Friday, November 6th, 2009

Best Makeup for Dark Skin

This part of the Guide seeks to help our dark-skinned beauties find new favorite shades to love. Whether you’re dark-skinned yourself and can offer what you’ve found to work the best or you’re an experienced makeup artist or you have a dark-skinned friend who you know loves such and such product… we want your help and expertise, so please share it with us and everyone else!

To leave a suggestion, simply leave a comment and be sure to let us know what your skintone is like (you can give your foundation shade if that makes it easier!), whether it’s warm or cool, and then rattle off your suggestions! Suggestions can be from any brand you want!

You can check out mine

For photos and swatching reference, please check out:

Best Eyeshadows for Dark Skin (Cool)

  • MAC: Aquadisiac, Amber Lights, Contrast, Espresso, Freshwater, Humid,Mulch, Nocturnelle, Paradisco, Shimmermoss, Stars ‘n Rockets
  • NARS: April Fool’s, Brazil, Kalahari, Misfit, Portobello, South Pacific, Surabaya
  • Urban Decay: Asphyxia, Flipside, Hotpants, Roach, Stray Dog, Toasted, Twice Baked, Vert

Best Lipsticks/Glosses for Dark Skin (Cool)

  • MAC Lipglosses: Chai, Nymphette, Viva Glam VI
  • MAC Lipsticks: Creme Cup, Girl About Town, Rebel, Ruby Woo, Spirit, Strength
  • NARS Lipglosses: Bad Education, Boogie Nights, Revolt, Stolen Kisses, Talitha
  • NARS Lipsticks: Barbarella, Catfight, Funny Face, Scarlett Empress
  • Urban Decay Lipsticks: Confession, Gravity, Jilted, Rush, Trainwreck

Best Blushes for Dark Skin (Cool)

  • MAC: Breezy, Dollymix,
  • NARS: Desire, Dolce Vita, Mata Hari, Outlaw

Best Eyeshadows for Dark Skin (Warm)

  • MAC: Antiqued, Arena, Bronze, Coppering, Deep Truth, Juxt, Mystery, Star Violet, Swimming
  • NARS: Alhambra, Earth Angel, Isolde, Mediteranee, Persepolis, Star Sailor, Wicked
  • Urban Decay: Flash, Flipside, Half Baked, Jones, Rush, Shattered, Vert

Best Lipsticks/Glosses for Dark Skin (Warm)

  • MAC Lipglosses: Beaux (Lustreglass), C-Thru, Instant Gold (Lustreglass), Love Nectar
  • MAC Lipsticks: High Tea, Kinda Sexy, Media, New York Apple, Siss
  • NARS Lipglosses: Babe, Belize, Misbehave, Stella, Sunset Strip
  • NARS Lipsticks: Beautiful Liar, Christina, Flamenco, Viridiana
  • Urban Decay Lipsticks: Gash, Indecent, Pistol, Vinyl, Voodoo

Best Blushes for Dark Skin (Warm)

  • MAC: Ambering Rose, Breezy, Raizin, Sunbasque, Sweet as Cocoa
  • NARS: Deep Throat, Dolce Vita, Exhibit A, Taj Mahal, Taos

My Recommendation Guide is a compilation of Temptalia’s and readers’ recommendations for the best of the best for different skintones. If you’ve ever wondered, “What are the best eyeshadows for my fair skin?” — this guide is intended to give you a good answer, or at least, a good place to start! Help us help others by contributing your own favorites. You can access the entire series, as it stands to date, here.

Discussion and debate are highly encouraged, and we expect community members to participate respectfully. When asking a question, please check the FAQ section (above) for information about purchasing, price, dupes, and the like. If you have general feedback or need technical support, please contact us.

Comments that include advertisements, self-promotion, insults, etc. may be in violation of our comment policy and subject to deletion. Please see our comment policy for more information.

121 thoughts on “Best Eyeshadows, Lipglosses/Lipsticks, Blushes for Dark Skin

  1. Stephanie

    I’m confused…are you asking white people to leave suggestions for dark skinned people?

    “Whether you’re fair-skinned yourself and can offer what you’ve found to work the best or you’re an experienced makeup artist or you have a fair-skinned friend who you know loves such and such product…” ???

    • Sorry about that, Stephanie! I was using the same thing I wrote for the fair skin post — I want anyone who feels like they have good suggestions to participate, whether they know someone else and what they love, or they’re a makeup artist and know what works, or they have the complexion and have the experience.

    • FlutistEmeritus

      I love MAC products. That is the majority of what I own. But Cargo bronzer is REALLY nice in Dark. I’m an NW 45. Check it out you guys. I couldn’t do the Mineralize Skinfinshes because I was allergic. Thank God the mineralize e/s and blushes didn’t give me any problems.

