Perfect Foundation Application for Darker Skin

These are my go to steps whenever I am doing make-up on darker skin!

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Make-up for darker skin can be challenging and I believe it is a technique learned only through understanding colour correcting. The reason why it can be challenging is because with darker skin you are not dealing with just one shade all-over the face, but there are about 2-3 different shades/tones present. Personally I believe that this is one of the reasons why darker skin is soo beautiful!!! It has dimension, warmth and contours! If you decide on using only one colour to apply all-over the face, you will start seeing certain areas looking grey. This is when you usually think to apply more to cover the grey..and soon enough you are stuck with a thick slathering of foundation or powder that looks grey and terribly unnatural.

The best way to go about foundation for darker skin:

1. Have a look at the skin and determine which shades are present. It is usually a bit darker around the mouth, under-eye, nose and sides of the forehead. Lighter on the middle of the forehead, nose, cheeks and chin, and a “medium dark” shade around the outer edge of the face. The first two colours, darker and lighter, are your main focus though! We will get to that in a second.

2. If you are opting for a more natural look DO NOT use any product with a powdery, matt finish, but rather opt for a semi-matt liquid, or my favourite, cream foundation. Powder foundations and foundations with a powdery finish can make dark skin look very done/made-up.

3. Do Not overdo it! Darker skin does not need a lot of foundation, it just needs the right colours in the right places.

4. If needed use a translucent or blot powder to finish off the foundation. This will give a sheer, semi-matt, silky finish.

5. Probably one of my TOP TIPS for darker skin is to use SUNSCREEN! So few darker skinned models that I meet wear sunscreen. Darker skin does go darker in the sun! Trying to match a darker face to a lighter body is one hell-of-a task.


Your first step is to Colour Correct the darker areas usually around the mouth, nose, under-eye and side of the forehead, using a warm (pinkish) concealer or an orange colour corrector.

This Video explains Colour Correcting very well and it applies to ALL skin colours!

After the colour corrector you have two choices:

-You can either choose a foundation colour that matches the neck and chest and apply it all-over.

-You can use a shade the same as the colour on the neck and chest, AND a shade one-to-two shades darker than the skin colour (this is the “medium dark” shade)

If you decide to use just the one colour it is absolutely fine. This will give you a natural even-tone across the face and it will make sure that the face and neck match. Just simply apply the foundation all-over, over the colour corrector that you have just applied. Remember not to apply too much 🙂

For the second method apply the shade the same colour as the neck and chest on the middle of the forehead, under the eyes, on the cheeks, bridge of the nose and the cheekbones. These are the areas that we would usually apply our highlighter for contouring. This is also where you can add a touch of a yellow highlighter, depending on how intensely you would like to contour. Then finish off the make-up by applying the “medium dark” shade on the edges of the face and in the hollows of the cheeks. Make sure that where the lighter colour and this colour meet is very well blended. This method gives you a naturally contoured face that compliments the existing shades on the skin.

If needed use a translucent or blotting powder to set the foundation. This is also the powder you would use to touch-up during the day and blot away any shine.

My Favourite Powders for setting and blotting that I use on Darker Skin:

MAC Prep&Prime Transparent Finishing Powder

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This is one of my All Time Favourite Finishing powders that I use on ALL skin tones..from the palest to the darkest. It is colour-less, it sets foundation beautifully and blots shine without looking too flat and matte. This powder also photographs beautifully as it optically minimizes the look of pores, wrinkles and imperfections.

Available in a Loose or Pressed Powder at for R290


Black Opal Invisible Oil Blocking Powder


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I love this Colour free, Oil absorbing powder by Black Opal, a brand that specially caters for women of colour. This powder sets the foundation, blots shine, absorbs oil and can be used to touch-up during the day. It is a super fine powder that won’t leave a heavy powdery finish, and it won’t dry out your skin. You can use it over make-up or just on clean moisturized skin. I find this powder to be a touch more matte than the MAC Powder mentioned above, which makes it a great powder for those with an oilier skin.

Available at selected Clicks, Foschini, Edgars and Truworths stores for R180

I hope this article was helpful!

Keep an eye out for my post on My Go To Foundations for Darker Skin

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