Achieving a natural makeup look that uses as little product as possible while also enhancing the features and being undetectable is definitely an art where practice makes perfect. Often times too much product is used or not the right product is used. What’s been donned as “Instagram makeup” has been a top makeup trend for years now but if you are like me and are tired of seeing faces hidden under strategic and heavy makeup, you might be gravitating more towards natural makeup now. It’s important for women, but especially dark skinned Black women, to experiment with makeup and make sure it’s done in a way that doesn’t heavily effect their self-esteem.
Though it may not be talked about much, wearing a lot of makeup on a regular basis can definitely change the perceptions you have of yourself and you start to look at yourself differently once the makeup is gone. I’ve been there, which is why I try to encourage Black women to work with their features instead of against them, since our beauty and features are often scrutinized and labeled as less desirable. The makeup world has currently been under the spell of nonblack women who chop, plump, and chisel their features enough to look racially ambiguous by emulating the features of Black women while including European standards of beauty, like a slim nose. That style of makeup has definitely made its rounds in the Black community as well and it’s time we rethink our relationship with makeup and how we paint our faces for the world.
1. A Natural Base
The most important part of achieving this look is to have great skin which isn’t unachievable at all. With the right research, appropriate products, and consistency, you’ll have the perfect base for your makeup and may not even need to wear foundation at all. One of my favorite places for skincare advice is the Geom Girls group on Facebook, it’s a small community of women of color who chat and give each other skincare advice. I highly recommend joining if you’re new to skincare or if you’re a skincare enthusiast.
In the meantime, instead of masking the skin and using a full coverage foundation all over, opt for using a light base like a tinted moisturizer or light-coverage foundation (they tend to be the more runny, water-based foundations). Then go back in on areas where you need it with a full coverage concealer like the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage or the NARS Soft Matte Concealer. That way you’ll have even skin that looks naturally flawless and won’t be covered up.
2. Embrace Bushy Brows
Have a couple of stray hairs while waiting for them to grow out? Do you naturally have big brows? Work with it! There’s nothing better than a natural looking brow with fullness and texture. If you don’t have the fullest brows, you can use a brow pencil from Colourpop for lighter hairlike strokes. After also when it comes to using concealer on the brows, less is more and don’t go too light or too close to the brow. Just enough to lightly highlight the area and clean up the brow to give it that freshly done look while still looking natural. Then to set them you can use a brow gel like Boy Brow from Glossier or this tinted brow gel from Miss A. If you brush your brow hairs up and out, you can give the illusion of a wider and fuller brow.
You can also use products like Jamaican Black Castor Oil or this Cocokind Brow Balm at night to help grow them out. The idea behind the brow balm is that it helps to moisturize the skin and hair in the brow area, as dry skin and flakes can inhibit growth and actually cause some hairs to fall out sometimes. So make sure to keep your brows moisturized too!
3. Don’t Be Afraid Of Blush
Blush can sometimes be the secret product to bring your face to life and enhance your natural glow. Berry shades like Haze from Glossier tend to look best with our skin. Orange blush is also super underrated and helps add a more warm and bronzed look to the skin. Juvia’s Place has a blush palette that’s perfect for dark skin and has two blushes, berry and orange, as well as two highlighters and a contour color.
4. Use Less Powder
I personally have oily skin but surprisingly don’t use powder often because I actually like the way my skin looks when it gets oily because it’s healthy looking. Many people are afraid of sebum and try to keep their skin matte at all times but I like to think of it this way; matte skin reminds me of corpses, lifeless skin, while oily skin is the opposite. I’ve gotten over looking at oily skin as a dreaded curse the way most people do, especially the beauty industry as a whole.
To set under eye concealer, it’s best to press in a light layer of loose powder with a dry sponge instead of baking as it can look to dry and powdery. Then set the areas that tend to get oily with a good translucent powder like this one from Nars, Fenty Beauty (my favorite at the moment), or Laura Mercier.
5. The Perfect Nude
I briefly mentioned my favorite nude lipsticks that I recommend for dark skin in this post and my recommendation still hasn’t changed because I have yet to find any better colors than these For the record, nude doesn’t necessarily mean the same color as your skin but rather a shade that is on the muted side and compliments your skin tone. Cork by Dose of Colors and Ashton by Anastasia Beverly Hills are two of my favorite go-to nude lipsticks. Cork is a beautiful warm mid-tone brown with a hint of peach that’s not too light, not ashy, and not too dark to be a nude. It’s the perfect shade of brown if you’re looking for a lighter brown nude lipstick.
Ashton is more of a pink-toned nude that I would describe as a terracotta that’s more on the pink side since the darker you are, the more pink it shows up as opposed to brown.
Make sure to line your lips with a brown liner like Mac’s Chestnut lip liner to avoid a stark contrast between your lipstick and skin tone. The lip liner will help to blend the lipstick into your skin and create a gradient effect so that it looks more natural.
6. Get The Glow
I’ve already written some posts here and here on the best highlighters for dark skin from all price ranges and different types like powder, cream, and liquid. Cream and liquid highlighters are the way to go if you want a natural and seamless glow that blends right into the skin. A trick I learned recently was to apply a thin layer of lip balm like Aquaphor or Vaseline to the cheekbones. You can wear it by itself or you can layer a powder highlighter on top of it to take the powderiness away and make it more creamy, it works like a charm.
If you need a visual and want a great tutorial for a natural beat, Zendaya has a tutorial on her website doing makeup on her dark skinned friend and it’s gorgeous! She didn’t use a lot of product and let her natural beauty show through while slightly enhancing it.
“Erin Dyana is a freelance writer with a focus on pop culture, criticisms, and beauty. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Urban Social TV, Wear Your Voice Magazine, Clementine Zine, and Philadelphia Print Zine. In her free time she likes to create art, watch films, read books, and eat everything in sight."