Beauty school Tips: 5 makeup tips to enhance dark skin tones

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While fair-skinned gals have to be careful when applying makeup to avoid looking OTT (or like a cast member from The Only Way is Essex), those with darker skin tones can get away with much bolder makeup colours to enhance their facial features. If you’re a cocoa skinned babe, use these beauty tips to enhance what your mama gave you and rock some killer cosmetics in the meantime.

1. Mix it up

It can be hard for anyone to find the perfect shade of foundation, but it is especially difficult for dark skinned girls since there is far less variety in darker shades. While some brands, (Such as Bobbi Brown, MAC and Arbonne) make foundations in a number of different formulations (liquid, powder or cream), they might not be the right shade for you – so don’t be afraid to mix up different formulas to find your perfect match.

2. Make your cheekbones POP

Blush is a step that cocoa skinned women tend to skip, but that’s just doing a disservice to your cheekbones (yes they need love too!). Dark skin tones can get away with wearing much brighter shades than their fair skinned counterparts, so if you’ve got dark skin with warm undertones (think Tyra Banks) then try a cool fuchsia blush shade to enhance them. By the same token, shades with cool undertones (like the stunning Alek Wek) look amazing with warm shades such as tangerine. For a subtle day look, a cream illuminator in a golden shade, such as Gorgeous Cosmetics illuminator in Creme Brulee (one of our fave beauty products !) will help add definition and colour without being icy.

3. Shadow business

Say what you want about Kim K, but she certainly knows how to rock a smoky eye. Take your cues from her and make those beautiful eyes pop with a dark sweeping of shadow for a sultry look. Darker gals can get away with much darker eyeshadow looks during the day, but to up the contrast for a night time look add in accents of lighter shades – shimmery silvers and whites – in the corners of the eyes and along the brow bone.

4. Get bedazzling peepers

For a really bold eye look, coloured liner instead of the standard slick of black is key. Shades of purple, emerald or teal get a rich colour from the dark base and will make your eyes truly pop. If you’re finding the colour isn’t as bright as you’d like it to be then try lining the eye with a creamy white pencil before going over the top with your colour of choice. The white will act as a base to hold the colour in place and you’ll get some great contrast.

5. Work those kissers

While some luscious-lipped women can be afraid of wearing lipstick, rest assured there is no need to be!  Enhance your kisser with deep plums, wines and burgundies which are especially gorgeous with darker skin tones, but for a lighter statement look try a sheer red lippy like Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick in Bellisima. Our beauty product reviewers have agreed that your lips will look vibrant without appearing painted on and you’ll have a statement lip that just begs for attention.

(Top-Bottom) 1. Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich Foundation (with SPF 15), $75,, 2. Gorgeous Cosmetics Ceek Crème Blush in Crème Brulee, $35,, 3. Chanel Les 4 Ombre Eyes Makeup No.93 Smokey Eyes, $68,, 4. Estee Lauder Double Wear Eye Pencil in Forest, $38,, 5. Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick in Bellisima, $45,  

Image of Jourdan Dunn courtesy of Vogue

What do you beauty bloggers use to enhance your makeup look? Tell us in the comments below!

Larissa Thorne (Deputy Editor)

Larissa Thorne (Deputy Editor)

When I'm not working on getting my first novel finished you'll find me buried under the great wall of credit card debt that I've collected over the years. I am a hoarder of shoes, jewellery, books and Disney DVDs and am physically incapable of restricting my chocolate intake.

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Wow she looks so amazing!


oh my goodness! I already have a little bit of a crush on dark skin, it always seems to be smooth and glowing (or do i just have too many stunning dark-skinned friends?!) but I am even more jealous now, reading about these lovely make-up ideas! 🙂