Tips! Tricks! Techniques!
How to: Make Up Darker Skin Tones
Mon, 16 July 2012 2:28PM
Sorry Evil Queen, I’m not “the fairest of them all”.
My nanna used to tell me, “embrace the skin you’re in, darling. There are women out there who would die to step in your shoes”. I used to give her a fake smile and walk away with a wish to be fairer.
This only goes to prove the clichéd saying of ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. Well, in this case, ‘whiter’ on the other side.
Yes, indeed, I am talking about women with darker skin tones. Such as Freida Pinto:
Me? I come from an Indian background – 100% Indian, with no other culture in the mix. For those unaware, the variations in skin colours seen in India are similar to the diversity in hair colours seen here. From the richness of walnut brown to light oak wood, you’ll find them all. Basically, we all look perpetually tanned back home (jealous?). My insecurities were brought to you by my medium hazelnut skin colour.
Call it a female trait, or just a nasty habit of self-deprecation, but women usually wish to either be a shade darker or lighter. Pale girls are slathering on tanning lotions while those of us with darker skin tones are applying fairness creams. What a strange world, no?
Honestly, I never really got into bleaching creams, although I did wish for fairer hands, feet and skin. Oh, and hair. I dreamed of being able to visit a hair salon and go crazy experimenting with colour, with very little worry about ‘what will suit my skin colour?’ Yes, giving Katy Perry a run for her money with green streaks was my lifelong dream.
Also, being surrounded by beautiful, fair-skinned girls with tangerine lips and blonde streaks didn’t help much either. Barring a few beauty brands that acknowledged darker skin-toned models for their campaigns, most advertisements glorified goddess-like white models. Being a magazine hoarder since the age of 15, it was quite useless to read about fake tanning and bronzing lotions in every summer issue. Now there’s nothing wrong with that, but as a consumer, it became difficult to relate to these models, as the majority of those endorsed shades of lipsticks or foundations wouldn’t suit my skin colour.
But thankfully, my dark-skinned homegirls in Hollywood have drilled a lot of hope and inspiration into my silly head. Beyoncé, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry, Joan Smalls, Freida … all have rocked some killer beauty looks on the red carpet in recent times.
Over the years, from imitating paparazzi photos (with sometimes horridly wrong results) and from personal experiences, I have learnt a lot about the exact pink hue that’ll make my cheeks blush and which shades of red lipstick will make me smile in confidence.
And because sharing is caring, I’d like to tell all the wonderfully dark or olive skinned Primpers reading this what my nanna once told me: embrace the skin you’re in, darlings!
FOUNDATION: Personally, I don’t wear any foundation because a tinted moisturiser and illuminator do the job for me. But if you wish to invest in one, then Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation SPF 15 in Warm Honey, $78, from department stores, is almost like liquid gold. It feels like velvet on the skin and does a stellar job in creating a good base with top-class hydration.
CONCEALER: When one of these is sold every 10 seconds in the entire world, how can you not be part of this beauty phenomenon: YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch, $55, from department stores. Technically, it’s more of an under-eye illuminating liquid than a concealer. But I’ve found that it sinks into the skin while also camouflaging the dark shading under the eye. Shade 5.5 is a winner for light brown skin with yellow undertones.
TINTED MOISTURISER: For days when you only want light coverage, Hissy Fit Saving Face in Medium, $55, from department stores, is your BFF. You’re also permitted to cheat and not put on any sunscreen prior to this, as there is SPF 30+ in this tinted moisturiser.
ILLUMINATING BRONZER: This one can get very tricky, especially for women with deep skin colour, as you don’t want to look darker than you already are. However, to still get that healthy shine and glow on the skin, use an illuminating cream bronzer. Gorgeous Cosmetics Cheek Crème in Crème Brulee, $35, from department stores, really works for me. It’s got subtle golden tints with bronze undertones. It’s creamy, with a bit of shimmer, so use it minimally on the highest points of your cheekbones during the day. Go nuts for an evening affair.
BLUSH: You have the option to skip this step altogether, as darker skin tones don’t particularly need any more warmth. However, if you must, pick a deep burgundy or fuchsia shade with high pigmentation. Give MAC Powder Blush in Breezy, $41, MAC, a go; another favourite is NARS Blush in Gina, $45, Mecca Cosmetica.
EYESHADOW: An intense, well-done smoky eye looks glamorous on every skin colour, with dark skin tones being no exception to this. My biggest splurge is the Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Smokey Eyes, $58, from department stores. But for the days I don’t wish to channel Kim Kardashian, I like to explore other colours in the wheel, like the purples and the greens. Revlon CustomEyes Shadow & Liner Compact in Rich Temptations, $25.95, from pharmacies, is a fun, playful palette; Bobbie Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Black Pearl, $50, department stores, is a rich and mature shade that stays on forever.
EYELINER: This is where all the fun is. Try a teal or purple hued eyeliner. It’ll make your dark eyes pop and give that extra va-va-voom to your beauty look. The hits in my books are Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Eyepencil in Forest, $38, from department stores; Clinique Cream Shaper for Eyes in Starry Plum, $32, from department stores; and for dark long-lasting drama, try Maybelline EyeStudio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Black, $16.95, from pharmacies.
LIP COLOUR: Choosing a lip colour isn’t as exhilarating as an eyeliner, because there are a few rules to abide by. Just as not all dark skin tones can carry off a plum lipstick, not every light brown-skinned woman can pull of fire red lips. If you’re after a brown shade of lipstick, the usual advice is to pick a colour that’s a shade or two darker than your own skin colour. Clarins Lipstick in Tender Rose 101, department stores, is one of the best neutral shades. Want to go bolder? Think of wines, plums and red grapes. The satin texture of Burberry No.19 in Brick Red, $49, Burberry, is immensely luxurious. Other options are, MAC in Rebel Red, $36, MAC, for its deep purple tones, and Tom Ford Lip Colour in Black Orchid, $65, from selected David Jones.
So, there you go, my fellow lustrous-skinned Primpers. Hopefully you’ve gathered enough courage to stand up for your immensely glorious complexion.
Now, dish. Do you have any great dark-skin make-up tips and buys? Share your secrets, c’mon!
- Shitika Anand
Posted by: Katrina Lawrence