Our quest to look our best continues! Today I have Eolia, who will be sharing some beauty advice for black women. She’s a stunner and knows how to make herself look top notch, exactly what leveling up is all about! To connect with her & find out more, please visit her Instagram page. Thank you so much for this insightful article!
One of Anna’s recent posts encouraged me to participate in JSB the conversation. Most of us ladies, regardless of our race/ethnicity, strike to polish our appearance to the best of our abilities. This can be achieved through a wide range of improvements: cosmetic procedures, make-up, diet, etc.. But the sad truth is that not all of us have to face the same obstacles.
I am originally from Togo but I’ve been living in Spain for nearly 5 years now. I can tell you that it has been a real struggle to find relevant information, guidance or even the right nude lipstick for my skin tone! Sadly, high-quality beauty products aimed for dark skin are rarely available in the European market.
You will find that most brands here offer products ranged from Nicole Kidman’s skin tone to Halle Berry’s. They might throw in ONE extra dark shade called “cocoa” in the mix. But if you need to produce 20 shades/undertones for caucasian skin why would you think that one darker shade should be enough to cover the whole spectrum of dark skin ladies out there? That is one great mystery.. Now let’s stop the venting and start with the fun part!
I would also like to state a quick disclaimer, the aim of this post is not to divide us nor to promote one group of women over another. I’m sure the ladies who read this blog know better than that. I would simply like to offer a different perspective and help other ladies on their path to affluence 😉 Furthermore, a lot of these tips are universal so hang on!
SKINCARE IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
I can not stress this enough. It does not matter how high-definition and expensive your make-up is. You will not look your best if you do not take care of your skin. Invest your time, energy and effort in skincare, because the better your skin looks natural, the less makeup you will eventually need.
My routine is simple yet effective:
Exfoliating is very important to reveal our skin’s natural glow. I use Morrocan Black Soap to exfoliate with minimal irritation. Just like the women in North Africa, I go to the Hammam twice a month and exfoliate my whole body there. I also apply the soap on my face twice a week and let it sit for 2 minutes. I would not advise that if your skin is overly sensitive, but that’s rarely the case with darker skin.
For the face, I also LOVE using exfoliating acid lotions like PIXI Glow Tonic or Clarins Doux Exfoliant. Before you get all scared, look into it, they are very gentle, and they will change your life!
Dark skin tends to get grey-ish and dull looking during the cold seasons. This, combined with proper hydration will get you through the rough winter months.
Moisturizing is just as important.
I include Coconut Oil in all beauty treatments: face, body, hair, etc. Shea butter is also great if your skin is on the drier side, I personally only use it at night on my feet, hands, and elbows. I do not tend to splurge on body creams, I mainly use brands like LUSH, Body Shop, and Palmers.
Ultimately, your face will require much more attention. The first step is to do your research. You should know your skin type but also your skin’s current state. Once you’re aware of that, you can choose the products that are right for you.
Your skin care routine should include some basics like:
- A high-quality moisturizer
- An SPF (I do not advise wearing makeup that has SPF in it because they run grey-ish on our skin and the flashback from pictures tend to be terrible)
- A night-time serum (With vitamin A/Retinol preferably)
- A gentle makeup remover (that you shall not aggressively rub into your skin)
- A face-wash
- Some face mask that caters to your skin needs (hydrating, purifying, anti-ageing..)
My favorite is a combination of lemon + mashed strawberry + honey. See. It does not have to be expensive. There are loads of brands on the market that offer reasonably priced high-quality skin care. And remember, you’ll soon be saving on make-up 😉 One of my holy grail products is Body Shop Vitamin E serum and it costs only 20 euros.
Please also make sure you:
- Try to live a stress-free life, as your inner happiness will radiate on your face
- Never go to sleep with your make-up on
- Do not drink too much alcohol. Yes, I know..*sigh*
- Avoid smoking at all costs
- Do not use too much make-up and too often
- Do not skip sunscreen
- Do not keep your skin care products in the shower, the heat and steam will ruin their effectiveness
I have also been eating a vegan diet for nearly 5 years, I drink as much water as I can and I’m a very active person. All of these factors will contribute a lot to your skin’s state and overall health.
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KEEP YOUR MAKE-UP SIMPLE
I looooooove wearing make-up, I really do. And we know how amazing bright colors look on dark skin, when done with gusto. But on a day-to-day basis, I use a more simple approach. Remember: make-up is meant to compliment your natural beauty not tarnish it.
That is why the no-make-up-make-up look is so popular nowadays. Now it does not mean that you should only wear a BB cream and be out the door. In make-up artist Sam Fine’s words “the biggest make-up mistake a woman can make is not to wear any.”
Do not be scared of wearing make-up. The key is to study your face and know what works for you. Her nude eyeshadow is not your nude eyeshadow. The same goes for lipstick, you can not put on that beige lipstick your Irish best friend raves about and expect things to go well, because they won’t. I can not stress this enough. There is no universal “nude” and a rich brown might be a better choice for you. Brands like Fenty Beauty, Bobby Brown, Becca, Black Up, MAC, Laura Mercier offer a wide variety of options.
Sometimes we don’t know where or how to start. I found that the easiest way is to find a well-groomed celebrity who’s skin tone is similar to yours and to take it from there. Kerry Washington, Iman Bowie, Jasmine Tookes, Nia Long, Naomi Campbell to name a few.
I will also share techniques and tips I’ve gathered through the years specific to Black Beauty.
Most of the time, foundation alone will not give you an even, flawless result. An orange-peach tone corrector will help you achieve a perfect that perfect chocolate skin. Before applying your makeup base, apply it lightly on any dark spots or grey areas around the mouth, chin or eyes. It will neutralize the area and prevent you from using too much foundation.
My personal favorite is Prep + Prime Highlighter Pen in Peach Lustre by M.A.C. On the other hand, a Caucasian woman might prefer a green-ish corrector to counteract skin redness. If this sounds confusing to you, do your homework about color-correcting a thank me later 🙂
On top of the corrector, I chose to apply concealer under my eyes and a light layer of powder on the face. You will find that once you apply a corrector you will find yourself using little to no foundation at all.
Do not be afraid of wearing blush, red and orange tones look amazing when applied lightly and will prevent you from looking dull and lifeless. BECCA and Black UP have the best blushes and bronzers for our complexion.
Gold is your best friend, find the right tone for you. There are so many great options out there. I tend to always use brown on the eyelid and a gold in the inner corner. A little bit of Egyptian kohl, some eyelash extensions and you’re good to go!
This is where we see a lot of girls making makeup mistakes. Most of the so-called “nude” lipstick on the market are not usually targeted to us. There is really no universal nude color and Finding the right one for you is usually the trickier part.
As a general rule, I do not wear anything lighter than my skin-tone. As dark, rich browns and Bordeaux tend to look much more flattering on us. A good tip is to use a brown lip pencil and adjust a light color to your liking.
I hope all of these tips and tricks help. And remember, when in doubt use the less is more approach and keep it simple!