Makeup Tips for Ethnic Skin

Makeup used to be a challenge for people with ethnic skin. Back in the day, makeup was geared mostly towards the fair-skinned women who set the standards for conventional beauty. But that's no longer the case. Today, you can find makeup styles for just about any skin color-in fact, studies show that companies are now investing more in marketing their products to ethnic women. These days, having ethnic skin is no longer a limitation; it's a chance to discover new tricks and find a style that really sets you apart from the rest.

Of course, ethnic skin is built differently from Caucasian skin and needs an entirely different approach. From skin care to makeup to masking imperfections, there are lots of decisions to be made. It's all a matter of knowing what works for you and what doesn't. But like ethnic fashion in general, it's more about being creative than working within certain limits. If you know where to look, you can find ethnic skin products that perfectly suit your lifestyle and tastes. This guide offers a few tips to help you get started.

Match your skin tone.

Any makeup, regardless of skin type, starts with a good foundation. Many ethnic women make the mistake of using foundation to change their skin tone, but that's not the way to do it. Your foundation should match your skin color exactly, or at least as closely as possible. So go for a brown foundation if you're doing African American makeup, and a pale or yellow-toned one if you have Asian skin.

Certain light conditions can make your foundation look flat, so use darker and lighter shades to highlight the natural contours of your face. Brighter foundation can be used to line the bridge of the nose, while the jawbone can be brushed with a slightly darker shade. Make sure not to go more than one shade lighter or darker-too much contrast and you might end up looking artificial. Make sure to blend the colors well and check them under proper light conditions.

Choose a feature to highlight.

Ethnic skin can easily be the focal point of your entire look, but it takes more than that to really stand out. Look in the mirror and identify your most noticeable feature. Maybe you have nice full lips, a striking eye color, or well-defined cheekbones. Whatever it is, you can draw attention to it with the right makeup techniques. By focusing your look on just one feature, you create an eye-catching style that makes you even more unique.

On Asians, for example, the eyes are often the most noticeable feature. Makeup for Asians tends to include lots of subtle eye shadow, which highlight the hooded eyes and make them look wider. Eyeliner, lash curlers, and mascara are also used to further define the eyes. If you have nicely shaped lips, your eye makeup with a nude or neutral-colored lipstick, or create the bee-stung effect with a shiny lip gloss.

Control the oil.

Excess oil is a common problem for ethnic skin, especially those with darker pigmentation. Many women get occasional blemishes such as acne, blackheads and whiteheads, especially in their teens where hormones are particularly active. That's why concealers are a vital part of ethnic makeup. Some foundations can mask imperfections pretty well, but if you have more visible acne scars, a good concealer usually does the trick.

If your skin gets really oily, you may need to invest in specialized makeup for oily skin. This usually includes a slightly lighter foundation, which makes up for the darkening effect caused by oil, and waterproof colors that don't fade as fast as regular makeup. You may also need to apply light powder over your makeup, which helps absorb the oil and prevent shine. On hot days, bring a pack of blotting sheets with you-they help get rid of excess oil and don't wash out your makeup like water does.

Moisturize regularly.

Ethnic skin may be prone to excess oil, but it also dries up easily when exposed to cold climates. In the winter, you may notice cracking on your hands or irritation around your lips and cheeks. Without proper care, this can cause your skin to lose its natural glow and appear dull and gray. Exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead skin on the surface, and moisturize daily to replenish lost nutrients.

You can also consider liquid mineral makeup if your skin gets particularly dry. Unlike regular makeup, mineral makeup is made from naturally occurring substances and doesn't have any chemical content. And because it's in liquid form, it doesn't irritate your skin as powder tends to do. Most liquid mineral makeup also has natural antibacterial properties, so you don't have to worry about contaminants getting into your pores-your makeup does the work for you!