Beauty Tips & Tricks

How To

How to Use Makeup to Look Amazing if You Have Dark Skin

16 Oct, 2018
By Andie Reeves
Thanks to the internet and the growing world of beauty influencers of a variety of skin tones, dark complexions are finally being catered for more in the beauty world. It can still, however, be harder to shop for makeup to suit you when so many ads feature women whose skin and features don’t resemble yours at all. Here are some pro tips and hacks for dark skinned beauties looking to up their makeup game…

1. Foundation First

  • First formula, then colour. Make that your mantra, then you can’t go wrong. Look at formulas that cater for your skin type or condition – for oily skin, a mattifying, oil-absorbing foundation, for drier skins, seek out a dewier formula. If you do still shine halfway through the day, don’t reapply powder as this can look cakey. Rather pat the area with an oil-absorbing blotting paper, like the one from Palladio.
 
  • Next, decide on the texture: liquid, cream, stick or powder. That is personal preference, but be careful with creams and liquids if you’re oily. Make sure they say oil free or mattifying, or you will end up very shiny.
 
  • Lastly, find the right shade…easier said than done. Be sure to test colours from your cheek to your jawline, and not on your hand. Choose around three shades you think look right, swatch them on and let them sit on your skin for a bit. Once they’ve settled you should be able to see which one looks the most natural; the shade that ‘disappears’ is the one for you.

    When testing out shades it’s best to see how they look in natural light as the artificial lighting instore can distort the colour, so always go outside for a final check before you make your choice.

    A rule of thumb for South African girls is that they tend to have a yellow undertone, so go for warm-based foundations with a golden hue, not ones with pink undertones as these will go grey on your skin. And if it turns orange (because of the oil in your skin) or ashy (because it has too many chalky pigments), move on. If not, buy it.
 
Pro Tip: If you have trouble finding the perfect shade, you may need to mix two shades to get the perfect fit.

Our product picks: Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Matt And Poreless, Revlon Colorstay Makeup Combination Oily, Yardley Stayfast Foundation, LA Girl Pro Coverage HD Long Wear Foundation, Black Opal True Color Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation and Palladio Oil Absorbing Blotting Tissues with Rice Powder.

Read More. Want to Find Your Perfect Foundation? Here's What NOT to Do

2. Two-Tone Trick

If you have dark skin, your face is probably a few shades lighter than the rest of your body. It’s also likely that your skin tone differs across your face, so how do you get an even complexion when your jawline and forehead are a darker shade than the centre of your face? The best advice we’ve heard is to choose a foundation in a colour that matches the skin tone on your neck, so that your tone is totally even.

Another misconception is that dark skin doesn’t need bronzer, but every skin tone looks amazing with a glow! To add dimension to your foundation, go in with a copper-toned matte bronzer afterwards, applied in a ‘3’ motion on both sides of your face - temples, cheeks and jawline.

Our product picks: Black Radiance Artisan Baked Bronzer in Gingersnap, Palladio Baked Bronzer in Caribbean Tan and LA Girl Velvet Bronzer Contour Stick.

3. Clever Camo

Orange-y concealers are your BFF. Hyperpigmentation, where certain areas of the face are slightly darker than others, is common in women of colour. Neutralise these areas before you put on your foundation to make for a more even finish. A colour correcting concealer with an orange or salmon tint to it works wonders as it cancels out purple tones. And if your skin tone is quite deep, you can even use a red toned colour corrector to do the same job.

Another trick that sounds crazy but actually works for dark shadows under your eyes is applying a creamy red-orange lipstick. This counteracts any blue-purple tinge and is invisible once you apply your foundation and a skin toned concealer over it.

Our product picks:
For colour correcting: LA Girl Pro Concealer in Orange and Maybelline Master Camo Color Correcting Pen in Red for very dark circles.
For concealing: Yardley High Definition Concealer Pen in Dark and Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in Deep.

Read More. Are You Absolutely Sure You're Not Using Your Concealer All Wrong?

4. Finishing Touches

Highlighting is often over-looked as women are worried it will make them look oily. This isn’t true, however, and a little bit of highlighting can add a stunning natural glow to your face. Avoid silver or white toned highlighting products – these look unnatural and ashy on a dark skin. Instead choose warm colours – a rose gold or bronze would be best.

Translucent powder is a great way to set your make up in place for the day, however if you have a dark complexion it can give your look a slightly ashy feel. If you find this is a problem, rather choose a powder in the exact shade as your foundation or use a setting spray.

Our product picks:
Highlighters: Gosh Giant Sun Powder, LA Girl StrobeLite Strobing Powder 20 Watt and LA Girl Velvet Bronzer Contour Stick in Goddess.
Powders: Yardley Translucent Loose Powder in Bare is a good translucent option for dark skins. For skin toned powders try Revlon Colorstay Pressed Powder in Caramel and Yardley Stayfast Pressed Powder Refill in Caramelise.

5. Go Bold with Eye Colour

Women with dark skin can pull off lots of exciting shades on their eyes. Steer clear of white and pastel colours, which will wash you out, and go for jewel tones, bright pops of colour and warm golds and bronzes. If you want a beautiful natural eye, go for natural metallics like golden, coppery or pewter shades.

You could also mix two complementary shades like purple and gold. Using a four- or five-shade eye shadow palette takes the guesswork out of choosing complementary shades if you’re not sure.

