Glowing Make-Up for Darker Skin

Sofya Golub

A message from Donna: As a make-up teacher having working for many years in the industry, I've come across a lot of people challenged by the idea of approaching make-up applications on darker complexions. This will be one of the several blogs we feature on best practices for make-up applications on yourself or clients of varying complexions. If you have specific questions about what products are best for your skin, please email us at Even if we don't make the product, we can provide excellent recommendations.


Right now, some of the most commonly found make-up trends are glowing skin, metallic lips, and color. Are the 80's making a comeback? *fingers crossed.*

When Kiara agreed to be a guest on our show, we wanted to create a look that would be similar to her brand - bright, fun, and welcoming. We're featuring a pop of color, highlighted skin, and - of course, a lot of smiles.


Primer - use it or don't? It honestly depends on a few things - your skin type and the amount of time you want to spend doing your make-up.While this may be perceived as an extra step, it provides amazing benefits! Most primers are going to create a smooth canvas for your foundation, but there are some that are more fine-tuned and provide color correction, oil control, and enhance the wear time of your face make-up. Plus, it only takes an extra few seconds to apply, so it's pretty effortless.

MAKE UP FOR EVER has a line of primers called skin equalizers. They are suited for 4K HD television and photography; they will not only create a smooth canvas - but, depending on which one(s) you use, they also even out skin tone and/or texture.

When working on a darker skin-tone, the caramel equalizer is an absolute must. One of the challenges for a deeper complexion is pigmentation where some areas appear darker than others. Using the caramel primer over the areas that are darkest will warm up the skin and eliminate the look of ashyness.

One of our favorite foundations to use is the MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD. It's simply one of the best on the market as it gives great build-able coverage, feels weightless, and looks great on camera. And being our smart phones all have 4K displays (if purchased after 2016), who doesn't want a camera ready foundation? Selfies are not going anywhere.

Pro Tip: The caramel primer also works great under the eyes if you have very dark circles and want to color correct.

When highlighting darker skin, gold is always a safe bet. This is why we made Aura Enchanted Pigment! It's a pink pigment with gold iridescent - a perfect rose gold for an eyeshadow or highlighter on darker skin. When we did Kiara's make-up, we used it on her eyes, cheeks, cupid's bow, and nose. See the tutorial here.

For contouring, we suggest looking for an eyeshadow that is dark, WARM brown. The key is warm (meaning it has red), as this will create a more natural looking shadowing and avoid casting an ashy shadow (the way a cool toned shade might.) Check out MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Shadow in M-608. Their shadows are amazing because they're super smooth, pigmented, easy to blend, and you get a large pan so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Black and brown are predictable go to's for eyeliner. But why not use some color to brighten up your look? Blue is a great alternative that's not obnoxiously loud, looks good paired with nearly any eye color, and is stunning. This is why Poseidon Eyeliner Potion exists. (Plus we gotta represent all the mermaids out there! Haaaay!! :P) 

Lip choices can be overwhelming for anyone. So many options! We always say, go with the first one that catches your eye and rock it! There's a reason you were drawn to it. And for us, when were creating a glowing look, Afterglow Lipstick Potion is a given! It has just the right amount of sheen and metallic glow and it can be worn by itself or on top of your favorite lippie for a soft ombre effect. Kiara is wearing it on its own.

For the complete tutorial on this look, check out our video here.

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