  2. Black Q Tee

    I am a dark complected female, I find that I can pretty much where any shade, because on darker skin everything pops against it. Its all in quality, application, and texture. You have to, like anyone else continue to buy different products and test them and mix them with different things. I always felt when i saw models that were really dark with bright or pastel colors that looked gorgeous on them that I could wear anything and I do. However you have to know how to apply, make sure you have the right textures. I wear any color blush, I just insure I buff them into my skin so that it is not an eye soar, but a subtle glow. Lip sticks, and glosses, I always have to blend certain things to make the colors wearable. The only thing I would suggest for darker skins is to invest in a good foundation. You have to sometimes pay to have the right foundation, because our skin has so many different hues in it. There are very few lines that provide that. Sometimes you have to take the effort and mix them yourselves. Our color is not always in the bottle. Dont be afraid of any color. I knew I was on point when a co worker told me that if I would have called her today and told her I was wearing blue eyeshadow she would have told me dont do it. When she saw me she wanted to know how I made the look so pretty.

    • I totally agree, lovely! I’m actually a firm believer that you can pretty much rock any shade of any product you want no matter your skin color, eye color, or whatever. There are always ways to make something work for you :)

      Thanks so much for sharing your insight and tips!

      What are some of your favorite brands for foundation?

      • Black Q Tee

        My very favorite foundation that gets me the compliment that every one should be looking for when wearing a foundation (Your skin is so beautiful) is my prescriptives custom blend foundation.

        I like Bobby Brown In Wal Nut

        Lancome in Suede 4

        My prescriptives mineral makeup in Level 6 Cool, applied over theie deep translucent foundation primer. Beautiful

        Mac Select in NC 55

        Also I believe women that are darker complected should wear a cream to powder finish because liquid sometimes oxidizes on us and I have to do a few more extra steps to get my foundation to last me all day with no touch ups needed.

        • Thank you so much for taking the time to share :)

        • Sharon

          i agree about the prescriptives custom blend foundation. you look flawless and natural with that on. that was my STAPLE in my makeup stash! but since they are going to stop selling that in january, i weaned myself off of it.

          now i am using urban decay surreal cream to powder foundation in mirage, or urban decay mineral foundation in trippy, or as an alternative, avon mark speedway foundation in mocha. i’ve also found that avon mark powder buff foundation powder is pretty fantastic too. dior powder is great too. neither powder oxidizes and get red on me. they stay true and blend beautifully.

          i just wish more makeup lines extended their foundation selection to accommodate my darker skinned african american sisters. i may have to try mac foundation though. i hear a lot of good things about it.

    • ak

      I am a worshipper of the MAC. But even before I got into MAC when I was younger I’ve always just stuck to using the one color of foundation and powder; I don’t have the patience to mix one color with another! LOL I can understand using a certain matching color of foundation in the winter and then using a darker color in the summer if you’re exposed to the sun a lot though.

      In the winter, or whenever I live in colder climates I’m a MAC NC45 and when I use to live in Florida I was an NC50.

      I have oily skin that’s sensitive and acne prone and I used Studio Fix powder foundation whenever I used makeup and I had no problems, allergies or flare ups that were pinpointed to the Studio Fix. But now I’ve switched from over a year to the MAC Mineralize Loose powder foundation in Dark. I love it and it matches me fine but they should expand the Mineralize Loose foundation to even darker black complexions though.

      Has anyone received an allergic reaction to the MAC Studio Moisture Tint? They should expand the darker colors in that line also most definitely; I bought this in Deep Dark. I’m trying to rule out whether or not I have an allergy to the Studio Moisture Tint, and if I do I’ll buy the Becca tinted moisturizer/liquid foundation.

  3. traca

    Christine,

    Good looking out girl. I am so happy to see someone posting about products for EVERYONE. I’m a dark skinned (NW45) african american woman, and there are limited blog sites for our skin range. There are some scandalous beauty/clumps of mascara, etc that are still striving, but sadly, a large amount of them wither away.

    I’m gonna cosign on 95% of the items above. I love that you included color. If I go to one more counter that tells me b/c I’m brown, I’m allowed to wear three colors..light brown, medium brown, and dark brown, i’m gonna scream.

    JEWEL TONES BROWN GIRLS……they’re your best friend.

    • Yay! I’m glad I got your approval :)

      I think deeper skin tones look SO lovely in color — particularly jewel tones as you said! They just pop and look so lovely.

      • I agree! I’m tired of getting suggested the darkest, ugliest purple in the store. Like what happened in ULTA the other day. Ugh. I work in a makeup store and NEVER suggest dark dark purple or every shade of brown to darker skin customers. I HATE that.

    • Hey—I do a site that caters to women of all races, sizes, and ages—http://www.thestyleandbeautydoctor.com ;)

    • ak

      Exactly. I’m still holding on to an issue of a the weekly Grazia mag I bought in London in October or November 2009 that had (surprise surprise) a beauty section of a few pages dedicated to make up color and brand suggestions for black skin. And they said that regarding smoky eyes, flat black, brown, or gray shadow get lost on black skin, and that dark shimmery/metallic jewel tone colored shadows should be used instead for smoky eyes. The article suggested the MAC Phone Number eye pencil with the Contrast shadow.

      I’ve been using lately Contrast shadow on my lids, and Sketch shadow in my creases, and Smoulder eye pencil as my liner and blended and I haven’t looked back. I use Humid or Mulch shadow also, for the same effect. Smoky eyes are my fave. I have oily eye lids no matter what brand of makeup I use, so as long as I use a MAC paint pot underneath everything, I’m fine.

