Expert Beauty Tips For Deeper Skin Tones
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As a woman with a deeper skin tone, I’ve made my fair share of beauty mistakes. It was one of the reasons I became a make-up artist – so I could learn the right techniques to become my own beauty expert and share this knowledge with others. After over ten years in the industry, I can safely say things have come a long way from the days when it was difficult to find the right foundation or suitable skincare to treat our specific needs. There are now plenty of products out there that complement our skin instead of masking it and, while more choice is always a good thing, it can also lead to confusion. To help you navigate your beauty journey, I’ve rounded up my seven biggest takeaways so far…
Don’t Neglect SPF
I can’t stress enough the importance of wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day. If I had no choice but to use one thing on my skin, it would be a daily sunscreen. There’s no point spending vast amounts of money on serums and treatments if you’re not using SPF. For far too long, there was this misconception that deeper skin tones weren’t affected by the sun or didn’t need to use sunscreen. But the sun doesn’t discriminate, and the damaging effects can happen to anyone, no matter how dark you are. In fact, it can be even harder to detect sun damage on deeper skin tones, which is why it's even more important to wear SPF. I’m passionate about sharing sunscreens that work on deeper skin tones because so many formulas aren’t inclusive and look unsightly on dark skin. Some of my favourite SPFs are lightweight – and with many now available as a spray, there’s never been an easier way to keep protection levels topped up throughout the day.
Treat & Prevent Pigmentation
Hyperpigmentation is the most common skin concern among deeper skin tones. I’m always asked what products I use to prevent and treat hyperpigmentation, but first it’s important to understand why we’re more susceptible to hyperpigmentation. Darker skin contains higher levels of melanin; if you’re pregnant, on a certain medication or have had excess sun exposure, this can cause trauma and result in post inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) – an overproduction of melanin. You may see dark marks forming, which can take months or even years to fade. For that reason, prevention is key, as is understanding which ingredients will help maintain an even skin tone. I love using skincare that contains tyrosinase inhibitors which work to control and regulate melanin production. Look out for vitamin C and tranexamic acid on the ingredients list – both are proven to lighten pigmentation and maintain a brighter, more even skin tone.
Renew With Retinoids
Retinol is the gold standard for increasing cell turnover and boosting collagen production. I regularly use a retinoid as part of my skincare routine and credit it with my skin’s youthful, glowing appearance. If you are looking to overhaul your skin, start off by gradually introducing a retinoid into your night-time routine one to two times a week. There are so many fantastic options out there and I love well-rounded formulas that combine ingredients, so you really get your money’s worth. The new Beauty Pie Double Retinol Overhaul Serum is particularly effective at resurfacing the skin. Just remember to wear daily sunscreen when using a retinoid.
Practise Colour Correction
Typically, deeper skin is not all one colour – we can experience under-eye discolouration and brown marks as a result of PIH. Instead of trying to mask this with a heavy foundation or concealer, try using a colour corrector instead. Depending on what you’re trying to correct, you can get different shades that will neutralise that area of decolouration. For example, if you have brown discolouration under your eyes, you need a peach or orange-toned corrector; this works really well on medium to deep skin tones to neutralise any brown discolouration and it’s also great for any brown spots on the face. The result is a far more flawless-looking complexion, that looks natural as opposed to a cakey because you’ve tried to even out your skin using layers of foundation. Correctors are such a game changer – try one if you feel your make-up isn’t as seamless as it could be.
Get Your Blusher Right
Blusher is one of the easiest ways to brighten your complexion. I always feel more youthful with blusher on – the flush of colour is just the pick-me-up my complexion needs. That said, I know so many friends with deeper complexions who avoid it altogether because they fear looking like Aunt Sally or ‘clownish’. Getting it right comes down to two things: colour choice and application. I tend to stick to blushers with a warm undertone – orange and coral are really complementary. If you do go for pinks, make sure they have a warm undertone, so they don’t read as ashy or grey on your skin. A great tip is to look at the natural colour in your lips and choose colours that complement it. Then it’s about finding the right formula: for something long lasting, opt for matte shades and apply it with a brush. If you want something sheer and fool-proof, a cream blush can look really natural when applied with your fingers.
Cheat Your Way To Warmth
One of my favourite steps in my make-up routine has to be bronzer. It is a great way to add warmth to the skin – especially when you have limited access to sun. Many people assume deeper skin tones don’t need a bronzer but, as a self-confessed bronzer addict, I can confirm we do. I like bronzer shades that emulate th colour of my natural tan. I recently came back from St Lucia and have gone a nice golden-brown, so I use a bronzer that emulates that. Over time, my tan will fade, but I can still top it up to maintain that sun-kissed glow. I also like to use bronzer as a colour-correcting tool. For many deeper complexions, their face may not match their neck and chest, and so they can use bronzer on the face, neck and body to ensure a unified look. Formula-wise, I like to layer products, using a cream bronzer first then setting it with a powder bronzer.
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