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April 2017
Beauty and makeup
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Make-up by Kevin Aucoin

It is not possible to talk about ‘black skin’ in generic terms considering that amongst Africans, South Americans or Afro-Americans for example, there can be many substantial differences regarding tones of brown and black and cold and warm shades (which are normally light and dark shades, respectively). A make-up artist cannot, therefore, establish which exact type of make-up to use without keeping in mind the ethnic origins and facial characteristics of the client as every face has its own tonality (the intensity of the colour), saturation (the amount of grey colouring present) and brightness (the relationship between white and black pigmentation). A make-up artist does, however, have the ability to understand the colouring of the face he/she is to work on and, therefore, he/she will be equipped with the necessary experience to choose and create the exact foundation for any face. Knowing the colours well and how they work together is an essential requirement when establishing how to cover, mix and highlight certain features according to the needs of the client. The following suggestions are, therefore, only general guidelines.

For black skin, for example when using foundation, many colours are employed that are not used on white skin, like a mustard-yellow colour and bright red.

The same goes for powder since it would be impossible to use a powder that is adapted for white skin on black skin.

Only an attentive and close examination trains the eye to see and perceive the various tones that the skin is made up of. To purchase products specifically made for black skin, it is normally necessary to go to specialised stores and beauty salons that sell such products and at these places one can normally find an expert to satisfy any make-up needs.

Make-up by di Paolo Panczyk

The base
Black skins needs soft, creamy products. It is a very oily type of skin and, therefore, it is necessary to use matt creams, especially when there are imperfections that need to be concealed. Be careful when choosing the colour: by making a bad choice, you risk creating a greyish effect. According to ethnic origin, black skin tones vary, from yellow-brown to very dark brown, the later requiring make-up in warm shades.

Foundation palettes for black skin, which make-up artists use, can be mixed with two types of concealer – a mustard yellow one or a warm red one – to create the perfect base for every complexion. The mustard yellow concealer can create light areas and cover eye bags, whilst the warm red can be used to eliminate grey areas as well as being used as a creamy blusher or eye shadow. For those who have black skin, it is not common to want to darken the skin with foundation therefore the make-up artist should respect the base colour that is chosen.

The eyebrows
Having chosen the shape of the eyebrows, proceed step by step. Moving the eyebrows up and thickening them allows you to emphasise the upper part of the face in respect to the (sometimes predominating) lower part, also helping to reduce the space between the eyelashes and the eyebrows. Lengthening the eyebrows slightly can also help to reduce the roundness of the eyes.

The eyes
Always keeping in mind the characteristics of the face and any imperfections that need to be corrected, the eye make-up logically follows that of the eyebrows. To make the nasal bridge, which is usually dominate on the faces of women with African origins, appear smaller, apply darker foundation down the sides of the nose. If the eyes are markedly round, the eye make-up should be applied thickly, all over the eyes, extending further than the outer corner, following the line of the eyebrows. If applying a look that is adapted for daylight, the lower eyelids can be left make-up free so the eyes look fresher. If you want to go for a younger look however, apply make-up to the lower lash line to highlight the lengthening of the eyes and make them, and consequently the upper part of the face, more evident. By doing this, you will lose the freshness but instead will have the possibility to make the make-up less obvious under artificial lights or evening lighting.


Keeping in mind that the lips are normally the most dominate part of the face for non-Caucasian women, a transparent red lip gloss should be applied to complete the look without highlighting neither the lips, which are already, naturally very plump, nor the lower part of the face.


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