Let’s face it, melanin-rich skin tones have their own set of unique concerns, from hyperpigmentation and unevenness, to excess oil and eczema. Factor in our concerns about aging, where the focus is not so much on wrinkles (black doesn’t crack right?), but rather on sagging skin and loss of elasticity and that’s a tall order to fill. Yes, for women of color finding the right beauty products can be a bit of a challenge. Not to mention the trials and tribulations of finding a good foundation.
BEAUTY PRODUCTS FOR WOMEN OF COLOR
Fortunately, thanks to the ongoing “trend” of inclusivity, beauty brands have begun developing products and colors for this distinct and largely underserved market. Considering the fact that women of color typically spend about 80% more on cosmetics and skincare products than our white counterparts, I’d say it’s about time. Finding a great beauty routine that addresses these special issues is key to maintaining a gorgeous complexion. If you’re Latina, Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian, Mediterranean, or of African descent, here are some products to consider in your quest for celebrating the richness and diversity of your skin tone.
When choosing complexion colors, be sure to match both your surface tone and your undertone (warm, cool, or neutral). Go too far one way or another and your foundation and concealer will end up looking either gray and ashy or too red-orangy. Always test color on your face and neck, not the back of your hand. Concealer should be 1-2 shades lighter than your natural skin tone to brighten the area under your eyes. Use the proper tools (brushes or sponge) to get the coverage you want. Luxe favorites include MAC, Laura Mercier, Estee Lauder Double Wear, Nars, L’Oreal True Match, Maybelline Fit Me, Lancome Teint Idole, and Bobbi Brown. These brands have a nice range of shades in foundation, concealer and powder, and finishes to match a variety of skin tones.
GLOWING SKIN IS IN
Melanin-rich skin is not only highly reactive but also more susceptible to dark spots from sun exposure, acne, or even a scratch. Here are some products to add to your daily routine to help address these issues and keep your skin radiant.
Urban Skin Rx Cleansing Bar ($28)
Created with people of color in mind, this cleansing bar deeply exfoliates with a blend of kojic and azelaic acids to help improve the appearance of uneven skin tones and dark marks.
Black Up Daily Face Purifying Gel ($22)
A’Naturelle Tumeric Facial Mask ($17)
Great for acne-prone and oily skin with its calming tumeric, this mask will also unclog pores and treat uneven skin tones.
SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Seeum ($154)
This retinol-free correcting serum is a champion at fading stubborn skin discolorations and dark spots. You can see results in as little as two weeks, and it’s free of parabens, fragrance, and hydroquinone.
Unsun SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Sunscreen ($29)
No matter how deep your complexion, all skin needs sun protection. But most sunscreens are not created with deeper skin tones in mind. After suffering sun damage, singer-songwriter Frank Ocean’s mother, Kaytonya Bteaux, developed Unsun, a sunscreen slightly tinted for darker skin tones that won’t leave a white film on your face.
Dr. Heather Woolery-Lloyd created Specific Beauty, a skin care line designed to meet the unique needs of women with skin of color. Her products–which include cleanser, moisturizer, and dark spot correctors–help improve skin texture and tone, address hyperpigmentation, brighten and are also anti-aging.
Nothing beats a show-stopping highlighter, especially on a rich skin tone. A warm rose-gold highlighter will give you an amazing glow and really bring your face to life. Apply it on the tops of your cheekbones and down the center of your face (nose, cupid’s bow, and chin.) Women of color should avoid highlighter with pink or silvery tones, as they can look white on our skin.
(Clockwise from top: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfecter Rose Gold $38, Beauty Bakerie Illuminator Frozen $32, Milani Hypnotic Lights Powder $13, Nars Illuminator Super Orgasm $30, Fenty Beauty Match Stix Shimmer Stick $25)
Remember, the richer your complexion, the more intense the color you can use on your eyes, lips, and cheeks and still look fabulous!