      The same article said that for the ‘No Makeup’ Makeup look for black skin, you should use any shimmery/metallic neutrals because they will show up on black skin better without looking too strong. They say use shimmery bronze, gold, pale green, and pinky-taupe on the eyes and use pinks, peaches, and plums on the lips if you don’t want to stick to just brown.

  4. For eyeshadows I agree with Christine, but also think Embark is a must have. It makes for a great outer v and crease color. I also really like Texture, Soft Brown, Brown Down, and Swiss Chocolate for neutrals. For lipsticks, I think one of the best reds is Viva Glam I. It looks great on just about all skin tones.

    • Thanks for adding your favorites :) I have to agree with VGI – it’s a great shade for SO many!

    • ak

      Yes. The only bright red lip look that I’ll even consider is the Viva Glam I lipstick with the MAC Mahogany lip pencil. I do NOT look good in true pillar box red lips, bright blue red lips, or bright orange red lips! Plus I’m glad that VG I lipstick is matte; that makes it so much easier to wear!

  5. I have a whole post I made on my site (just realized I used photobucket for the main pics, so if you’re at work viewing this, you might not be able to see them. I must remember to switch them for uploaded pics when I get home)

    Anyway, here’s the post: http://www.thestyleandbeautydoctor.com/2008/05/ask-danielle-makeup-for-dark-skinned-girls/

    I’m NW 47 myself :)

  6. Staci B.

    I’m a NW45.I would add, Eyeshadows-Fig.1, Jest,Rule,Gleam, Handwritten,Goldmine,Cranberry,sooo many others! Lipglass-Nico,Spring Bean,Mad Cap,all shades in 5 Models Misbehaving, Nars’ Greek Holiday. Lipstick-Cyber, Underworld. Blush-Fever.

  7. Stephanie

    Christine – thanks for the clarification…

    For reference I am NC50 in MAC Studio Fix Fluid, 7.0 in Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation, C7 or C8 in Studio Fix Powder, MSF Natural – Dark.

    Spiced Chocolate Quad by MAC (Cult of Cherry ..all the colors are brown girl friendly, super pigmented and pop on our skin tone, if you dont have this you seriously missed out on a jewel).

    Brown Script e/s by MAC (if you are a dark-skinned girl and you love
    MAC you need this in your collection)

    Springsheen blush by MAC (My favorite MAC blush of all-time)

    Pop Mode l/g by MAC (when I’m not sure what lip gloss to wear with my look this is a go-to and it always looks great)

    Taj Mahal blush by NARS (a HG type product)

    Sketch e/s by MAC (a true favorite and a must-have)

    Media l/s by MAC (if you love dark lips this is a good one)

    Our Pick l/s by MAC (my favorite nude of all time)

    Vanilla pigment by MAC (a great multi-use product)

    Albatross face higlighter by NARS (doesn’t give that ashy look like a lot of them do on dark skin)

    Maybelline Amethyst Smokes e/s quad (know about it).

  8. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Shontay shontay

    Thank you for this much needed post christine. I wear #173 in mufe hd and I believe that’s nc 40 in mac. I am rihannals complexion,roughly.

    Lippies I love are: pink poodle, spice is nice, most popular, show orchid, dubonnet, brave red, girl about town (all by mac) and bad education, misbehavin and strip tease glosses by nars.

    Blushes I love are fever, on a mission, and notable by mac
    Nars (my fave blushes), I love taj mahal, mounia, angelika, lovejoy, and crazed

    I love mufe eye shadows. I am on my way to collecting them all.
    Mac shadows I love are fashion groupie, satellite dreams, buckwheat, ricepaper, dazzlelight and sketch

    I love bright colors and I believe we can rock almost anything. We just have to learn how to rock it. I believe as a woman of color, I am fortunate enough to be able to wear bright colors w/o looking clownish. I’m so tired of people thinking we need to wear bronze shades in gloss, eyes and blush. So boring!

    • Hey Shontay!

      Thanks a lot for sharing your favorites for your skin tone! It’s great to be able to see what everyone is wearing and loving after their years of experimenting!

      How many MUFE eyeshadows do you own now?

  9. Montrese

    Thanks Christine & all the ladies that have posted!
    I’m a NC50 & my fav MAC shadows are as follows:
    Goldmine, Ricepaper, Antiqued, Sketch, Brown Down, The Noteriety Quad (from the Artists Collection), Black Tied, Beauty Marked…I think that’s all…lol Oh & Freshwater!
    My lipglosses are: Virgin Kiss, Oh Baby, Transplant, Baby Sparks (dazzleglass), & I love my RUSSIAN RED! lol.
    As far as foundations I really like Black Opal…besides the fact that it transfers it’s fab! HTH! & looking forward to what everyone else says!

  10. Geena1999

    Thanks for this topic Christine! On a lot of websites us brown girls are often left out.

