Beginner Makeup Tips for African American Women
Even with the number of beauty influencers having skyrocketed over the past decade, there is still a large gap in that space for influencers specifically for women of color. With a lack of influencers speaking to our unique needs, providing tips about makeup for dark skin, or sharing beauty secrets for other sisters, it can be intimidating to face the beauty world as a makeup novice. At Mented, we wanted to help fill that gap! If this speaks to you, then you’ve come to the right place. Check out this step by step makeup tutorial designed for our dark skin sisters to help you learn about the best makeup for women of color and achieve the confidence you deserve.
Get the Right Foundation Color
Despite what may appear on celebrities or online influencers, no one has perfect skin all the time. This is where the magic of foundation comes in - the right foundation can help smooth over any flaws and create a natural canvas for the rest of your makeup. Matching the foundation to your skin tone is key. Use a foundation shade finder to help identify the shade of your skin and the undertones beneath your natural shade.
Your undertone has a strong impact on what shade will match you best since it’s the underlying shade of your complexion. Generally, undertones are grouped into three categories - warm, cool and neutral. Warm undertones feature golden, yellowed, honeyed or peachy tones, while cool undertones include hints of red, blue or chocolate-hued colors. You have a neutral undertone if your skin has no apparent warm, pink or blue undertones, making it appear more balanced. Knowing more about the colors of your skin and undertones can help you find the best foundation shade to match your skin tone, which will work to enhance your skin rather than cover it up unnaturally.
Historically, it’s been difficult for women of color to find foundations that truly match their skin even if they know their undertones because of the lack of product made specifically for these tones. However, that’s been changing in the beauty market by brands like Mented. Women shouldn’t have to go to the trouble of mixing multiple different foundations just to get their perfect color. Mented created foundation shades that are perfectly pigmented to match a range of darker skin tones so you can find your best match easily and quickly.
Apply with a Foundation Brush
After you are color matched, it’s time to apply the foundation. This is an art unto itself, but it’s easy to do once you know how. First, apply the foundation - whether liquid or stick - across your face in broad strokes. Then, beginning in the center of your face and working outwards, buff the product into your skin stroking in circular motions with a foundation brush. Buff in the foundation until it’s blended well and evenly across your face and looks natural. The result should be smooth coverage that’s set to last all day.
Build in Layers for Fuller Coverage
We all have those days when we feel our skin may need a little more help to achieve that glow it normally has. When you need greater coverage, a buildable foundation like Mented’s allows you to achieve that preferred level of coverage. If you want to go light, simply apply a lighter amount of product and go over your face with the brush once, maybe twice. For fuller coverage, apply more product and go over your face a few times, working the product into the skin in layers.
Pro Tip: Applying foundation primer before putting on your foundation is the secret to getting it to stay well all day long. Primer is especially helpful for women with oily skin or when it's humid out.
Use Concealer for Discoloration and Highlighting
Concealer is a product that can be strategically used to cover up any undesired blemishes or even out discoloration. Find a complementary concealer for dark skin that will work to blend with your skin tone and foundation. Apply concealer in these areas you’d like to cover a bit more strongly or focus on your T-zone - the area along the bridge of your nose and across your forehead. Whether your skin is already looking smooth or you simply want to add more to your makeup look, you can also use concealer to highlight your features. Apply product below your eyes, above your cheekbones and on your chin as a form of highlighter to brighten up these areas. Similar to the application of foundation, buff the concealer into your skin with a brush or other tool to blend it into your foundation and ensure it appears smooth.
Contour Like a Pro
While we know contouring can sound intimidating, don’t be afraid to try it out! There are simple tips you can follow to add even the lightest contouring to your makeup routine that will be easy to apply and look natural. The purpose of contouring is to add dimension to your face, chiseling some areas and softening others. For your contouring color, pick a shade darker than your base foundation. With your color in hand, apply carefully at the sides of your temples, the hollows of your cheeks and under your jaw. Then the key is to blend, blend, blend! By properly blending, you’ll ensure that the additional makeup will enhance your features and not look unnatural. Similar to applying your foundation, you can contour light- or heavy-handed, creating a softer look or one that’s more dramatic.
Bronzer and Blush
Bronzer and blush are two of the key components of a basic makeup routine and are both incredibly easy to apply. They work to add color and dimension to your face, though not as dramatically as contouring with foundation does. To apply, dust bronzer along the sides of your face, the hollows of your cheeks and along your nose. Using another brush, apply blush onto the apple of your cheek. Don’t know where that is? Just smile! It’s those beautiful, rounded cheekbones that emerge.
Frame the Eyes with the Brows
One of the major secrets of a successful beauty routine is one that is often overlooked...your eyebrows. Your brows help to accentuate your eyes and don’t have to be colored in or shaped too powerfully in order to have an impact. Great brows can be made simply through a defined shape and even color. Whether you shape your eyebrows at home or at a salon, it’s key to perfect that arc so you have a baseline to work off of for coloring. It will then be easy to fill in or define the shape even further with a variety of tools, from pencils to powder to brow gels.
Apply your Eye Makeup
An eyeshadow palette in nudes and neutrals is the perfect place to start exploring the ever-expanding universe of eye makeup. Mented’s Everyday Eyeshadow Palette has 9 nude shades designed for dark skin, great for every occasion from the office to date night. Try these simple steps for application:
- Apply the lightest shade evenly over the eyelid.
- Add a middle tone to the eye crease and blend upwards.
- Dab the darkest color in the far corner of the eye just at the crease.
After applying any desired eyeshadow, it’s time to add mascara and eyeliner for the finishing touches. Be sure to apply your desired eyeliner right at the lash line above and below the eye, and use a Q-tip or small brush to blend if needed. Following this, apply mascara starting from as close to the lash line as possible and swipe carefully to the end of the lashes for full coverage.
Perfect that Pout
There are three basic products when it comes to lip color: lip liner, lipstick, and lipgloss. If you’re just starting your makeup routine, you don’t have to use all three, but it can be helpful to know about them as you become more comfortable with makeup.
The most important thing to consider for any lip product is the color. With the dizzying array of lipstick products available on the market, knowing your best color will help you sift through them all to find your perfect shade. Whether looking for a nude, red or other bolder lip color, you first need to determine your skin undertones to help guide you to what shades of each color will match your skin best. Some companies have started making lipsticks shades for dark skin specifically, like we have at Mented. These will be most helpful to peruse when building your makeup collection because they’ve been created for the shades and undertones of women of color.
The easiest way to apply lip products is to simply swipe the lipstick and lipgloss directly on your lips. If you want to take it one step further, try using a lip liner to outline your lips before applying the lipstick or gloss. This will help the lip color last longer throughout the wear. Keep in mind that a lip liner should be a slightly lighter color than the lipstick so the two will blend smoothly together.
Pro Tip: Help your matte lipstick last longer by making sure your lips are exfoliated and moisturized. You can also try a primer before putting on color and set it with powder to create a clean base.
Enhancing Your Natural Beauty
Embarking on a journey into the beauty world for the first time is something that should be exciting! Makeup should be fun and easy to use as a tool to enhance your natural beauty and become your most confident self. With the tips from this African-American makeup tutorial for beginners and your trusted Mented makeup made exclusively for dark skin, it’s time to let that melanin shine through.