While it’s true that we women of color look great in neutral colors, it’s also even more true that our skin tones (from French Vanilla to Caramel to Chocolate Deluxe) look goooooood in brighter colors. In fact, the darker our skin, the brighter we should go in makeup colors. Gone are the days of being frightened of color as well as the days of saying dark skin ladies should steer clear of the bright stuff for fear of looking darker (*blank stare* on THAT—and if I see it in the comments section, I’m looking up your IP address and coming for you—just kidding—no, I’m not).
Anyway, if you’re used to wearing only neutrals or not wearing makeup at all, no one is expecting you to go all Nicki Minaj overnight, so I’ve put together some tips on how to slowly add some color into your makeup arsenal. Ready? Let’s go!
1. Try a brightly colored liner. Do your eye makeup as usual, but add a kick of color via your bottom waterline. Try a waterproof pencil so your line will last all day. I love Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes because it stays on and comes in 25 different colors. You can also try a bright colored eyeshadow with a pencil brush (like MAC 219).
Some hot bright eye shadows to try:
Blues: MAC Atlantic Blue, MAC Tilt, MAC Electric Eel, MAC Freshwater, MAC Aquadisiac, MAC Shimmermoss, Black Radiance Eyeshadow Quartet in Retro Chic, Make Up For Ever Iridescent True Blue 167
Greens/Yellows: MAC Bitter, MAC Humid, MAC Lucky Green, MAC Sunny Spot, Make Up For Ever Iridescent Acid Green, MAC Chrome Yellow, Make Up For Ever Yellow 2, Make Up For Ever Sunflower 71
Purples: Make Up For Ever Purple 92, MAC Vibrant Grape, MAC Satellite Dreams, MAC Creme de Violet, Make Up For Ever Lilac 89, Make Up For Ever Lavender 9
Pinks: Make Up For Ever Fuchsia 26, Make Up For Ever Neon Pink 75
Also try a colored mascara. At first glance it looks like you’re wearing brown or black mascara, but hit the light and you’ve got a pretty pop of color.
2. Go bright on the cheeks. I LOVE a bright cheek color. It makes the skin look so young and alert. Plus once it hits skin of color, some of the brightness is subdued a bit yet all the attitude is still there. Swipe some on to add some color to your neutral makeup look.
Hot bright blush colors to try:
Pinks/Reds: NARS Desire, Make Up For Ever Fuchsia 26, Make Up For Ever Neon Pink 75, MAC Full Fuchsia, MAC Fever, MAC Dollymix, Black Radiance Sheer Blush in Plum Sorbet, NARS Mata Hari, MAC Frankly Scarlet
Orange/Corals: NARS Exhibit A (described as a red, but looks more orange), NARS Taos, Make Up For Ever Tangerine 18, MAC Raizin
3. Add a bright lip. A bright lip might be the one bright women of color steer clear of, but again—brighter colors look gorgeous on our skin. If you have a bright lip phobia, ease yourself into it with bright colored lip pencils or glosses. Check out How to Rock a Bright Lip for more info.
Hot bright lip colors to try:
Lip Pencils: MAC Magenta, MAC Redd, Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Fuschia 16C, Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Bright Orange 17C
Glosses: MAC Pink Poodle, MAC Russian Red, Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Fierce, Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Petulant, Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Temper, Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Indulge, Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss in Mistress
Lipsticks: Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Megenta Madness, Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Coral Cabana, Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Summer Sizzle, Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in in Mango Mambo, Milani Color Perfect Lipstick in Mandarina, MAC Utter Fun, MAC Lickable, MAC Lustering, MAC Girl About Town, MAC Up the Amp, MAC Lady Danger, MAC Morange, MAC Russian Red
Can you do them all at once? I’d normally suggest highlighting one feature on your face at a time, but some people can pull off a full-on bright look. How do they do it? They know their color combos! Break out a color wheel and study How to Combine Colors in Your Wardrobe (can be used in makeup, too). Remember it’s just makeup—you can always wash it off.
Now let’s talk! Do you wear brights or find solace in neutrals?