Not Fair; The Makeup Artist’s Guide To Deep Black Skin Tones

Well hey there, nice to have you back! If you’re here after swatting up on Part One thanks for sticking with us, and if you’ve not been there yet head on over now for the basics of making up deep black skin tones before reading on. Because now, it’s time for the fun stuff… COLOUR!

The Cheek Of It!

You can get stuck into some uh-may-zing cheek shades on deep black skin. I mean just look at the eye-popping shades the awesome YouTube makeup artist Destiny Godley plays with in the is video at 6 minutes in for goodness sake.

If you apply a shade and it’s not working for you, try the brown lip liner trick, you might be surprised! It really helps to soften the stamped on effect and add a little more dimension.

makeup-for-deep-black-skin-lupita-nyong'o-lancome-campaign-red-lipstickRich red shades are also utter heaven on ebony skin.Take a  look at Lupita in Lancome’s recent campaign for example. I won’t pick one red for you, as there are so many to choose from and I’m sure you all have red lipsticks coming out of your ears, but try anything from glossy sheer shades to bold mattes, bright poppy reds to deep merlots. Even deeper warm shades like Milani Lipstick in Double Espresso – £4.99 (21.) look phenomenal, coming out as a deep shimmering copper brown, and Mac’s Cyber Lipstick – £15.50 (22.), which is known as a deep and daring purple-black vamp shade on fairer skin tones just looks classically beautiful and utterly chic when set against deep black skin.


Oh what’s that? You wanna see some nudes? Ooh la la. Well my absolute faves are “Touch” by MAC – £15.50 (23.) a sheer cinnamon shade showing as a creamy tan nude and “Paramount” by MAC (24.) reading as a creamy reddish brown nude – lots of MAC here, what can I say, they’ve always been there representing for dark skin tones! Bobbi Brown’s new Chocolate Lipstick shade – £20 (25.) is a rich deep brown that would be heavenly on the deepest of black skintones. Swatch these shades on caucasian skin tones and you’ll get varying shades of deep brown, so bear that in mind when picking your nudes for deep black skin. Nude simply means a lip shade in the vicinity of the client’s skin tone, so simply alter it accordingly – peachy pinks and beiges do not always a nude make.


And there, in a nutshell, you have it. Don’t try to apply the tried and tested rules of makeup for fair skin to all skin tones, embrace a new approach! So many artists go through the motions during makeup application, using the same of tricks and favourites time after time – but making up what may be an unfamiliar skin tone requires you to stop, take a minute, and really look at the face and skin tone of the person in front of you.

Iman has a great beauty app that can be used for inspiration or ideas as you learn – unsure what to use when presented with a skin tone you haven’t worked with as often as you’d like? Search for the model closest in the app for great suggestions across a variety of looks – it may give you that added confidence to really play around and do whats right for your client. Over time these colour theories and go-to killer shades become second nature, but this is a great makeup artist’s tool to have in your arsenal as you learn, and of course is great for women of colour to find shades to play with themselves!


As Nykhor has pointed out via Instagram since making the news with her initial comments, great brands like Nars, Bobbi Brown and many more now cater for dreamy blue-black skin tones like her own, so there really is no excuse for a makeup artist to be unprepared!

As always, there are no hard and fast rules with makeup, it’s about exploring your creativity, having an eye for beauty and not taking it all too seriously! This is meant merely as a guide to get those of you nervous about working with unfamiliar tones out of your comfort zones, and give you the ammo to go out there and smash it with every client who comes your way! Let me know how you get on guys, feel free to subscribe to our email updates for more makeup artist tips and inspiration, and if you have any great tips I may have missed, do let me know!



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