A Guide to Makeup for Tan Skin Tones

The warm undertone in tan skin gives off a gorgeous vibrancy. Whether you have naturally tan skin tones or acquired them from time in the sun in a tropical paradise, tan skin is all about peachy, golden, bronzish or orangey undertones. When choosing makeup for tan skin, keep an eye out for these warm shades. Learn our top tips and tricks for makeup for women of color, including specific makeup colors for tan skin with our beauty tips below.  

Foundation for Tan Skin  

Creating flattering makeup looks for tan skin starts with the right foundation. Foundation application is usually the first step in a makeup routine and is the key to vacation makeup tips and everyday routines. By blending foundation smoothly over your face, you create an even canvas for the rest of your makeup. 

Foundation Coverage

If you are blessed with an even complexion already, you can go light with foundation coverage.  Mented’s foundation sticks are buildable so you can apply for whatever level of coverage you need. If you want lighter coverage, you can apply less and the lightweight and hydrating nature of the foundation will help you feel fresh all day long. On the other hand, ladies who prefer more coverage can go heavier-handed and still feel covered for their needs. 

Foundation Color-Matching

Choosing a foundation that complements your skin tone and undertones is a must. This is especially true when it comes to how to wear foundation in the summer. Go too dark and you’ll look overdone. Go too light and you might look ashy. Just as bad are foundation shades that look off-color on your skin, thereby appearing orangish or cakey. 

Mented foundation sticks come in specific tones within four color categories: light, tan, medium and deep. Made by and for women of color, we’ve created foundation shades that are perfectly pigmented to flatter all skin tones from light to tan to deeper shades. While most women with tan skin will use one of our four foundation shades within the tan category, some women will need to go into the lighter or darker foundation categories. Regardless of whether you are lighter or deeper, tan skin typically needs a warm undertone, rather than a cool undertone. You can zero in on your exact shade with our foundation shade finder

Pro Tip: If your tan skin is a result of sunbathing, you’ll need foundation a shade or two darker than what you usually wear. Many of us need a deeper foundation shade for summer makeup and a lighter shade in winter.

Concealer for Tan Skin

Concealer is the closest thing there is to a magic wand to get flawless skin. Usually a shade or two lighter than your foundation shade, concealer is applied under the eyes to cover up bags and discoloration. Concealer can also be used to dot and blend over acne, scarring, rosacea and other imperfections for an instant cover-up. Blending is key, otherwise the spot of lighter concealer on your face will be noticeable. 

Concealer as a Highlighter

Concealer is not only a corrective makeup tool that erases blemishes, but it also doubles as a highlighter to accentuate features. To use it as a highlighter, try applying concealer as follows:

  • At the center of the brow and fanning up through the center of the forehead
  • Just below the outer corners of the eyebrows
  • At the inner corner of the eye and into the ridge besides your nose
  • The area under the eyes, in the shape of an upside-down triangle
  • The middle of the chin

Concealer Color-Matching

Getting the right concealer color for your skin tone is imperative for natural-looking coverage, and Mented makes shades of concealer for women of color so you can find your perfect match. Remember, the concealer should be a shade or two lighter than your foundation. A concealer that is too dark will not achieve the desired effects as a corrective eraser or highlighter. As a person with tan skin, you’ll want to reach for concealers that have warm undertones, rather than pink or cool hues. If you’re unsure about what shade is your perfect match, check out our concealer/contour shade finder.

Blush for Tan Skin

Getting the best blush shade to flatter tan skin is as important as selecting the right foundation and concealer. Too pink of a shade on your cheeks and the cool undertones can make you appear sallow. As with foundation and concealer selection, you’ll be on the lookout for blush colors with warm tones and undertones. 

Putting warm blush color selection into practice, let’s use pink shades as an example. With tan skin, you’ll want to skip a true pink. Instead, grab a rose color with a bit of red or orange in it. Likewise, you’ll want to stay away from taupes, purples and other blushes with lots of purple in them. 

Here are some blush colors that will sing on your tan skin:

  • Warm pink shades like strawberry, rose, punch, or cranberry 
  • Peach shades like apricot, salmon, coral or true peach
  • Orange shades like melon, sherbert, tangerine, or papaya
  • Red-brown shades like claret, currant, mahogany, or raisins 

Blush with Rich Pigmentation

Blush selection goes beyond determining tones. You’ll also want to pay attention to the depth of the color. The deeper your complexion, the deeper the shade you will need in order for it to stand out on your skin. We created blush for women of color that is perfectly pigmented to look outstanding on every skin tone. Our blush shades are also buildable and blendable, so you can achieve a bolder look by layering on product or create your own color by mixing them together. 