  11. Akia

    I have no idea what color MAC foundation I am bc I’ve never had one (seems I’m the only one LOL), but I am number 6.5 Wamr Almond with Bobbi Brown and New Guinea in NARS shades but i totally recommend MAC Pro AZALEA blush for women darker than me… I have used it on very brown women and it is the most beautiful shade ever. Try it if you haven’t

  12. Nice

    Ummmhh…I guess it’s ok
    Thankx for the effort
    My advise to anyone it’s use whatever u like, anything that has a strong pigmentation, it’s misconception that dark skin should stick with golds and bronzes, it looks good but, u can’t wear on day time can u?!
    Everyone has a particular skin tone, so try different things
    Pay attention to your hair color, eyebrows and eyes
    I have a red/orange undertones(MAC NW45)

    Blush:Anything from Hot Barbie Pink,Orange,Red,Plum, well basically strong matte colors. I normally like to use a dark blush(cream or powder) 1st and then a bright color like orange to POP

    Eyes:PLums(Illamasqua forgiveness), browns,purples,grays,golds peach,greens, everything i feel like except navy blue, i hate that color

    Lipsticks:Dark reds(personally my fav kinda red),berrys.
    Natural lippies i use Nyx Dool,Cocoa, heather, i would recommend these cause they are cheap, great quality and u can experiment

    Glosses:Choose what color u feel has long it’s not very pale, u can look dead

    Makeup it’s something creative so u should what u feel like

  13. Sarah M

    I love using brights on my darker skin clients and on myself. I love the effect. Some of my favourites to use are MAC powder blushes in Devil & Azalea. I also love MAC eye shadows in Bitter, Freshwater and Rule, among may others. Basically, I tend to use bright colours on the eyes or cheeks and then softer, neutral colours on the lips. Of course, I appreciate that this may not be a daily look for most people but it’s what I like to see. :-)

    • Thanks so much for the recs, Sarah! Devil and Azalea are some wickedly intense shades. I wanted both originally, but they were just too much for me and I knew I wouldn’t wear them.

  14. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Kristina Kristina

    I am NC45 and I have learnt that the scarier the product looks in the pan the more effective it is on my skin tone. NARS exhibit A blush is a good example of this.

    What I love about being in this skin tone range is that my m/u tends to blend in seamlessly. Meaning it takes a TONNE of product to look overdone; I can look natural even with the “scary” shades.

    Foundation is best left to higher end brands, mass market companies still can’t create the tones properly…NC 45 range doesn’t mean orange. NARS sheer matte/glow and their firming foundations have nailed the darker ranges; I wear Tahoe.

    I agree with most of your NARS colour choices above but I would add Surabaya eyeshadow to the warm list as well. This is another HG of mine, I hit pan on the right side!

    My additions to your list are:

    shadows:
    NARS Charade, Decameron, Nomad, Corfu
    Rock and Republic Saturate, Nailed, emerge
    Dior sky glow
    Chanel Murano palette, Khaki

    Blush
    Nars Mounia, Gilda, Sin
    R&R Tease ,Kinky

    I think Lips are very individual. I have gray eyes and I wear lighter colours despite being darker. My mother, who is my shade, has brown eyes and darker lips suit her better.

    Face
    Chanel Bronze Universal bronzer
    NARS casino bronzer
    NARS Gold rush powder
    YSL touche eclat no3

    • What a funny lesson, but it definitely seems like a common one many readers have mentioned in this post today – intense shades are not to be feared by those with darker skin tones!

      Thank you so much for adding your two cents :D

    • Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Kristina Kristina

      Oh and I forgot 2 more amazing blushes MAC Frankly Scarlet Blush and Kevyn Aucoin Liquid Fuschia.

  15. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Bobbie Bobbie C.

    I agree with all your suggestions…I would have to add:

    MAC lipglosses: Enchantress, and Pink Poodle

    MAC lipsticks: O, Lickable, and Chockful

    MAC Blushes: Ablaze and format

    NARS Blushes: Crazed and Albatross (highlighter)

  16. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Roxanne Roxy

    Thanks sooo much for this suggestion/reference Christine! I’m happy to know that most of the shades you mentioned i already own, and will definitley be trying some of those blushes. I usually wear Chanel Vitalumiere in Walnut however, i find that in the fall/winter months it’s a pinch dark on me. I’ve ordered 2 of the Make Up For Ever HD foundations to see which shade will work best. Anyways…thanks again!

  17. Robin C.

    Wow Christine, this is such a great topic for women of color and women in general…

    I wear NW47 in MAC Studio Fix Fluid and the Blot Powder in Dark.

    In addition to the MAC and NARS items mentioned in the previous posts, I would recommend that women of color take a look at the following:

    1. Kat Von D Eyeshadow Palettes in Gypsy & Bethoveen (lovely, pigmented purples and greens)

    2. Tarte Treasure Chest – Sephora Holiday Set (sooo many soft, rich colored eyeshadows in matte (16) and shimmer(16))

    3. Cargo Hands of Hope – Sephora Holiday Palette (very vibrant colors -$30.00 bucks for full sized shadows…great deal)

    4. Urban Decay Book of Shadows and 5. Show Pony Palettes (lots of colors to experiment with…some have too much glitter – Midnight Cowboy – but the others are gems)

    6. Stila Loves Barbie Palette (popular palette featuring 12 shadows in 4 circles – still available on Beauty.com website)

    As for my favorite MAC products:

    1. Satin Taupe eyeshadow
    2. Embark eyeshadow
    3. Amorous dazzelglass
    4. Instant Gold lipglass
    5. Sweet as Cocoa blush
    6. Warm Blend MSF
    7. Rebel Lipstick
    8. Resolutely Red Lipstick

    Thanks for this opportunity…keep up the great work, love the site!

