Women of color often have a hard time finding cosmetics that suit their complexions. Foundations, concealers, lipsticks and blush can be a pain to match. When it comes to eyeshadows, however, darker skin tones have more versatility than fairer-toned counterparts. Whether your skin is olive or mahogany, you can wear any color, no matter what your undertone or complexion. Bold colors contrast brilliantly against skin, especially those with the darkest complexions. Vibrant hues, such as teals, bright reds and violets, look gorgeous, not garish.
“Darker skin tones can wear most eyeshadow colors. They look especially gorgeous in metallics or brights. Sweet pastels look lovely, too, as long as there’s no ashy cast. Ash on darker skin is bad. It tends to make the skin look dry and dirty,” says Paris-based makeup artist Sergio Corvacho. “And when choosing a nude, they should be cautious as well, so that the colors don’t wash them out.” Corvacho recommends nudes that have a bit of warmth or shimmer to complement darker complexions. Metallic shades of glimmering gold, copper and bronze are favorites of his. “They add warmth and are completely compatible with all dark skin tones.” Use a hint of yellow or orange shadow under the brow bone to highlight the area.
Warm tones look absolutely stunning on darker skin, but cool tones can too if the pigment quality is true. Look for shadows containing low amounts of titanium dioxide (a compound used to dilute the color in cosmetics) to guarantee high pigment quality and to avoid the dreaded gray cast. Select eyeshadows that are both rich in color and powder-based, if you can. If selecting a cream, be sure to wear an eye primer underneath to ensure long wear and true color depth. And most importantly, remember to have fun and experiment with colors and finishes, so you can find the ones that best suit you.
From nudes to metallics to bolder hues, here are 18 flattering options to try now.