By Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
Almost every spring season, designers send a parade of mostly white models down the runway wearing faces painted in baby pinks, warm corals or neon brights. Though these shades don’t have the same “nude” effect or “pop”on black skin, editors declare them the colors of the season—leaving Black women to translate the makeup movement of the moment so it works to their advantage.
The Spring/Summer 2015 shows were no different. Houses like Missoni glossed lips with flaming shades of orange, while labels like Peter Som lined eyes with striking slashes of neon. Even Fall makeup trends, which usually celebrate rich autumnal hues, have been stubbornly bright with ateliers, including Michael Kors’ latest peachy blush tones. Meanwhile, drugstores and department stores have been hosting cosmetics brands, like Iman, that respond with deeper depth in their bright shade selections.
So how can Black women, who want in on the trend, find products and pigments that won’t make them look like Ronald McDonald? We asked Ohio-based makeup artist and MAC specialist MelissaRoshan Potter, who’s spent the past 15 years prepping faces of all hues for weddings and other special events. Check out her suggestions to learn how you can sport those luminous tones no matter where you land on the shade spectrum.
EBONY.com: Which brands do brights right for black women?
MelissaRoshan Potter: [One is] Lala Anthony’s line Motives Cosmetics. She’s got a lot of hot pigments in her makeup. Iman Cosmetics also is incredibly amazing [at] those bright pigments without making someone look ashy or garish. Then, of course, I love MAC Cosmetics and Bobbi Brown.
E: Flame-colored lips are a big trend this season. Which colors and brands do you recommend for Black women?
M: So Chaud by MAC really looks great if a woman has a lighter complexion. Perhaps she has a tan and she just wants lips that are super, super out there. So Chaud is actually great for darker skin and cocoa-hued skin [too]… Also, there’s a MAC color called Vegas Volt. [It’s] not super orange, but you’re definitely going to get a lot of pigment there. If a woman is really bold and daring and really wants to take it there, there’s a MAC color called Neon Orange.
E: What about bright or metallic eyeliner?
M: There is an eyeliner by MAC called Teddy. It’s brown, but it also has gold specks in it so it’s still going to give that woman a metallic hue without it looking garish. But if the woman absolutely wants to play with those metallics, stick with a metallic eye shadow, and use a really soft brush. She can even use her finger to lightly put it on, and then add a black eyeliner on top of the eye shadow. NYC Cosmetics also has some great pigments as well [as] Makeup Forever.
E: As fall approaches, how can black-skinned women achieve the flushed-face look?
M: Squeeze your middle finger and your pointer finger together, and whatever color that makes, that’s your actual blush tone. Or if you look at the inside of your cheek—that skin color is your actual blush tone as well. So you would try to find a color that matches that.
If you don’t feel like doing all that surgery, take a look at Peaches. Peaches is a color by MAC that Sanaa Lathan wears, but it also would look good on Lupita Nyong’o. It’s bright. It’s fresh. It’s gorgeous. It looks good on pretty much all skin. Another great color is called Swiss Chocolate by MAC, which is a great blush color for darker-hued women. It also is a great contour, and women can use it as a bronzer. It looks amazing. Amber Rain Rose is beautiful, too.
E: There’s an assumption that very light-skinned women can easily adopt all the bright trends we’re talking about without as much anxiety as dark-skinned women. Is this true?
M: I always am looking at the skin’s undertones, whether it’s a Caucasian woman or an African-African woman or even an Asian woman. On a darker-skinned woman, I may just go for brighter pigments because I know it’s really going to pop on her skin…Whereas on a lighter-complected woman, I may opt for something softer.
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