    • Thank you for contributing, Robin! This post just keeps getting better and better as people add their suggestions into the mix :) I’m just so happy to provide the space for it all.

  18. Hm, not sure whether this is directed towards colour only, but Lise Watier has come out with a portfolio corrector/concealer palette that is geared towards darker skin tones. I used it while I was shedding my summer skintone. It really stays put! Personally I love it to bits, but may be too dry of a formula for some.

    • Nope, not just color – it’s really anything that may help someone struggling to find the right matches for their skin tone, so concealer/foundation suggestions are great :)

  19. I’m loving the brown girl love!!! I so feel that brown girls can look good in ANY color done well.
    I’m a blush ‘garden tool’ so I currently have:
    NARS: Crazed (heart this one), Dolce Vita, Cactus flower
    CARGO: ROME (my lover)
    MAC: Lovejoy (new lover); althought I’m lemmig some of the one’s you’ve listed!!

    Loving all the comments. Keep them COMMING!!

  20. felicia

    I’m always on the search for a nude or pink nude lip for my NW 45 skin!
    Some of my faves by MAC are:
    Spirit l/s
    4N l/s
    3N l/g
    Bare Truth l/g
    Soft n Slow l/g
    Beaux l/g
    Viva Glam V l/s and gloss
    Touch l/s

  21. felicia

    For a nude pink lip on my NW45 skin my MAC faves are:
    Fanfare l/s
    Modesty l/s
    Love nectar l/g
    UD Naked l/s

  22. Stephanie

    I love this post.
    And being that I am blush whore…
    I decided to post again..these are all blushes I love…

    Pinky by NYX
    Terracotta by NYX
    Pecan by NYX
    Copper by NYX
    Ambering Rose by MAC (hit pan on this)
    Azalea by MAC
    Format by MAC
    Notable by MAC
    Raizin by MAC
    Springsheen by MAC( which I mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve hit pan on that twice and working on a 3rd).
    Reed by MAC (discontinued I believe but it’s a purple blush, which you don’t see often, AMAZING if done correctly).
    Superdupernatural by MAC
    Melba by MAC (a tried a true fave but runs really cool)
    Blunt by MAC (favorite contour shade)
    Warm Soul by MAC
    Style Demon by MAC
    Crazed by NARS
    Brunnette MSF (as a blush is super)
    Sunset Breeze by Milani

  23. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Shontay shontay

    Hey Christine. I have 30 MUFE shadows so far. I will not stop until I have them all. My head spins when I try to settle on which to buy next.

  24. Sass

    I’m a dark beauty and I can wear everything. There is no color I can’t wear except sometimes sheer blushes don’t show up well. That’s it.

  25. Monet

    Best msf’s for dark skin? Beside warm blend of course, lol

  26. shatani

    i am a dark skinned woman who LOVES makeup! my MAC foundation is NW55 (as dark as they go) and i sometimes like to mix that with Becca foundation stick in Espresso.

    in terms of best eyeshadows…any color works, literally. i like to say thats because brown goes with everything! i am a lover of color, personally, and im a big fan pretty deep jewel tone colors and i wear them all the time. the only issues ive found with eye shadows is that i cant wear just any old brand. i find that i need to use brands that are highly pigmented, otherwise it just all looks beige and ashy on me. i think its the amount of talc in the cheaper/less pigmented colors. which is why i was so psyched when HIP came out because there were finally great shades that actually showed up on my dark skin for sale in the drug store.

    im not super adventurous with lip colors….i find a clear gloss or a nudish color is the most i do because my eyes are usually so bright and fabulous. the colors that work though are browns (nude for me), wine colors, peachy pink colors. i LOVE a red lip, but its difficult finding my shade because so many reds have orangy undertones and look like clown makeup on me.

    bronzy/goldy colored blushes look really fresh and pretty. but deep pinks also look gorgeous on dark skin. im partial to HIP creme blushes in thrilled and elated, and MAC blushes in fever and frankly scarlet. ive also taken to using my newly acquired bold and brash (or is it brash and bold?) pigment as a blush…it looks fabu!

    those are all just my tastes…i think brown girls can wear literally any color they want. for lips, its all about finding the right shades for your particular undertones.

  27. Nica

    I agree with everyone else. Us dark-skinned ladies can most definitely wear just about any color. Also, I co-sign that high-end foundation is the way to go. No matter how much I love Queen Latifah’s makeup for CG, I have learned my lesson and just stay away. I currently use MUFE’s HD in 175 and Laura Mercier’s mineral powder in Warm Bronze (this works also as a beautiful highlighter).

