Beginner’s Make-Up Guide for Dark Skin

At first glance, makeup in general can seem intimidating, confusing, and complicated. But even more so for us dark skinned girls. A huge chunk of the makeup world is catered to white women and those with significantly lighter skin, leaving us dark girls in the dark. Pun intended.

After some years of experimenting with makeup and reading about it, though I’m still no expert by any means, I’m here to help out my fellow dark skinned girls who are interested in makeup to have a good foundation of knowledge to go off of. From one brownie to another



If you have any kind of discoloration, which most dark skinned girls tend to have, whether it be around the mouth, dark circles, dark spots, etc., you might want to have a good color corrector on hand. The depth and shade of the corrector will depend on the darkness you’re trying to cover up, and you always wanna go for something that has an orange/peachy tone to it.

For example, if you have extremely dark circles or spots, you’ll want to use something dark and pigmented like the LA Girl Pro Orange Color Corrector or the Koycova Cosmetics Orange Color Corrector. You could even just kill two birds with one stone and get a correcting and concealing palette like the one from MAC. If you have more minor discoloration you can use a lighter/sheerer color corrector like the Bobbi Brown Correctors or Peach Luster by MAC.

After you’ve found a good color corrector you wan to make sure you have some sort of base product and concealer that suits your skin tone, undertones, and coverage preference. It could be a BB cream, tinted moisturizer, foundation or even something customizable and diverse like the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer or Cover FX Drops. You can get light, medium, or full coverage out of those products depending on how you mix and apply them.

As for concealer, the possibilities are endless. NARS Soft Matte Concealer, NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer, LA Girl Pro Concealer, and MAC Pro Longwear Concealer are some popular long-time favorites that you could start off with that give excellent coverage.


If you have oily skin, this is a must. I usually stick with translucent powders like the NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder and the Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Powder to set my makeup and touch up with during the day. They’re great powders because they aren’t ashy, they take away oil, there’s no flashback, and it doesn’t add any extra coverage and make the skin look cakey.

If you prefer a face powder with a little tint or extra coverage, the MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural, MAC Pro Longwear Powder, Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder, and the Maybelline Fit Me Powder are a few great ones. As for setting concealer and highlighted areas, here’s a post of recommendations I made for those.


Another big one because I feel like a lot of dark girls still don’t know when to use a lip liner. But I will say that all lipsticks can’t be saved with a lip liner because some of them are just plain ugly. For example, people frequently recommend Velvet Teddy by MAC as a nude for dark skin and it looked terrible on me, with or without a lip liner. To avoid this, I now aim for mid-tone and darker colors especially if it’s pink.

I recommend having two lip liners; a dark one like Chestnut by MAC or Pitch by Colourpop, and a lighter, mid-toned one like Cork by MAC. Espresso and Brown by NYX are two cheaper dupes for those liners as well. I like to use Chestnut for colors that are way too light and bright while Cork can be used to slightly deepen lighter/nuder colors, just not as much as Chestnut.

For those who wear liquid lipstick frequently like I do, it’s also great to have a warm dark brown liquid lipstick like Savage by The Lip Bar (which is a great dupe for Salem by Lime Crime and Black-owned). You can use those in the same way as the lip liners and customize different lip colors with it to make the perfect nude by layering lighter colors on top. NYX also has a great range of liquid and cream liquid lipsticks that I highly recommend.

Lastly, you should always have a go-to nude lipstick. Mine is Touch by MAC, which is a luster lipstick that’s the perfect mix of brown and pink. Cork by Dose of Colors, Ashton by Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Taurus by Colourpop are some of my favorites that I definitely recommend for the perfect nude.

Erin Dyana – “Erin Dyana is a freelance writer with a focus on pop culture, criticisms, and beauty. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Urban Social TV, Wear Your Voice Magazine, Clementine Zine, and Philadelphia Print Zine. In her free time she likes to create art, watch films, read books, and eat everything in sight.”


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