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!
TIA'S TOP MAKEUP PICKS FOR DARK-SKINNED SWEETIES:
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 natural...like, 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!