Color Correcting for Darker Skin Tones

For darker skin tones, the key to perfect-looking skin is to find the correct color foundation and then adjust it as needed for different areas of the face, says East Indian makeup and brow expert Margaret Gopaul-Nelson. Sometimes that means using more than one color. In doing so, she says, you can fine-tune different areas of the face so that skin appears more smooth, even and harmonious. After that, makeup for dark skin is easy. All shades, including pastels like the palest pinks and brights like orange and red, look great on dark skin. So if you're drawn to a certain color, go for it — as long as your foundation color is right. Here, Gopaul-Nelson shares her expertise for African-American, Indian and darker Latino skin tones.


For African-American skin:

"For African-American women, the highest pigmentation exists at the upper lip and chin, and the biggest complaint I hear is that their skin looks ashy, green or gray. So, the most important first step is that the foundation color from chin to neck is bright enough to eliminate any green-blue. I use a transparent brown with peachy orange undertones and a minimum of titanium [a white ingredient used as sunscreen], which can settle at the top of the skin and make African-American women appear ashier." Gopaul-Nelson recommends working with a minimum of two different foundations — one for the chin and upper lip (from nose down) and one from nose up, which she blends together for her clients. She loves MAC concealers and the corresponding foundations in SPF15, NC45, NC50, NW45, NW50 and NW55. Available at


For Indian Skin:

"Indian women's biggest concern seems to be the dark circles under their eyes, and to correct that, they need extra moisture under the eye coupled with a light coverage of an opaque golden-yellow-orange concealer." She uses a touch of mauve for women with more red in their skin tone, but overall, the yellow is what keeps the area highlighted, and because Indian women have more yellow in their skin, it's the most natural-looking choice. She recommends Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Enhancer in SX11 for Indian skin with more yellow and SX13 for skin tones with a bit more red, because it's a warmer, rosier tone. Available at Kevyn Aucoin.


For Latino Skin:

Latino skin can appear too yellow or have a yellow-green cast to it. "You don't want to get rid of all the yellow in your skin but to slightly neutralize it by adding a bit of yellow with a touch of pink. This way, skin will look so much healthier and livelier," says Gopaul-Nelson.


Bronzer Is Universally Flattering:

Darker-skinned women look great in sheer bronzers. Apply a bronzer with a slight shimmer to your forehead and temples and to the highest part of your cheekbones for a luminous look. You can apply a bronzer without shimmer to the lower part of your cheekbones and to your jaw for depth and contour. Gopaul-Nelson recommends Giella custom-blended bronzers. Available at For a consultation with Margaret Gopaul-Nelson, call (917) 627-4297.

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