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Bright Colors on Dark Skin

Out of darkness comes a bright light!

Recently, I worked on an editorial shoot in Brooklyn at Fast Ashley’s Studios and had the opportunity to grab my client Shavaughn Childs of FOURCEmag to discuss her perspective on women wearing bright makeup.

During the shoot, I was given the green light to experiment with bold shades of pink and orange on this beautiful palette of chocolate skin. I was beyond excited because often times, I am discouraged from using strong colors when shooting a model that is of color.  

It was a perfect fit, considering Shavaughn’s makeup inspiration for her June issue derived from the trend of neon colors reappearing this season for apparel. “I took that same concept and implemented it during the shoot,” she said.  

She also mentioned how she really wanted to emphasize the cheeks and lips, because those facial features normally catch her attention. We both agreed that with a deep, brown canvas overlaid with a wash of intense color would make the model’s skin pop. And it did— I rocked her makeup application, and she was gorgeous!

Having a cocoa complexion herself, I almost never see her without a bright lip or cheek color. So I had to be nosy and ask what she used and her thoughts on brown-skinned women wearing bright makeup.

I have always thought that any woman, regardless of skin color, could rock whatever hue she desired just as long as she applied it properly. And Shavaughn agreed: “This look can be achieved for all women of any complexion. My take on women wearing bright color palates for makeup with darker complexions are using brands that specialize in substantially pigmented colors.”

She suggested using fun color palettes from NARS and Kryolan and stated, in order to successfully apply heavy pigmented neon colors to a darker skin palate, the makeup artist must be skilled and the "Average Joe" must practice intensely.

This is true. Some women seem to get frustrated after the first try. Understand it will take a little bit of trial and error before nailing the look you are trying to achieve.

When applying her lip color, Shavaughn applies those colors with a natural/nude color lip stick as a base then apply the primary (neon) color lipstick/gloss on top of the base which will provide a better contrast with the skin tone.

She finishes the look with a natural color lip liner to blend the edges of the natural lip line with the primary lipstick or gloss, which will provide a smooth transition from the upper lip to the natural lip line. To add to her suggestion, staining the lips or cheeks by gently pressing the pigment into the skin rather than gliding it across will offer a sheer application as an alternative.

So to all my ladies of a darker skin hue, make summer your season to shine by having a little fun with bright colors. A little practice may go a long way in adding a little diversity to your overall summer look!

Georgy June 12, 2012 at 09:31 PM
"I have always thought that anyone, regardless of skin color, could rock whatever heq or she desired just as long as she applied it properly" and I too am a person who enjoys the contrast of SOME bright colors on my very dark skin.
Britney B June 28, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Bright colors do look good on dark skin when done right.. check out www.brightlipsticks.com

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