Eye Makeup for Dark Skin

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How to Apply Eye Shadow and Eyeliner for Women with Dark Skin

Foundation and Blush | Eyes | Lips | More at DarkComplexions.com

Eyes of JoremaEye makeup should be light in the day, and dramatic only at night.  We tend to overdo it sometimes, because we're thinking that we want to be able to see the colors.  Sometimes we do, when we want to match our outfit or be festive, but aside of this, eyeshadow should only compliment the eyes, and make them more prominent.  Eyeshadow should not overshadow the eyes.

You should use colors that will blend in well with your skin tone and eye color, while at the same time adding a hint of color to draw onlookers to your eyes.  Blushing eyelids are attractive, so you want to give the appearance of brightness to the area, and not take away too much from the natural contours.  The good news for darker women is that we don't really need much to add darker values.  We just need to add color and highlights.  At night, if you're medium to golden complexioned, you may want to add some darker value  at the crease of the eyelid, but be careful with this.  Too dark can make you look skeletal.

Eye Shadow

For our eye shadow example, we'll go with one of the most normal shapes of eyes for women of color...the medium almond eye with the somewhat brief, rounded eyebrow.  From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a great many of us have almond eyes and half-moon brows.  If this isn't your eye shape, view the example anyway, as many of the basic principles are the same for thin almond eyes.
First of all, if you have very thin brows, use an eyebrow pencil to balance them.  You should do this first so that you can see the shapes that you're working with clearly.

Eyebrows can be handled a couple of ways: by darkenning them with a powder or soft pencil, or drawing small eyebrows.  You would darken them with a powder if your brows are somewhat thick but sparse or unevenly colored.  Use the drawing method when you just have a few places where it would look better to have a few more hairs.

Do not draw a single line or streak as eyebrows.  Actually draw the short lines.

You will need three colors.  One should be the main color that you want to be noticed.  The other two should compliment this color.  One should be a little lighter, and the other should be very light or a sheer metalic, frost, or glitter.

Close your eye, and apply the main color to the eyelid, from the edge to the crease.

Apply the complimentary color to the center of the eyelid and to the puff just under the outer edge of the eyebrow.

Then apply a line of the highlight to the edge of the eyelid, and another short thin line of it just under the outer edge of the eyebrow.

When you open your eye you will see basically where the colors are going to be.  If it doesn't suit you, play with the width of the second color, or perhaps add some of the highlight to the middle of it.
Now blend the colors.  Try to limit the blending to the area between the eyelid and eyebrow.  In some cases, you will blend farther out, but generally, try to limit it.  You don't want to look like you're auditioning for Cats unless you actually are.  ;-)
Then apply your eyeliner and mascara.  Notice that for this shape of eyes, you do a thin line of eyeliner at the top lid's edge, and only 2/3 of the lower lid.  This makes the eyes stand out and look bigger instead of smaller.

Since this example's skin tone is cool, we used a navy blue eyeliner.  With pink and purple eyeshadow, navy blue brings the eyes out without darkenning them overmuch.


There are many ways to wear eyeliner.  Here are some examples:
Notice what each of these can do the the shape of an eye.  Totally encircling the eye makes for more contrast, but it makes the eyes look smaller and more closed.  Leaving open lines opens the eyes more.  Adding a contrasting lighter color to the eyeliner makes the dark color more noticeable.

Darker skinned women often don't even need eyeshadow if they use the right eyeliner technique.

Want more shadow and liner looks?
Learn the Smoky Eyes technique at DarkComplexions.com!
Now a word about kohl.  Modern eyeliners were not made for use on the inner edge of the eyelid.  So if you want to color the inner edge, use only an eyeliner marked as safe for contact lense wearers that is alcohol and irritant free...or use real kohl eyeliner with a lead free mineral recipe.

When you apply kohl, do it with one of those baby tipped cotton swabs.  I know this isn't traditional, but the traditional way can damage your inner eyelids in time.  Dip the cotton swab in a little oil and then apply the kohl with it.  Do not touch your inner eyelids with your fingers, or poke in your eye socket.  Pull at the skin just outside your eyesockets to expose the inner eyelid just enough to get the kohl on.

Next: Lips >>>>

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© 2006 Nicole Lasher