    These are my faves:
    Nars eyeshadows: Habanera duo, Galapagos, Faith, Party Monster (especially when I wear it with MUFE’s Purple eye liner pencil – really special), Nomad (so gorg!)

    Nars blushes: I’ll add that Torrid, Outlaw and Lovejoy are really great for dark skin tones in addition to the others you’ve mentioned.

    HIP liquid lip color in Arresting (bright fuchsia) – love it!

    HIP cream eye liner in Teal (makes my light brown eyes look even lighter!)

    Also, navy blues look absolutely fab, although I was told a long time ago that blue eye shadow is not for us! HA!

  28. Meagan

    This is tough for me because I’m Olive skinned. My particular tone is straddling the line between medium and what most cosmetic companies call “dark.” I’m so confused!

  29. Thanks so much for this Christine. I have picked a bunch of new colors in my two favorite brands (MAC and NARS) to try!(NW50 gal here)

  30. Letitia

    This is a great post! I’ll have to bookmark it :)

    I can wear any color on any day, except those with pigmentation issues. Blushes I love for my NC42 skin is NYX’s Terracotta and MAC’s Coppertone.

    Arena eyeshadow is my go-to for anything, lid or brow highlight. My favorite lippie to wear is Missy Slimshine, or the MAC lip gloss from the Dame Edna collection, Splendid. I love corals :)

  31. Star

    I’m NC 43 and for eye shadows I recommend:

    MAC: Bronze, star nova, tempting, all that glitters, juxt, 100 strokes, mulch, greensmoke, sumptuous olive, cranberry, coppering, swiss chocolate, buckwheat

    Gloss: MAC: Get money quick, strawberry blonde, love alert, beaux, oh baby, buzz, little vi, nyx gloss in peach.

    Blush: cantaloupe, margin***, grand duos
    NYX blush in terracotta.

  32. dawn

    Thanks for doing this one for all the brown skin ladies Christine! I agree with the recommendations listed and thank all you girls for more recommendations. I have some to add to my lists!

    I really love blue and neutral/brown eye colors and red and nude lips. But I wear almost everything. Some of my faves are (all MAC):
    Eyeshadows- Parrot, freshwater, moon’s reflection, Woodwinked, amber lights, coppering, goldmine, Go, Texture
    Lipsticks- Stay in touch, Dark Side, so scarlet, Lickable(i was surprised how good this looks), Chelsea, Sweetie
    Gloss- Viva glam 4 and 5, Amorous and Love alert dazzleglass, jampacked, revealing
    Blush- Love joy, Fad-dabulous, Warm Blend(a LE mineralized skinfinish)

    I am a NC 45 by the way.

  33. I’m gonna leave some reqs here as well (NW50)

    MAC ES- Muclch, Romp, Bronze, Woodwinked, Amber lights, Humid, Cranberry, Beautiful Iris, Vex, Arena, Deep truth

    MAC LG- Viva Glam V, O baby, Sinnamon, Who’s that Lady, Love child, Moth to Flame, Beux

    MAC L/S- Siss, O, Hug Me

    These are a few of the MANY that I use…oh…and I LOVE the YSL Rouge Volupte lippies in Sweet Honey and Forbidden Burgundy

  34. T

    Yes its true our skin color does serve as a beautiful background for the makeup color spectrum, so dark skinned ladies dont be afraid. One important thing though make sure that you keep that skin as smooth as butter so theres no rough patches in the foundation. Really with having a natural sun protectant in our skin(and no wrinkles to worry about later)we really dont need foundation all that much, so usually applying lightly with a brush is good enough.

  35. Frances

    Christine, this is one of my favourite posts ever!

    I’m Indian (South Indian) with NC40-50 skin that seems to switch between warm and cool undertones depending on how much sun I get. It sounds silly, but the difference is really visible. When I stay out of the sun, I’m quite cool-toned and my warm-toned makeup looks off and ‘aunt’-like. Whenever I get a bit of sun, it switches back. I never really noticed this till an amazing MAC makeup artist pointed it out to me, and I think it’s true for a lot of Indian women.

    My personal favourites : I think darker-skinned women don’t give Chanel enough attention. I do slightly resent the fact that they don’t seem to carry my shade (not where I live, anyway), but some of the other products are AMAZING. I’m absolutely in love with their Soft Touch eyeshadows in Bois Bleu (SO good when coupled with warm-toned skin and dark brown eyes) and Amethyst (great on me now that I’m slightly more cool-toned). Also adore their Rouge Allure in Lover, Romantic, Clandestine and Captive. And their Rouge Hydrabase in Enigma and Lotus Rouge (very film noir, makes me want to skulk around glaring at handsome men). I just love Chanel in general. And Christine, if you haven’t tried their Glossimer in Sideral, find it and KILL IT. It’s so pretty and always reminds me of you.

    Huge love for NARS blushes, especially Gina and Exhibit A. Bobbi Brown blush in Peony and Tangerine, as well as Scarlet are also good. Shu Uemura red blush in 19D will always be my baby, part of me indefinitely etc etc

    TiGi eyeshadows in Purple, Grey, Teal, Copper, Lime are absolutely beautiful and very affordable.

