Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The darker the berry...

What's Happenin' Hot Stuff(s),
Hey girls! First things first, I'm having a doozy of a public relations week! Number one, my gorgeous friend Minya, aka Miss Info (if you live in NYC, you're probably familiar with her Saturday radio show on Hot 97) interviewed me for her monthly advice column in Vibe--look for it in the March issue! Also, for reasons that baffle everyone familiar with my technological ignorance, I'm profiled in the Spring '06 issue of Vibe Vixen on their "Gadgets" page (check it out, left)! Yep, folks, the lovely ladies at VV decided that a girl who has all shades of trouble navigating her voice mail was fit to discuss the latest and greatest in gadgetry. The best part? My petrosexual Miniature Pinscher, Mr. Chappie James Cabezas, managed to wiggle his way into the shot (there he is, down by my enormous, size 10 gold wedges)! Isn't he darling in his mint-green cashmere Polo cable-knit? Squeal! For those of you groaning, FINE...lets move on to more pressing issues.

So I'd planned on talking about how the best beauty products are stumbled upon through word-of-mouf (in Luda-speak), and then I was going to list my favorite products referred to me by my fabulous friends and industry colleagues. But lately, I've been BESEIGED by letters begging me to give some makeup tips to the "dark-skinned sistas out there!" So, I'm saving the first post for next week (and oh, how you'll love it, I swear) and addressing this all-too-urgent problem. I want to start by saying, however, that I never mention a makeup product unless I'm certain it'll look good on brown girls of all complexions, from the reddest of redbone to the deepest, richest brown. Listen, I know only too well how beauty companies like to insist they have a "range" of foundation shades, but then stop abruptly at a sort of cafe-au-lait situation, as if there exists no black, Native American, Latina, or Middle-Eastern chicks out there with skintones darker than some frothy Starbucks confection. As if beauty company execs have never seen a human being darker than Halle Berry. So, when I recommend a lip gloss, blush, or eyeshadow, it's with a built-in awareness that I'm speaking to an audience of seriously varying complexions, so I choose stuff in a tone family that'll look good on ALL of us. Dig? The thing is, when you find a makeup shade looks wrong on you, its more of a TONE problem than specifically a COLOR problem. Since most of us have warm, yellow-ish undertones (when something looks wrong, its more than likely got too much blue or pink in it--ie, cool undertones), I always always always pick stuff in the yellow family. So no matter if you're darker or lighter than me, the shade will look good on you! You just might have to tinker with it a little. For example, if I rave about some bronzey lip gloss and you find its a tad light for your complexion--first line your lips with a dark brown lip pencil to give the shade more depth. Or if you're fair-skinned and find that its too intense, sheer-it-out by applying just a dab and blotting. Or, say I mention some fabulous champagne-colored eyeshadow. If you're dark-skinned, you might find that it shows up a tad brighter on you--so you should just use a lighter hand. Got it? All of this was to say that, dark-skinned sistas, I haven't been ignoring you! Miss Williams speaks to the masses! I'm a woman of the people!

That being said, I've assembled a bunch of products that SPECIFICALLY rock the house on dark-skinned girls. You simply cannot go wrong with these gems, my sepia-skinned goddesses. I hope you're in good standing with your credit card company, because baby, you're about to spend this week's grocery money. Love ya, mean it!


