For African-American women, the cosmetics world has come a long way. Gone are the days when black women were expected to make do with products geared toward the Caucasian market and had to mix, mix and mix again to get that right shade (which, much of the time, still wasn’t exactly right). With that in mind, African-American women have many options available to them when it comes to makeup and they should explore all of those options.
When applying makeup, the general rule of the blend, blend, and blend again is always true. There’s nothing worse than having a visible line between the makeup and the face. This is especially true for the foundation.
There are several cosmetic companies targeted to black women, where the shades of makeup follow the range of skin tones, from very light to very dark. When choosing a foundation, it’s imperative to find one that perfectly matches the skin. This is much easier when buying from a department store, where knowledgeable salespeople can help.
There, it’s possible to try a few shades and look in a natural-light mirror (or even step outside into daylight) to see which color will work for you. In a drugstore, where products are packaged and are not meant to be sampled, finding a perfect match for your skin may be a more difficult task.
Once you find a foundation, you should decide how you’d like to apply it. There are cosmetic sponges specifically made for this purpose, but some women prefer to use their fingers. It depends on which method you’re most comfortable with.
(If using fingers, it’s important that your hands be clean.) It’s best to start lightly, as it’s easier to apply more makeup than wipe off too much and start all over again. Dot your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin with foundation, then blend.
You should blend enough so there is no visible line where the makeup starts and your face ends (this is especially true around the jawline). Makeup should enhance your beauty, not hide it; it’s not supposed to look like an unmoving mask. After applying foundation, your face should appear even in complexion and still natural.
A light dusting of loose powder can follow. It’s good to find a large, natural-bristle makeup brush to apply the powder. Dip the brush into the powder and then shake off the excess. Lightly brush all over the face. Your face should appear smooth and natural.
Some women are lucky and don’t have to do more to their eyebrows than brush into a neat shape. For the rest of us, shaping may be necessary. Any tweezing or waxing should already be done. Some women need to pencil in sparse areas in their brows; do so with a matching pencil made for this purpose. For most black women, a brown, gray, or black pencil will do. The pencil should be for filling in areas only, not for drawing a complete set of eyebrows.
Daytime eye makeup is different than nighttime eye makeup. For the day, one or two coats of mascara (after using an eyelash curler, if necessary) will suffice. A neutral shade of eyeshadow and a very light application of eyeliner will finish the look nicely.
For light-skinned women, peach, taupe, and subtle golds work well for eyeshadows. For medium-brown women, mauve, brown, and gray are good choices. For dark-skinned women, deeper colors like rich violet, chocolate, and navy will work. Still, the application should be light. Eyeliner should be applied to the upper lids and, if desired, very lightly to the lower lids.
For nighttime, the colors can be applied heavier and deeper. Another coat of mascara can be added (and the eyelash curler really helps in making the eyes pop.
Blush comes in powder or cream form. For powder form, again, a good brush is essential. Smile to find the apple of your cheeks and then brush a light coat of blush on the apples. Cream blush should be applied right after foundation, but before overall facial powder. Cream blush is usually best for women with normal-to-dry skin, and powder works best for women prone to oily skin.
There are perhaps more lipstick shades than any other cosmetic. Here, women can go wild choosing among the huge selection. A lipstick pencil helps in preventing the lipstick from bleeding, that is, running outside of the lip line. The lip pencil should match the lipstick closely and not be too dark or too light. If you want to make your lips appear larger, you can draw a line just outside of your natural lip line.
The trick is to draw it right outside of your lips, not a whole centimeter out. On the flip side, if you want your lips to appear smaller, draw a line just inside of the natural lip line. You can apply lipstick straight from the tube or with a lip brush. A lip brush gives you more control over how much color goes on your lips.
Gloss is a better option for night than for day. Again, with nighttime, going out makeup, richer, brighter colors and shiny lips are more appropriate than in the office from nine-to-five.
Seasons are another thing to keep in mind. Spring and summer call for lighter colors and light application. Some women forego the foundation altogether during the humid summer months and opt for a concealer for only those spots that need it (typically under the eyes and around the base of the nose). A fully made-up winter face can look odd during the easy, carefree days of summer.
Whatever the season or time of day, remember that makeup should be fun, a colorful addition to your overall look and should enhance, not overpower, your beauty.Whatever