Make-up for People of Colour!

As a woman of colour there is nothing more frustrating than trying on make-up and not seeing anything on your face. You slather and apply and reapply and nothing. Not a damn thing is noticeable on your face. You’ve read the reviews, “Stays on all day!”, “Makes my skin glow!”, “So worth the money” but what the hell are they talking about?? Then you realize it, the make-up company did not make this for you, they made this make-up with white faces in mind. 
Often times I see make-up ads and I see beautiful porcelain skin painting for the gods and I think, “I could recreate that look” but you know what? I can’t. I never will be able to because my skin tone is not like that, my facial features are not molded into an European point. I have high round cheekbones, my skin is darker above my lips and on the sides of my face, and my lids are much more purple than my face. But do you ever read make-up tips about how to counter act that? Hardly. Maybe a “special” on make-up for different ethnicity but even that is inadequate because there is not just one type of black face. In most make-up ads you’ll see the same women over and over, Beyonce, Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez and Queen Latifah, as if in order to be considered beautiful as a brown woman you have to be really fucking famous and rich. 

Okay so lets talk tea. 
Foundation is tricky, if you are trying to find your colour you will probably have to buy two, one for your dark spots and one for you highlights. Black skin, while high in melanine that keeps us looking so young for so long, also is prone to pigmentation issues. I, for example, have a skin tone is yellowish in the middle of my face and reddish on the rest of it. I have a mix of colours to make up my face, MAC concealer in NW30, MAC Select Cover in NW40, and MAC Studio Fix in C6.

Make-up artist Priscillano shows just how different the shades can be

Foundation is your friend. It is. But you’ve got to be honest with yourself, it doesn’t matter how much concealer you use, you are not white. You may have Native American in you but that was generations ago. Often I see many women who use a completely different foundation than what they need. Work with your skin tone to compliment it, not against it to hide it.  
Concealer, as miraculous as it is, is to be used sparingly. Find one that is two shades lighter than your natural skin tone and the same colour temperature than your foundation. Skin tones for people of colour are usually reddish or yellow and if you have darker skin you might even have a blue/purpleish tone to your skin.

Powder is a little tougher, you don’t want something that makes you look ashy but you need something that blends into your skin. What many people don’t know is how sensitive black skin is. Often times if you have had acne you get scars and these scars don’t fade, they stay as dark marks on your skin, this is called hyperpigmentaion and is very common. Some black women will use fade cream but I would think twice about this. Most fade creams have been linked to burns, skin irritation and nonuniform skin pigmentation and can we all talk about how fucked up it is? We live in a world that prefers light skin. Dark skin is linked to all sorts of prejudice and injustices, people believe that dark skin is ugly and unattractive and we carry around these thoughts about our own skin and it turns into self hate. Your skin is your skin and this history of preference for light skin is bullshit that humans made up to exclude a certain group of people. Your skin is just the wrapper for the delicious person you are on the inside, we may not get to decide our wrapper but it doesn’t change who we are on the inside. 
Instead of using bleach creams or other bullshits try a moisturizer than evens skin tone. I use Ambi moisturizer for several years and it has evened out my skin greatly. The great thing about Ambi is that is is specifically designed for people of colour.
Okay back to powder! Neutral or “colourless” powders often make you look very chalky and ashy. You should find a powder that matches your foundation or your natural skin tone. 
Blushes – most white make-up artists will tell you that you should stick to browns and bronze blushes because reds/oranges/pinks look unnatural on brown skin. Bullshit. You can use reds, pinks, oranges, purples, browns but you should just pay attention to your natural tone. If your skin is yellow based avoid anything orange based, if your skin is reddish or blue/purple try a bronze or copper shade. I use a brown blush under my cheekbones as a contour and pink on the apples of my cheek for a glowing look. Tint blushes are also good for just getting a flush of colour and melting into the skin. You see white people use blush to give their skin come sort of colour but you already have colour babe! Blush is not that necessary for your look since your beautiful, naturally tanned skin makes you look healthy and bright. 
Eye shadow is hit or miss, most of them are absolute shit. So many of them barely show up or if they do show up, they show up pale or ashy and that’s not good. Look for eyeshadows that have pigments in them, for intense pops of colour. I’m going through a make-up book that-shall-not-be-named, that says that bright colours shouldn’t be used on brown skin.  Ring Ring. Hello? No. The beauty of brown skin is that we can go bright and it complements our deep skin tone. Where as pale skin might look over the top with a bright yellow liner and black mascara, brown girls can pull it off. With neons so popular this season go bright, don’t just stick to neutrals. Anyone that says you should stick to neutrals is a hater and should kick rocks with no socks just flip flops. 

