertone. Africans and African Americans with ebony skin tones have some of the darkest skin tones and rarely if ever, get sunburned or damaged.
Often, those with ebony skin are African. While this isn’t always the case, it’s more likely to be from genetics and DNA. However, there are beautiful people with ebony skin all over the world, from Ethiopia to California.
Ebony Skin Tone Care Tips and Health Risks
If you are blessed with ebony skin, the first thing you should do is keep yourself and your skin hydrated. Well-hydrated skin will glow with health and retain the soft sheen of ebony skin. Here are some of the best skincare tips for ebony skin:
- Always stay well-hydrated
- Keep wounds clean to minimize scarring
- Wear sunscreen – you won’t burn, but it could cause hyperpigmentation
- Get regular skin checkups
- Moisturize and cleanse your skin daily
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly
Ebony skin is classified by dermatologists on the Fitzpatrick scale – a scale denoting darkness or lightness of skin by exposure to UV rays. It doesn’t match all skin types but was created to help people decide how much sun protection they need. Ebony skin is class VI and receives the least damage from the sun, never burning or freckling.
However, people with ebony skin tone are at a higher risk for abnormal scarring. Because the skin is so dark, a scar will show up more intensely, especially if it comes from a certain type of healing tissue (a keloid scar). While these scars will be more visible, they won’t cause any more damage to the skin or body.
While folks with higher melanin don’t get sunburned as easily, this doesn’t mean that they can’t incur sun damage. Dermatology is crucial if you have ebony skin because it puts you at a higher risk of certain types of skin cancer. Wear sunscreen and sun protection and visit your doctor regularly to maintain ideal skin health.
With proper maintenance, moisturizer, and general health, your ebony skin will glow with natural beauty. No one can be as beautiful in your skin as you are, and your natural color is what makes you perfect.
The Difference Between Ebony And Black, Final Thoughts
Black and ebony are close to each other on the color wheel and mean different things when it comes to skin tone. However, whether you are talking about the difference between ebony wood and the absence of color or Black vs. ebony skin, there is beauty in each of these colors.