Pro Tip: The summer months are the perfect time to dust bronzer on your face for a sun-kissed, radiant glow. However, bronzer doesn’t replace your blush. In fact, bronzer and blush are perfect complements of each other. Bronzer is applied where the sun naturally falls on you - think forehead, cheekbones, and décolletage. On the other hand, blush usually goes on the apples of your cheeks. For next-level makeup artistry, try applying blush based on the shape of your face.

Eye Makeup for Tan Skin

As with other types of makeup, eye makeup for tan skin is best in warm hues. Think nude eyeshadows with peach, honey or red-brown tones in them. If you want to go the extra mile, go for bronze, gold, or amber in metallic shadows for sparkly drama. An on-trend look would incorporate bold oranges like electric orange or blood orange.

Eyeshadow Palettes for the Win

Usually, eyeshadow application involves at least two shades, and more often three or four colors. Blending the right colors together can be a challenge. That’s when an eyeshadow palette is a super-handy tool. An eyeshadow palette with curated shades ensures the colors are complementary. As an added bonus, an eyeshadow palette is easy to travel with so there’s no rifting through your makeup bag for that single eyeshadow color you always manage to misplace.

As with all of Mented’s makeup, our Everyday Eyeshadow palette is perfectly pigmented to stand out on your tan skin. The palette has a variety of options with nine shades ranging from warm nude shades to rich browns in mattes and shimmers. Incredibly blendable, they go on like a dream and are truly perfect for every day - from work to happy hour and beyond. 

Pro Tip: Keep your eye makeup on longer, especially in sweltering summer months, with a dab of eyelid primer. Try using a primer specifically for eye makeup, rather than a facial primer. If you don’t have an eyelid primer, dab and blend concealer.

Lip Color for Tan Skin

Which lipstick colors are right for your tan skin? You probably guessed “lipsticks with warm tones.” Well, you’re right!

If you’re not sure about the tones in lipstick colors, we’ve got a simple exercise for you. This exercise can help you identify the right lipstick colors for your tan skin, and more generally, train your eyes to spot cool versus warm tones.

Swatching Lipstick Colors on Your Arm

  1. Choose a lipstick that you like. Let’s say it’s a nude color. 
  2. Swipe it on the inside of your wrist. 
  3. Swipe your wrist with two very similar nude lipsticks next to the first swatch, just a shade or two off from each other.
  4. Examine the colors. Does one appear more taupe than the original color? If so, that means it is cooler with more purple added in. Or does it appear more peachy? This means it’s warmer with more orange mixed in.
  5. Continue swiping similar lipstick shades on your arm, examining the tonal differences. Try to create a swatch with the colors going from warmer at one end and gradually becoming cooler at the other end. At some point, the cooler color will no longer complement your skin tone. You will have more leeway with the warmer hues, meaning you can go warmer and warmer until the color looks off, or maybe if you are very warm-hued, the warmest color in the spectrum looks dynamite on you.

Nude Lipstick Shades for Tan Skin

For women of all skin tones, nude lipstick is the reigning champion of everyday lipstick colors. Nude lipsticks go with any makeup look, any outfit and fit in with any occasion. They are, in a word, versatile.

Again, think warm nude tones for your tan skin. This means not so much taupes, but colors with heavier blends of brown and orange. 

Other Lipstick Shades for Tan Skin

While you likely have a nude lipstick or two that are your everyday favorites, other colors that look dynamite on tan skin include:

  • Brown Lipsticks - Choose colors with deep warm notes, like caramel or amber. The more pigmented your complexion, the deeper the shade of lipstick you can go - think burgundies and warm cocoa shades.
  • Red Lipsticks - Reach for a bright red lipstick with more orange and yellow mixed into it. With its yellow undertones, Mented’s Red & Butter Matte Lipstick is a winner for your tan skin.
  • Bold Lipsticks - Looking for head-turning lipstick shades? As always, warmer is the way to go for your tan skin. Coral, tangerine and other electrifying oranges will be stars on your pout. For deeper berry shades, look for ones with notes of chocolate, like mahogany or red-brown. 

Pro-Tip: Lip gloss is a perfect stand-in for lipstick when you want a lighter look. You can also layer lipstick and lip gloss together. First, apply your lipstick, let it set, and then apply your gloss. You’ll be looking for the same shades in lip gloss as you would in lipstick. Mented makes a shiny, non-gooey gloss for smooth, anytime wear.

Tan Skin Perfected

Mented has the perfect balance of makeup colors for tan skin to help your warm pigmentation shine through beautifully. No matter your exact skin tones and undertones, we’ve got the foundation shades, blush colors and lipsticks to deliver picture-perfect makeup looks for tan skin in every season.