Here are my recommendations for make-up:

MAC cosmetics – great lipsticks, foundations, concealers, everything!
Urban Decay – great eyeshadows
Illamasqua  – great all around
 Cover Girl Queen Collection  – good for foundation on a budge
Iman Cosmetics  – good for foundations 
Nars – great blushes 
Black Opal -good foundations
Clinque – good skincare
bareMinerals – great foundation, powders, concealers
Bobby Brown– good foundations
Kat Von D – good eyeshadows and lipsticks
LORAC – good foundations
Make Up Forever – great all around make-ups
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics – great lipglosses and eyeshadows
Smashbox – good skincare 
Milani – products just for dark skin

Here are some I would NOT recommend:
Anna Sui -boo
Benefit – blah
Too Face – no thank you
Tarina Tarintino – too bad
Stila – nope
Elf – nein

Here is a video from Destiny Godley for a look with bright eyes and lips

Boys Basic Guide to Make-up

I love make-up. I LOVE IT. But I love it more on men. Yes you heard me. I love it. Everyone could benefit from a little touch up. To cover a blemish, dark circles, scars, or give the skin a healthy glow. Certain situations warrant your best look like a job interview, a date or a special event. But I have found that some men don’t know where to begin when it comes to make-up.

Now if you aren’t comfortable with your sexuality or sexual identity you are going to have trouble with this. The idea that men aren’t supposed to wear make-up is a contemporary idea that pervaded in the 20th century, because throughout history men have worn make-up
A rendering of King Tutakhamun wearing his beloved guyliner.

From the dawn of time men have mixed pigments together to make designs and markings on their faces to assert their place in society, we know this because of aboriginal and tribal African traditions that continue to this day. Egyptian royalty lined their eyes with kohl, the Greeks painted their nails and wore blush, 17th century males wore powder to make their skin pale, it wasn’t until after the reign of Victoria I that men wearing make-up fell out of fashion after thousands of years of use. The Victorians deemed the use of make-up as vulgar and vain, and a sign of homosexuality since only women were allowed to wear minimal amounts of make-up in a society growing more controlled by the church. Since then make-up has been deemed something for women, and women that are vain and insecure, instead of the beautiful adornments that humans have been using to express themselves. 
 Okay hopefully you understand now that the shame men feel about wearing make-up is completely tied to a conservative tyrannically oppressive gender suppressing religious structure and has nothing to do with how much of a man you are. You just wanna look good! And you should look good! No one has the right to tell you that you shouldn’t look good and you shouldn’t feel good about the way you look, this isn’t Saudi Arabia!

Okay lets start with the basics: What you will need.

  • Cleanser – a good face wash, with exfoliation because men tend to be hard on their skin and scrubbing off that dead skin will help make your skin easier to shave. 
  • Moisturizer – with SPF 15 or above, to help make you skin soft and healthy, prevents wrinkles and age spots.
  • Concealer – this is a cream that you use to cover small spots and marks. Find one that is a shade or two lighter than your skin, test on your chin not on your hand because hands tend to be much darker than faces. 
  • Foundation – this comes in cream (for more coverage), liquid (for medium, buildable coverage) or powder (for lighter coverage). You can decide what your preference is, do you want total face coverage or a more natural coverage that will allow flaws to come through?
  • Powder – find a powder that is either a neutral shade or the same tone as your skin, this is to set your make-up and prevent it from coming off on your clothes and hands. 
  • Brushes/Q-tips/Sponges – you could use a double ended concealer foundation brush or q-tips to apply the concealer and sponges to apply the foundation. 
  • Lip moisturizer – find a chapstick or balm that soothes your lips and prevents chapping.
  • Shave gel – you need something that lubricates your skin and will prevent burns and irritation.