Instead of using a basic black eyeliner, go for blackened shades like indigo, amethyst or forest green. Don’t forget your mascara and, for an extra glam touch, try false eyelashes.

Our product picks:
Eyeshadow: LA Girl Beauty Brick Eyeshadows in Neons, Palladio Crushed Metallic Eyeshadow in Blue Moon, LA Girl Inspiring Eyeshadow Tin in Get Glam & Get Going and Maybelline Nude Eyeshadow Palette in Burgundy Bar.
Eyeliners: Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil in Purple Rain, Catrice Kohl Kajal in So Bluetiful! and Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil in I Have a Green.

Read More. Simple Insider Secrets on Exactly How to Apply Eyeshadow Right

6. Ditch the Black Brows

Because we have black hair, our brows need to be black too, right? Not really, say most top make-up artists. This look can be ageing and make your face look hard. Rather go for a two-step brow, using a medium dark brown and deep brown combo, using the darker shade at the ends of your brows so it looks more natural.

For a natural looking brow, brush it on with small feathering motions so it looks like your eyebrow hairs, rather than a hard solid line.

Our product picks: Essence Eyebrow Stylist Set in Natural Brunette, Black Opal Brow Shaper Kit in Deep Brown and Rimmel Brow This Way Brow Sculpting Kit in Dark Brown.

Read More. Here Are 5 Easy Steps to Shaping the Most Amazing Brows

7. The Cheek of It

Lighter skins may look best with pastel pinks and subtle flushes on the cheeks, but dark skin looks incredible with super bold hits of colour. The colours may look way-too-bright in the pan but against your skin they will just bring your face to life. Try deep mauve or bright fuchsia if you have cool undertones, and an orange-hued shade if you have warm undertones.

For a softer shimmer you could also use a bronzer which will brighten things up and give your face a warm glow. Sweep it over your cheekbones to sculpt and add definition.

Pro Tip: For a strobing effect, apply a touch of gold shadow on the top of the cheekbones and on your collarbones, where the light catches, and blend well.

Our product picks: L’Oréal True Match Blush in Nectarine and LA Girl Just Blushing in Just Fearless.

Read More. How to Use Makeup to Make the Most of Your Face Shape

8. Statement Lips

The lips are another area where you should totally play around with colour. A bold fuchsia is great for summer, berry tones will warm up your face, oranges add radiance and chocolate-tones are great for every day wear.

Nude lips are pretty much always on trend. To find your best nude, ignore the shade names and just pick a colour which is two shades darker than your skin tone.

Pro Tip: Use a nude lipliner to outline your lips into a perfect shape before applying your lipstick. This will ensure you don’t have any dark lines on the edges of your lips.

Our product picks: Catrice Ultimate Lip Colour in Purple Pinker Ball, Yardley Stayfast Lipstick in Plumberry, Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain in Crush, Black Opal Color Splurge Liquid Matte Lipstick in Ruby, L’Oréal Infallible Matte FX Lipstick in Lip Disturbia, LA Girl Matte Lipgloss in Instinct, Catrice Velvet Matte Lip Cream in Sweet Choco-Nut, Black Opal Color Splurge Liquid Matte Lipstick in Fabulous Fuchsia.

Shop Your Products Now

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Catrice Ultimate Lip Colour - Purple Pinker Ball 140
R 79.95

Essence Eyebrow Styling Set
R 51.95

Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil - I Have a Green 12
R 26.95

Essence Long Lasting Eye Pencil - Purple Rain 27
R 26.95

LA Girl Beauty Brick Eyeshadow - Neons
R 99.95

LA Girl Inspiring Eyeshadow Tin - Get Glam & Get Going
R 119.95

LA Girl Just Blushing - Just Fearless
R 99.95

LA Girl Matte Lipgloss - Instinct
R 54.95

LA Girl Pro Concealer - Orange
R 62.00

La Girl StrobeLite Strobing Powder 20 Watt
R 149.00

LA Girl Velvet Bronzer Contour Stick - Brazen Bronze
R 49.95

LA Girl Velvet Bronzer Contour Stick - Goddess Bronzer
R 49.95

L'Oreal Infallible Matte FX Lipstick - Lip Disturbia 006
R 134.95 R 169.95
On Promotion

L'Oreal True Match Blush - Nectarine 163
R 172.95

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer - Deep
R 81.95 R 102.95
On Promotion

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation Matt And Poreless - Caramel 350
R 81.95 R 102.95
On Promotion

Maybelline Nude Eyeshadow Palette - Burgundy Bar
R 255.00

Palladio Baked Bronzer - Caribbean Tan
R 145.00

Palladio Crushed Metallic Eyeshadow - Blue Moon
R 99.00

Palladio Oil Absorbing Blotting Tissues with Rice Powder
R 69.95

Revlon Colorstay Makeup Combination Oily - Caramel 1 013
R 299.00

Rimmel Brow This Way Brow Sculpting Kit - Dark Brown 003
R 102.95

Yardley High Definition Concealer Pen - Dark
R 99.95

Yardley Powder Loose Translucent Bare
R 149.95

Yardley Stayfast Lipstick - Plumberry
R 122.95

Yardley Stayfast Pressed Powder Refill - Caramelise
R 119.95

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