Empowering Every Woman to be Beautiful

Creating Dimension on Brown Skin

One of the makeup tricks I try to teach clients is how to create "dimension". A face with one base color all over sometimes looks "flat". Using two colors of foundation or a foundation + a bronzer does for the face what highlights do for the hair.

Creating dimension on white skin is relatively easy. Apply a foundation that matches the skin perfectly, then dust a light bronzer around the hair line and just underneath the cheek bones. If you want to get really fancy, pop some blush on the apples of the cheek and you're set to go.

But brown skin is trickier. There can be several colors (masking) on one face. I have very light cheeks compared to my darker forehead and chin. My African-American and Hispanic customers (usually) apply one color over everything. But I'm going to show you a trick that works better.

Let me just stop here to interject: I am not talking about that bizarre blocking that is sometimes done on women of color - light foundation down the center of the nose and so forth to change African features. I find that offensive.

Look at the picture above. This model has beautiful, prominent features. I didn't reshape her nose or lips with makeup. But look at her skin. I've chosen to work with the colors in her skin instead of flattening them out.

I applied a lighter colored foundation on her cheeks - I used a very thin liquid. Then, I grabbed my sponge and applied a darker foundation color around the edges of her face, the same as I would if I was applying bronzer on a white model.

Next, I chose a very warm red toned loose powder and dusted over top to take away shine and blend the colors. The effect looks almost like we did it with special lighting, but she was shot in simple sunlight.

And since we see her chest, this technique is especially nice because I matched her face to her chest. There's no line along her jaw that screams, "MAKEUP!!!"

The key to doing this well is to use a very light touch. I've seen videos of this technique on YouTube where the highlighted cheek areas were almost white with a pasty, heavy foundation.

This isn't theater makeup. You should look like you have glowy, beautiful skin, not a mask.