How to Choose Makeup for Dark Skin?

Author: Marina

Mar. 07, 2024



Tags: Beauty & Personal Care

How to choose makeup products suitable for black and mixed skin? Is it easy to find the right gestures ? You often tell us, it is not obvious.

By following our 5-point tips, you will know everything to easily succeed in your beauty.

Adapted hydration, luminous complexion, glow blush, colorful eyes and ideal mouth: here is a program accessible to all to make no missteps !

1. Moisturize : the basis of a perfect makeup!

The basis of beautiful makeup is well-hydrated skin. We get a better result, a good hold and a smoother complexion. Black or mixed skin tends to shine.

Using products that are too astringent to treat the " oily skin" effect overactivates sebum secretion and accentuates dehydration.  

You must therefore proceed gently  and prepare your skin before makeup to :

  • soothe this inflammation,
  • mattify fatty areas,

  • maintain an optimal level of hydration.

Perform a suitable cleaning with a lotion or a gentle purifying solution. Apply a care that is both moisturizing and mattifying for an ideal makeup base. Avoid textures that are too thick : they clog pores. Wait a few minutes before wearing makeup.

2. Bet on a luminous complexion

Choose a foundation color that is in harmony with your skin tone. Today, the color palette offered by make-up brands is finally varied for black and mixed skin. However, it is not always easy to navigate this wide choice of shades. If you missed it, find our tips to succeed in your selection in our article on skin undertones.

Apply your foundation with a brush preferably. Then bring a touch of brilliance to illuminate the shadows, and create relief with the strobbing technique. Apply a  lighter highlighter to the bridge of the nose, cheekbone bone, chin, below and above the eyebrow.

A concealer or foundation with 2 shades lighter than the first can play this role of illuminator. Very dark skin should focus on golden hues. The mixed skins will be sublimated by a more coppery shade. Finally, if you tend to shine, matif the T-zone by powdering slightly.

3. Awaken your complexion with a glowing blush

The blush or " blush " is the secret good looks.   Depending on the gesture, it even has the power to " restructure" your face. It is sometimes difficult to select the right product and the right color! Also master your application, if you don't want to look like a clown !

Blush comes in powder, liquid or cream texture. Bet on these last two, because the enhancement  of black and mixed skin is easier with fluid textures. They are applied to the finger or with  a makeup sponge.

For a " glow " effect, put the blush on your cheekbones: smile and make the bulging part of the cheek. If you want to refine your round face instead, put your blush in the hollow of the cheeks. Have a light hand and stretch the color on your finger for a natural result.

Black skin absorbs color, so dare a very bright or even " flashy" blush . For dark skin, choose pink, fushia or plum. Terracotta, apricot or bronze colors embellish matte skins.

4. Dare a colorful look!

Cream texture or pencils rich in colored pigments are more suitable for black skin than powdered eyeshadows. Harmonize the color with that of your eyes. The blue eyes will be sublimated by grays and pink shades. Green eyes will go towards coppery hues. Brown eyes can afford anything!

Here are variations depending on the dominant of your complexion :

  • Ebony black skin:

    iridescent, golden, bronze tones will warm your complexion. No brown but black is highly recommended ! All cold colors: candy pink, fuschia, blue, purple...

  • Your



    pulls on the orange : favor


    shadows of brown, yellow and copper color.

  • Rather " 

    caramel " complexion: bet on




    ochre or khaki.

Highlight your eyes with a line of eyeliner or black kohl pencil flush with the eyelashes. Apply your black mascara , length or volume, as needed. Structure your gaze by brushing your eyebrows. Fill the spaces with a specific pencil of brown color for a natural result. For a complete tutorial, read our article on ideal eye makeup.

 5. Draw your ideal mouth 

For dark skin, the upper lip is naturally darker. So before putting on the lipstick, draw the outline with a semi-matte dark  pencil, ideally enriched with jojoba oil.

Never black : the goal is not to define the contour of the mouth, but to balance the complexion of the lips. The plum will be perfect for a natural result.

If you find your mouth too fleshy, you can refine it by using the contour  pencil inside the lip. If your lips are too thin, draw the outline on the outside. The gloss can bring a touch of volume and make your mouth more luscious.

Choose moisturizing textures for a mouth with makeup all day long. On the color side, treat yourself: red, orange, pink, plum or fushia, from nude to flashy, everything goes to black and mixed skin.

But be careful, always harmonize your lipstick with your blush.  

This makeup tutorial is rather simple and easy to follow. If successful, it will sublimate your natural beauty.

You can, of course, focus only on the eyes, or the mouth, or just work on your complexion. But above all, an optimal beauty treatment results from a regular care routine. Keep your skin glowing with health by never  forgetting the essential gesture of removing makeup every night.

As a woman of color with dark skin prone to hyperpigmentation, picking a good foundation is akin to gambling in Vegas: victory is uncertain, getting played is likely, and expectations are generally better than reality. Plus, mistakes are expensive — makeup will cost you coins. My foundation journey kicked off when I was 16 with a Fashion Fair product I received as a hand-me-down from a cousin who was not even the same skin tone as me. Let’s just say I am so, so glad camera phones were not a thing back then because there are no living records of that ashy monstrosity.

After moving to the U.S. from Burkina Faso, I started worshipping at the altar of the M.A.C. counter and upgraded to Studio Fix Fluid in NW58. While that was likely much better than whatever I was rocking before, I learned with time and research that I could still do better. Social media (especially YouTube) played a large role in my education, but I also listened to several professional makeup artists and did a lot of research on my own. The tips below are the ones I used to find my holy grail complexion products; I hope they are useful to anyone on the market for a new foundation.

For reference, see my bare skin below (only my brows are done because they are bald AF and my microblading is fading). I have combination skin, with an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) and mostly normal skin on the rest of my face. I also have a bit of hyperpigmentation around my mouth and under my eyes, as you can see.

Dafra Sanou

1. Determine your undertone

What even is an undertone? I will not even lie — I spent way longer than I would like to admit trying to answer this. The best way I can explain it is that an undertone is like your skin’s personal Instagram filter...except it’s always there. Every complexion product therefore has to take that “filter” into account because its tint will affect which colors complement the skin. Undertones can have warm hues (gold, yellow), cool hues (red, pink, blue) or neutral hues (olive), and where they fall will influence which kinds of foundations one should gravitate towards. Still with me? Awesome.

Follow up question: How do I find my undertone?

How to Choose Makeup for Dark Skin?

How to Choose Foundation for Dark Skin Tones


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