In this tutorial I'll give you some basic information about common undertones and complementary colors for many different multicultural skintones. This will give you a basic foundation of knowledge that you can leapfrog off of and experiment with!
Step 1: History of Makeup for Multicultural Skintones
Before the 1970’s, makeup for women of color was extremely limited. Even makeup that was
specifically marketed towards women of color concentrated on skin colors at the
lighter end of the spectrum, leaving those with darker skintones or more
complex undertones with makeup that would only turn their skin grey or
ashy. In 1973, Ebony magazine founder Eunice W. Johnson
started the first high-end makeup company created specifically for women of
color, Fashion Fair, after years of frustration finding the correct cosmetics
for her models. Luckily, today we
have a plethora of brands created specifically with women of color in mind, and
every major cosmetic line carries a vast range of products suited for any
skintone. However, it can still be
difficult to choose the correct cosmetic for many women of color, whether due
to complex undertones not found in lighter skin colors or finding one of those
skin tones that are “in between” shades. In this tutorial I’ll give you some
information about features common to different skin tones to help you find the
cosmetics best suited to you.
Remember, whatever your skin tone and color, you can really wear any
color lipstick, eyeshadow, or blush that tickles your fancy, as long as you
balance it with the rest of your makeup! Nothing (aside from foundation) is limited to only people of
one color or tone.
Some brands designed specifically with women of color in
mind to check out: Cover Girl Queen, Iman (both found in drugstores), Motives
for La La, Mud, Essence, and Fashion Fair.
Step 2: Asian Skintones
People of Asian descent most commonly have a yellow undertone to their skin.
Foundations should either be neutral (in the beige range) or have a
similar yellow undertone to match.
For a classic, natural look, colors in a true neutral (beige
undertones as opposed to yellow, pink, blue, or red) or cooler tones are
Asian women tend to have
short, straight eyelashes. A good
eyelash curler and lots of mascara (or false lashes, temporary or permanent, if
you want to go that route) can give you that full, curly lash look. Or, if you want to forego all of that,
a thicker eyeliner, skipping the mascara entirely, can look amazing.
Step 3: Latin and Mediterranean Skintones
People of Latin and Mediterranean descent generally have a shade of olive as their skin’s undertone.
The olive is most usually a warm tone, but some have a cool olive
undertone to their skin.
Generally, neutral foundation colors work best—ivory, wheat, honey—but
warm-toned shades with pink undertones may be better for you if you find that a
true neutral makes you appear washed out.
Intense, clear colors work well for lips and cheeks. Warm-toned or neutral smoky eyes are
Latin and Mediterranean women can tend to have thick, unruly
eyebrows. To combat this, brush
your eyebrow hairs up using a clean spoolie or eyebrow brush and carefully trim
with a pair of small scissors.
Brow gel, mascara, or wax can be used to help keep the hairs in place.
Step 4: Dark and African Skintones
Women who are darker shades of brown are often lumped into the same category, but they truly should be a category of their own. Women of African descent range in
shades of brown from very light to very dark, with no single common
undertone. Some women even have
more than one undertone in their skin, making it difficult to find the correct
foundation color. If this is your
case, you may have to blend two or more foundation colors to match your skin
perfectly, or find a foundation that has a neutral (beige) undertone in your
shade. Women in the light brown
range commonly have yellow undertones to their skin; medium brown, golden
yellow undertones; dark brown, red orange undertones, and black brown, blue
Eyebrows can also be thick and hard to tame. Keep them trimmed, use a brow gel, wax,
or mascara to keep them in place, and use a dark brown (not black) eyebrow
pencil or shadow to shade in brows as pure black will make them look grey.
Bright, vibrant hues with a warm or cool undertone to coordinate
with your skin look fabulous on cheeks and lips of women with dark skintones. Neutral colors are better on the eye,
especially if paired with a rich vibrant lip/cheek. Contouring is not needed on darker skintones, but
highlighting can make facial features really stand out.
Remember, these are just guidelines to help you find basic shades that are best for your skin.
I encourage you to experiment and go with whatever makes you feel your