 Here are the steps to applying your coverage.

  1. Go through with your morning ritual, brush your teeth, shave, put in your contacts. 
  2. Wash your face thoroughly with your cleanser, don’t use water that is too hot. Cooler water closes your pores and will prevent your skin from getting oily and breaking out. 
  3. Apply moisturizer in an upward motion starting from the neck and moving up to the temples. Allow to settle on your skin. 
  4. With your brush take just a dab and place it on the mark or blemish and just blot it, don’t rub it in. Then blend to the outside, blending it with your skin. If it doesn’t blend, take a tissue and dab it to get some of the excess off and try again. Blend with the brush using circular motions, until it’s completely covered and melted into the skin. 
  5. Apply the foundation to your face by taking your sponge and  putting spots all over your face, on your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin then either with your sponge or clean hands smooth it all over your face, until it is blended. 
  6. Taking a brush, dip it into the powder, tap off the excess and, in a circular motion, powder your entire face or just the places you’ve covered. 
  7. Apply a lip moisturizer of your choice. 

Optional: 
Clear mascara – if you have thin, flat eyelashes that blend into your face but you don’t want the 80’s hair band look that mascara gives you a lifting, separating and defining look that makes you feature more noticeable. Just pull the brush out of the tube and give your lashes a few swipes from root to tip, allowing them to dry a little between applications. 
Tweezers – to clean up those brows and stray nose hairs. Clean up in between your brows and above your natural brow line (but not from below since that gives an unnatural arch), you could also use an electric trimmer to cut down the hairs, get in your nose and the back of your neck. 
Bronzer – is a type of lotion that makes your skin look like you just came back from Caribbean vacation and gives definition and makes you look more healthy. You should know if your skin is pale and could use a bit of color, unless you are going for the undead, vampire look that I usually go for. Mix this in with your moisturizer for a naturally blended look. 
Here is a video on how to apply these tips from make-up artists Pixiwoo: 

Make-up: A Brow-mergency!

The expression is one of the most important parts of communication on the body and your eyebrows play a huge part! The brows can make or break a look. Literally!
A clean, perfect make-up job can be completely ruined by bad brows! This is a VERY important issue ya’ll! I’m doing my best to educate you girls about this brow crisis we are going through. How many times have you seen a girl with a beautiful face and brows all over the place? Wild, unkept brows that make her look untidy and lazy and you just weep at the loss of a beautiful look o(╥﹏╥)o

The first thing you want to do is think of brows as “more is more” over tweezing is a dangerous thing because of the sometimes irreversible effect it can have on your brows. Just trying cleaning stray hairs above and below the fullest part of your brows, fill in the brows to make them defined and uniform and clean them up by putting concealer around them.
Here are my favorite eyebrow products:

  • Anastasia Brow Gel – tame your brows and help them stay looking perfect all day!
  • Smashbox Brow Tech – this powder/wax combo is everything you need to keep those arches tight! I would recommend using a brush just for the wax. 
  • Anastasia Brow Wiz – this pencil/brush combo defines and makes sure that if you like your brows very sharp and defined you get the best look 
  • Too Faced Brow Envy Brow Shaping & Defining Kit – this kit has everything you’ll need to get those perfect Hollywood brows! Wax, highlighter, pencil, powder, tweezers, stencils, and brushes! What else could you need! 
  • Sephora Collection Pro Brow Brush – for brows you’ll need an angled thin brush with a long handle for precision control. 

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