This foundation does “glow” in a way that no other foundations have before. Using pearlised pigments, it creates a satiny sheen to the skin that looks healthy, without being shiny or oily. It is genuinely one of the best foundations I have tried, and comes in 24 shades. Crucially, they have concealers and powders to match – and nobody ever thinks of that. You won’t be disappointed.
Highlighters come in many weird and wonderful shades – yet finding a nice golden-bronze one that’s finely milled enough to not look glittery on darker skins is still a struggle. Luckily, Illamasqua have nailed it with this shade, because not only is it so smooth that it looks like silk on the skin, but it is the perfect natural colour for most darker skins.
Eyeliners might all seem the same, but on darker skins, however, ones that are a dark browny black don’t show up enough (unless subtle is what you’re looking for) and those insipid “nearly” blacks are an exercise in pointless. This one is true pitch black, as it’s moniker suggests, and if wielded carefully will do the besteyeliner flick you’ve ever seen.
If you’ve not heard of this brand, prepare to fall in love. This palette has 35 full-sized shadows in this season’s gothic-inspired purples and burgundy shades that are incredible quality (better, arguably, than many higher-end brands) and genuinely wearable. In this entire palette, there are only about three shades I wouldn’t use – and even that is my preference. If you have spent your lifetime, like me, failing to find a palette that caters to darker skins, then rejoice – you have just found it.
Granted – this is pricey, really pricey. But I am not sure I have ever seen a high SPF that literally disappears into dark skins like this one does. There are some pretty decent ones about now (such as La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Fluid SPF 50+, £16.50) but this one was specifically designed to suit all skin tones and it is totally transparent. It has added skincare benefits too – the drops contain vitamin E to fight the free-radical damage of sun exposure and pollution and beta-glucan to support cell regeneration. It is a lot to spend on one product (even if it is totally non-greasy – a rare feat for an SPF) – but there is a lot to love here, unlike so many other skincare products of this price.
Need a concealer that conceals dark circles without caking into fine lines, that blends like a serum, and that blurs when it hits the skin looking entirely natural? This is the one, and it comes in 10 beautiful shades that cater to darker skin tones. It’s insanely good.
On darker skins, when the older, dead skin cells collect on the surface of the skin, it can show up as greyness or ashy skin. The solution? Use this citrus-infused mask once or twice a week as an exfoliator – it’s super effective at zapping those cells and leaves your skin moisturised too. An all-round winner!
Despite the scary name, hyaluronic acid is a molecule we produce naturally in our bodies, which holds water in the skin (one gram of the stuff can hold up to six litres of water), keeping it looking plump and hydrated. It also supports our skin-cell function, priming it for the natural repair process. But a study in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology in 2014 showed that women of African descent have a higher rate of transepidermal water loss, which can show up as dry or oily skin that overproduces serum to lubricate itself. Hyaluronic acid is the perfect antidote to this – and this one not only looks cool, but it’s a snip! Use this serum after you’ve washed your face, twice a day, and follow with your regular serum and moisturiser.
Although it’s trendy to use face oils and balms (they are great to take makeup off) I prefer the feeling of a foam cleanser for a deeper clean. This is one of the few I’ve used that doesn’t strip the skin of moisture (leading to sebum overproduction) and leaves it feeling both clean and soft. As a bonus, it’s vegan, produced in Ghana and Fairtrade.
A confession: until recently, I had always thought bronzer was just for white people after a bit of a tan. But after a few tries with this one, I can see that it’s a brilliant “warmer” on all skin tones. Using it around the hairline and under the cheekbones, it acts as a gentle contour. And if you’re big on the current extreme contour/highlighter/blush trend, using a daub of bronzer to soften the stripeyness helps the look appear more blended. Guerlain genuinely do the best bronzers on the market – and this one comes in eight shades that have enough warmth in the undertone without looking too “red”, as so many darker ones do.