Monday, 23 June 2014

How To #6: Make-Up for Darker Skin Tones

Being mixed race, it took me years to find a foundation that didn’t make me look like Casper the friendly ghost, let alone make-up that actually complimented my skin tone. So lucky you folks, I’ve done years of trial and error, epic fails and experimentation so you don’t have to.


It is hard for anyone to get an exact foundation match, but is made even harder when you have a darker skin tone. Luckily, there are loads more options now than ever before. It is paramount you have the closest match possible for your skin tone, too dark and your face doesn’t match the rest of your body and you are left with tan like lines and too light you look like you’re dressing up for Halloween. I’d recommend this for any skin tone but the best advice I can give you is ask a make-up consultant next time you are in a cosmetics store. For some bizarre reason, women seem more embarrassed to ask advice at a make-up counter than they are getting their bra size measured. They’re advice is useful and free- bonus! They’ll help you find the closest matching colour foundation to your skin tone.  

My Epic Fail: Maybelline Dream Nude AirFoam in  'Caramel' (too dark!) and Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in 'Sun Beige' (too light!)

My Pick: Max Factor Second Skin Foundation gives flawless but light coverage and doesn't feel heavy on the skin- I wear shade 080 'Bronze'

Added extras: Concealer and Powder

Concealer is one of my must have make up items- add to your problem areas to cover imperfections.

Go easy on the powder, but I find powder particularly useful if I want shine and oil free skin as it helps create a matte effect. Dark skins are also more prone to being oily so I often favour powder over foundation as a cover up.

My Picks- Max Factor Pan Stik concealer can also double up as a light foundation, so I sometimes wear this on its own. I wear shade 'Cool Copper.' Other picks include Max Factor Powder in 'Medium Beige' and 17 Bronzer in 'Medium'.

Skin Care
This doesn’t really apply to any specific skin tone, but I find it unnecessary for women to put so much make up on their face. Give your skin a break! I once went a week without face make up and my spots and impurities had dramatically cleared up. As I said before, darker skin tones are more prone to oil and spots/impurities so simple cleansing and moisturising will mean even your make up free skin is flawless!

My Pick: Clean & Clear Morning Energy Shine Control Daily Face Wash. This is also an oil free product so doesn't add to the oil on your skin. I also love Simple Moisturiser, but I'm all out *cries*


My epic fail: Value moisturiser-I love a bargain but cheap doesn’t always mean it will be as effective, and this is definitely true of moisturisers.



Guess what? If you have a darker skin tone, your options are endless! Bright eye shadows pop on darker skin tones and bronze tones create an Amazonian look. Smoky eyes also look amazing on darker skin tones- make sure you blend it in well, and if you are looking to create that extra effect, add on a pop of colour around the inner corners of the eyes. I love Urban Decay eye shadows, and Naked Palette 2 is like my beauty bible. Lighter eye shadows such as pinks and creams/whites, I usually avoid, as I think it makes my skin tone look washed out. Don’t be afraid to be bold!

My Pick: Urban Decay Naked 2 palette and Urban Decay NYC palette

My Pick: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette- some gorgeous nude shades for day and night. I would recommend this edition over the newer Naked Palette 3 for darker skin tones.

My Pick: Limited Edition Urban Decay NYC palette- this palette is so fab I only use it for special occasions. My recommended shades for darker skin tones are circled in red.

My epic fail: pale palette colours, such as peach, white and cream- wouldn’t advise using these as a base colour, but they can be useful when placed in the centre and inner corners of the eye against a darker colour for a ‘wide awake’ look.


Lips are a tricky one when it comes to darker skin tones. I am still yet to find a lip colour that was “made for me.” Lighter lip colours such as peaches and pinks are a no-go for darker skin tones. This is because often, the colour of your lips is darker than the actual lipstick colour, so again can make you look washed out, or like you’re trying out the 80s electronica look. Personally, I avoid lipsticks as a given rule as they dry my lips out. During the day, I either wear Vaseline cocoa butter, or Benefit lip gloss in ‘Dallas.’ Of an evening, go bold with bright lip colours. I’m channelling Rita Ora at the moment and love her Rimmel London collection which include 'Colour Rush' lip crayons, which I find stay put longer- who has the time to reapply anyway?

My Pick: Rimmel London Colour Rush Lip Crayon in 'The Redder the Better' gives hours of lasting colour. During the day, I love a nude lip gloss such as Benefit High Flying lip gloss in 'Dallas'

There are no rules here! I am yet to find a nail colour that looks terrible on dark skin tones. Bright colours such as neon yellow and green look amazing on darker skin tones.

Go Bold! This summer, I am loving bright nail colours, which look amazing on darker skin tones.

My epic fail: White nails- can look fab on most skin tones but wasn’t cutting it for me.

Need more make up advice for dark skin tones? Below are some great YouTube tutorials:

A budding Beauty Queen? Check out the beauty blogs 'London Beauty Queen' and 'Raspberry Kiss' in my Must Read Blog List to the right hand side.


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