1.) CONCEALER: Prescriptives Camouflage Cream in Warm Extra Dark: Prescriptives is, honestly, the last word in customization. On the website, they have this fabulous "colorprint" program where you can find exactly what your undertones are--yellow/orange, red/orange, red, red/blue (we mostly fall somewhere between y/o and r/o)--for the most exact match for your complexion. Cool, right? Anyway, this concealer in Warm Extra Dark is, hands down, the most natural shade for erasing underye circles, blemishes and other discolorations. Try it and see.
2.) FULL COVERAGE FOUNDATION: Iman Cosmetics Cream-to-Powder Foundation in Earth: The supermodel herself doesn't leave her ridiculously chic penthouse without wearing this, and she always looks good, no? "Earth" is the darkest category, but the great thing is that there are still a variety of shades within this group to choose from, for the most perfect match. Also, if you have acne scars, hyperpigmentation, or an uneven skin tone, this full-coverage formula will leave your skin looking totally flawless--but in a NATURAL way, not like you're performing onstage with Kelli and Michelle. And without that heavy, greasy, gross feeling, either. Genius!
3.) SHEER COVERAGE FOUNDATION: Becca Luminous Skin Color SPF 20 in Mink: If you have a pretty good complexion but just want a little something to make you look "finished," this ultra-sheer tinted moisturizer leaves a weightless, ultra-light hint-of-a-tint on your skin. With subtle light-reflectors it gives your complexion a luminous, healthy glow, like you've been frolicking on the beach all day. Honestly, it's so beautiful you might be forced to wear dark shades and a baseball cap to dodge the barrage of compliments. Never heard of Becca? Its a relatively new line created by a famous Australian makeup artist who wanted to create a no-BS makeup line for all ethnicities--and believe me, she wasn't kidding.
4.) BLUSH: MAC Powder Blush in Raisin: If you're not already rocking this, shame on you! This is the end-all, be-all blush for darker complexions. Every dark skinned girl I know--including my friend Lola, who's makeup arsenal a number of you have expressed a wish to plunder--sings the praises of this miracle worker. See, the problem with blush for darker skin is that the wrong color can look clown-like or, if its too pink, totally ashy. This cinnamon-brown blush has enough golden undertones in it that, when brushed onto the apples of the cheeks (smile big--there they are), it looks outrageously, that radiantly flushed look you get after running a marathon or dancin' in the sheets. Um, take your pick.
5.) EYESHADOW: Hard Candy Eye Shadow Quartet in Old Skool: A couple of years ago, the creative director of Urban Decay and Hard Candy, Wende Zomnir, decided to totally refurbish the Hard Candy line. Well, I BEGGED her to keep Old Skool in the lineup because, and I'm not kidding, every black girl I knew (yeah, yeah, yeah--Lola included!), lived and breathed for this compact of four perfect eyeshadows. I like to flatter myself that she took my advice, because its still in existence, and as kick-ass as ever. The genius quartet includes an ivory shade for the browbone; a rich, golden-copper shimmer for the lid (if you're feeling saucy); a matte taupe for the lid (if you're feeling corporate); and simply the sauciest, deep coffee-brown spiked with golden flecks that's amazing blended into the crease. Use one, use all, experiment with different combinations, whatever--its all good and its all hot and it was MADE for walnut-skinned lovelies.
6.) NEUTRAL LIP: Three Custom Color (3C) Lipgloss in Raisinette or Hot Cocoa: I've mentioned 3C before--its the brilliant company that custom-blend shades for customers based on their coloring and also reproduces discontinued makeup shades. Well, they also have a house line that's absolutely incredible. The head makeup artist, Trae Bodge, is a brilliant black woman so she TOTALLY gets it. The glosses are particularly genius (and I'm not just saying that because they invented a special, coppery-reddish-brown one called Billie, inspired by Miss Burke herself, of THE ACCIDENTAL DIVA fame!). If you favor an understated, is-she-or-isn't-she lipcolor, go for either Raisinette or Hot Cocoa--they're rich, beautiful, slightly sheer chestnut-browns that look amazingly natural on dark complexions.
7.) SHIMMERY LIP: Clinique Colour Surge Impossibly Glossy Lipgloss in Braisin: Ohh, this deep, bronzey-berry-brown shade with a subtle shimmer is downright breathtaking on dark brown skin. It's a bit sheer, so if you like a more opaque, intense look, first line and fill in lips with a brown lip pencil (try MAC Lip Pencil in Chestnut or BBQ, both MAJOR black girl classics) before applying. So flirty-cute!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This chocolate chica is stoked, happy, I can't think of the word. I never wear make-up, unless it's lip gloss (if that really applies), but mama's credit card may take a ride tonight.
Oh, saw your page in Vibe Vixen, nice technology.


5:26 PM  
Anonymous Fo'Real in Los Angeles said...

Thanks a million for this wonderful post. I am definitely going to try the concealers. Congrats on being featured in VV. Your star is too bright sista!!!