    Also, Guerlain Laque in Chocolate Shine, Rouge Hollywood and this other Kim Kardashian-esque creamy nude. Dior Creme de Gloss in Rouge Nectar is sublime.

    That’s all I have for now. Christine, absolutely love this kind of post. Ten thumbs up!

    • Hey Frances!

      Thanks so much for adding your recommendations, because it’s SO helpful for anyone else who shares your skin tone and background! I know there are ladies who probably struggle with pairing or wondering whether their skin tone restricts what they can wear!

    • ak

      Nah. The only things from Chanel that I’d give my attention to are their bags, some of the ‘boucle wool’ suit jackets for women, some of their shoes, DEFINITELY their jewellery line, and maybe some of their newer perfumes. I don’t even like Chanel’s true classic perfumes at all.

      Look at the Folies Noires shadow quad that Chanel came out with in the Fall of 2009, they’re supposed to be dark eyeshadows and show up as such but only two of the shadows in there show up OK, but note the other two. At Chanel’s prices? You can forget them then. If they don’t really want to consider me, they consider forgetting my money then!

      Dior eyeshadow quads(or quints?) were good up until a few years ago; they used to make quite a few highly pigmented and dark shadows in those. But YSL just like YSL clothes and bags are excellent for their lipsticks, glosses, some of their foundations are brown but that range should definitely be expanded, and the Touche Eclat is great.

      I’m an NC45 and if I even use the Touche Eclat in No. 1 it will look good but only IF I use it on my blemishes and circles under foundation. The Bobbi Brown Concealer Kit that comes with a little yellow sheer powder compartment is good as well.

  36. Frances

    Oh, and on the subject of navy blue, Red Earth’s Stormy Night is to die for.

  37. iliana

    I’m NC40 and here are some of my favorites (all MAC)!

    EYES:
    Eyeshadows in Ricepaper, Goldmine, Bronze, Amber Lights, Swish, Cranberry
    Liquidlast in Aqualine

    CHEEKS:
    Plum Foolery, Springsheen, Melba, Peachykeen, Peaches, Breezy

    LIPS:
    Lipsticks in Dubonnet, Twig, Hug Me
    Lipglasses in Nymphette, Rich & Ripe, Viva Glam V, Partial to Pink, Wonderstruck

    HTH :) I’m obviously more of a neutral girl, still trying to muster up courage to jump into the world of color!

    • Nothin’ wrong with being a neutral girl, though ;)

      • iliana

        I did have fun wearing a red lip (Dubonnet) on Halloween :)

        And BTW I just want to say I think you’d make a good teacher. You’re so generous and encouraging with your comments. That’s always a good thing! Well I guess you teach us through this site. :P Thanks Christine, keep it up! ♥

        • Yay!

          Aww, thank you! I have zero patience, in real life. I can tell you and give you advice over the web, but I don’t have to be there to help you implement it, LOL. I have patience for some thinigs, but I tried to teach my boyfriend piano, and I sucked as a teacher!

  38. Bridgette

    This seems like a great post for my sister to look at since she is NC44 and she refers to herself being Medium dark. And she has been looking for a great blush since the MAC make up artist wasn’t being very helpful to her.

  39. Jennifer

    i think its harder to find neutral colors for women of color. I am South Asian and my skin tone is NW35-NW40. I really love soba eyeshadow as a neutral lid color. I also like MUFE super lip gloss in 15 as a neutral lip color. I love love love wet, wild, and wonderful as a darker, neutral lip gloss. Ornamental lip glass is also one of my fav’s.

  40. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Shaz Shayla

    Thanks for everyone`s suggestions! I`m pretty new to makeup and MAC, and I`ve been searching for a nice nude lip, as well as a highlighter and blush. I was wondering if anyone had any input on how the products from the Fun in the Sun Mineralized kit would look on NC44 skin :) Thanks again!

  41. Mini

    Hi Christine,

    Thanks much for doing these posts, esp on dark skin tone. I got started of on makeup after reading your blog – total accident, i love you so much for that (my bank account hates you tho :P).
    But christine i have a problem. NW43 gets too orange on me and NC45 is too Pale on me, so MUA at MAC suggested that I mix NW43 and NC45. Its just too much work tho. If possible could you reccomend me a better alternative.

    Also could you suggest some eyeshadows and lippies for my skin tone.
    Also the another MUA suggested Angel with buerre. What do you think of that?

    Thanks a lot Christine, and please keep up this good work.

    • Hey Mini,

      Have you tried NC50, perhaps? You say pale, which I guess I think of as being too light… Anyway, you may be neutral, so that might be why neither works very well for you. I would suggest looking for a line of foundations that offers more neutral shades. Have you tried MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural? Those don’t have undertone variations, so it may work out better for you.

      For your skin tone, you could likely wear *any* of the shades I suggested in the post :)

      I like Angel with Buerre or Pink Treat.

