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African American Makeup Tips

Several decades ago, there were no makeups formulated specifically for African-American women. Fortunately, times have changed. Due to the pioneering efforts of supermodel Iman, who spent years comparing, creating and testing color palettes that complemented darker skin, there is now a wide array of products on the market for African-American women. With a few basic guidelines, you can achieve a look that is glowing and beautiful.


Before purchasing any foundation, look at your skin under good lighting so you can determine its undertone. Ebony skin often has a blue undertone, which is cool, while brown complexions typically have gold undertones, which are warm. Select a color and test it along your jawline rather than your neck, which is often a different shade than the face. Look for oil-free formulations, or try the new lines of mineral foundation that add glow without clogging pores.


Begin with neutral tones rather than bright colors, although darker skin can support more dramatic contrasts. For warm complexions, try brown, bronze, gold, tan or pumpkin. For cool tones, you can try some mauve, purple or pink accents. Use eye liner to draw directly inside or outside the lid to emphasize your eyes. Try a shimmery white, such as MAC Nylon, along the brow bone for accent.


Blush is a great tool for emphasizing the face’s contours. Use a honey hue with some shimmer, or go deeper with plum or terracotta. Begin on the apples of the cheeks and follow the line of the cheekbones. You can even use very neutral blushes along the brow bone.


Lip color can be bold and bright, or neutral with just a bit of gloss. Either way, begin with lip liner to define the lips and add staying power for the color. At nighttime, deep berries and reds or shimmery bronzes look glamorous.

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