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Tami said...

Thanks Tia you are "Da Bomb" I will be picking up the Hard Candy eyeshadow quad.. woohoo

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Tia!

I am one of the people that "besieged" you for advice in your other post.

And I'm proud to say that MAC's Raisin blush has been in my makeup bag for years!

12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, this online mag has a huge listing of what looks good on black girls. apparently the editor in chief has a problem with finding right colours, too!

marlo magazine

they are canadian, i think, but hey... at least we can get some of their stuff!

- linda

1:08 AM  
Blogger shimmerliciousdiva said...

"...Sepia-skinned Goddesses" see Tia, this is why we love you! Good looking out. Thank You for always choosing products for ladies of all different shades. (Thank you for the tips as well: "use a lighter hand..." etc.- very helpful! Now, Operation "Sepia-skinned Goddess" Beautification will officially begin.

Congratulations on being featured in VV. Very nice picture. You look great as always, and Chappie is too cute (he always seems to have the cutest poses in these pictures). Thanks again Tia.

1:15 AM  
Anonymous Porsche said...

Endless *smooches* to you Miss Williams...can't wait to try the eyeshadow and glosses.

10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tia i love you and your book! well i thank you from the bottom of my heart for lookin' out! oh and the hard candy eyeshadow, it's hot to death!

6:58 PM  
Blogger Shelia said...


I just saw you in a commerical. I'm not sure how often it'll be airing, but I'm glad I caught it. I know I'm behind on reading your blog, but I just wanted to say CONGRATS on the commercial and you go girl!!!

8:09 PM  
Blogger MsTyque said...

Congrats on your P.R. blitz (you and Chappie look adorable in VV)and merci mille fois for the makeup tips. I already use everything on your list except for the glosses and eyeshadow and dang it I guess I'll have to buy those too... :)

7:06 PM  
Anonymous Toi said...

I'm probably late, but I just saw your commercial while watching ANTM. You looked great!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Toya said...

I ran right out and got the Tarte lipgloss in Bonnie and Clyde. It ROCKS! Thank you! I am constantly on the look-out for the perfect red and this is it!

8:56 AM  
Blogger Amn.eris said...

As a dark-skinned sista, you are so on the money with this list.

I have been using Px custom-blending makeup for years. I must add though, I am extremly disappointed that they moved them from Saks. *sigh*

As for the Clinique, Iman and MAC blush...THEY ARE AMAZING.

12:05 PM  
Blogger Suezette b.k.a. Mz.Black Geisha said...

I saw the VV article and now I want one of everything on the page...LOL..especially the Sidekick.

I was wondering if you had an opinion on the new H.I.P. line by L'oreal? I've been unable to find the colors they advertise in the ads in the store.

3:41 AM  
Anonymous funkee said...

OMG! This is hands down the BEST entry you have done! :)

I have been wearing Chestnut since 95. LAWD! What a great post

*fanning myself*

9:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Tia... clearly you're like a friend in my head. Because right now you are bringing pure joy into my world!! And yes it's that deep. I was too tired of searching & spending and spending & searching for make-up that looks good on my skin. You always deliver when a sista needs advice and I do appreciate you for that. So next week I will definitely be out on the cosmetic prowl :-) !! Thank you for enlightening me once again.

~~Fabulous-ly Challenged
alias Living-N-Learning

11:15 PM  
Blogger farfalla74 said...

Congrats on your success at such a young age. You are truly an inspiration.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Bellanegra said...

Thanks for being a saving grace for ebony enchantresses everywhere..can't wait to begin my shopping spree!!

9:34 PM  
Blogger DDNice- Single? Black Female said...

I am obsessed with finding the correct fuchsia colored lipstick for summer- and the only one I knew that could help me was you. So if you have any recommendations for a MJB colored sister- let me know!

I honestly do not know what I did pre-blog days.

1. I bought your book Accidental Diva based purely on the picture of you on the back.

2. I was so impressed when I saw your Olay commercial- honestly like I knew you.

3. My best friend is jealous of how much I talk about that book, your commercial and blog.

11:06 AM  
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