    • Melissa

      Hey girl! I had a similar problem to you when I was trying to find the perfect match with MAC. And believe you me I have a collection of empty foundation sample jars from MAC and tried almost every color from NC 44 to NC 50 including NW40 to NW43. I also tried to mix them but too much of a pain. I realized I had an olive/neutral undertone. And I would suggest you try out MAC’s Face and body foundation in the range C6-C8 and maybe add studio fix powder also in the similar color. And add an MSF natural on top for a subtle glow. Hope it helps :)

      And a huge thanks Christine for this page!! It’s even better than the over the counter MA, here we have real advice and opinions for women of colors so YAY!

  42. Glamrus

    Thank you for giving this topic a voice.
    Currently I am in love with Nars and Benefit products(packaging is so fabulous). I have brown skin with lots of red pigment.. My hair is highlighted red/strawberry blonde(sounds crazy but looks amazing. I have deep brown eyes and look for shadows that pop but don’t look harsh. I hope you love them as much as I do.

    Foundation: Benefit Some Kind of Gorgeous Cream to Powder in Dark
    Lips:Benefit Lip Plumper trio naked, baby pink, red (first time trying plumpers Love It…)
    Benefit: Highlighter stick Tangerine
    Shadow: Nars Behemian Gold Duo, Nars Duo Stage Beauty
    Shadow: Smashbox Limitless lid Hermosa
    Under eye darkness: Benefit Ooh la lift
    Benefit full finish lipsticks feel so amazing and look great

  43. Haylie

    I’m NC 25 but I wanna try Nars Dolce Vita because I heard it gives a rosy glow. Or would it be too dark for my skintone?

  44. Sylvie

    bookmarked! I just love this site :)

  45. ak

    I’m an NC45 and I dyed my hair recently a blue-black and I have long bangs now and I have almost black eyes. I mostly have my eye makeup looking very Cleopatra-ish. I hope my hair will be more conducive to cooler-toned colors in make up; it already is when it comes to cooler-toned shadows but I mean for lipstick.

    I’m not really a gloss person, I prefer the convenience of lipstick and when I want shine, I just wear shinier lipstick, like the MAC Lustre ones. I would really like to try the new MAC lipsticks coming out in the Spring of 2010 the ones that are the cool pinks, cool blue-toned lavenders & mauves, and even the grey-mauves! I don’t care much as long as they’re only the Glaze formulas though, or maybe some of the Lustre formulas! I think that they’d be more wearable in the Glazes or Lustres only. But I’ll be keeping my hair blue-black for a while, because that might help me.

    Strangely enough I want to look at some orangey-pinky coral lippies also now! I said in another comment that I look awful in pillar box true red lips BUT strangely enough I look great in lipstick that’s the love child of red and hot pink together! LOL Sort of any ‘raspberry’ pink.

    To any darker-skinned women reading, try the MAC Beet lip pencil and use that as a lipstick! I’ve received only good comments about wearing it so far! But another good pink lipstick by MAC that doesn’t look like the Beet lip pencil though, is Captive lipstick and I think black women with dark skin would like Captive a lot also.

  46. ak

    To anybody reading this who’s dark skinned try the MAC Cremestick Liner lip pencil in Beurre; that color of pencil will make a believer out of anyone when it comes to light or bright lipstick colors that somebody may be scared of.

    I also recommend the MAC lip pencil in Half Red.

  47. Tori

    Does anybody know if there’s any good Avon eyeshadow / lip gloss products, that would really fit darker toned people?

  48. K

    I just bought taj mahal i have dark skin its so awesome

  49. Shavonne

    I’m an NC 42 in the winter and I am Mirage in Urban Decay foundation. I have desire and exhibit A and they are both so pretty.

  50. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Soraya Soraya

    Im new at makeup but i REALLY want a peachy blush.Do you think peach blushes like mac’s melba,peaches,and peachtwist could work on Nw45-47 skin.

    • Shalimar

      It will give your skin a “lit from within” but minimal color payoff. I highly suggest that you go to the MAC counter and play around with some colors.

  51. Profile wp-user-avatar wp-user-avatar-60 alignnone photo of Melissa Melissa

    Do you think warm dark skin, NC 55 could pull off creme cup?

  52. Hepcat288

    I love Tah Jay Ma Hai

  53. shanika

    HELLO. I have a quick question for you. I wear NC45 -NW45 in Mac foundation and i was recently searing for a bronzer thats darker than the foundation I’m wearing. The girl at the Mac counter gave me a MSF in dark and told me i can use it as a bronzer but i came home and put it on and it looks like the same color as my foundation. Do you know of any MAC dark brown blushes or any dark bronzers that will show up on me so i can contour a bit lol thank you so much !

  54. lushgreenapple

    Very helpful…would be great if you could do a similar compilation with Drugstore Brands

  55. JasmineSmith

    Can anyone recommend a good bronzer & highighter for me? I am a NW46

    • joyceg77

       @JasmineSmith try Guerlain terra-cotta bronzer in No.8  or Cover girl Queen (Queen Latifa range) bronzer in Ebony bronze

  56. Libby8

    Can the covergirl queen bronzer in Ebony Bronze work on nw40 in mac??

  57. hmeressa

    would mac coppertone blush work for warm toned nw 45 skin