For Colored Girls: Best Beauty Buys for Brown Girls

FACE | In my years of experimenting with cosmetics and color, I have found it quite difficult to find my shade. This is an issue many women of color have when choosing beauty products for the face. It seems that many brands only had 2 to 3 shades to choose from, which is problematic for the varying complexions we possess. However, through much trial and error, I have found quite a few brands that actually cater to our color concerns.

1. MAC COSMETICS- Not to sound like a “MAC snob” but MAC really offers an array of shades when it comes to foundation. They offer foundation in different formulas (such as powder, stick, liquid, etc) , different finishes (matte, satin, natural), and are color-coded by neutral-cool (NC) and neutral-warm (NW) undertones. Dre’s Picks: MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC45 and MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC42. To find the perfect products for you, visit or your local MAC counter.
2. BLACK OPAL – The Black Opal beauty line is geared specifically towards skin of color. Like MAC, Black Opal offers foundations in powder, stick, and liquid formulas, varying from light to full coverage. Dre’s Pick: Black Opal True Color Stick Foundation in Truly Topaz (and Nutmeg in the summer.) To find the right Black Opal Beauty product for you, visit, select Walmart stores, and select drugstores.
3. AVON- Avon has really stepped their game up in the last year with their foundations! With an endorsement from actress Zoe Saldana and makeup artist Paul Innis, Avon is now offering more options for women of color. They’ve added quite a few new shades and formulas to accommodate a wider range of people. Not to mention, their products are very affordable! Dre’s Picks: Avon Anew Foundation in Nutmeg and Avon Perfect Wear Foundation in Caramel. For Avon products, contact your local Independent Sales Representative or visit
4. IMAN COSMETICS- Iman also started her cosmetic line with women of color in mind. She too offers various formulas and finishes specifically for brown-skin girls. Dre’s Pick: Iman Second to None Foundation Stick. To find Iman cosmetics, visit your local Walmart or

CHEEKS | I’ve been experimenting with blush for a little over a year, but have only recently fallen in love with it. Before I found colors and brands that worked for my specific skin tone and skin type, I would often shy away from wearing it altogether. Now I believe my cheek color adds the finishing touch to my look.

1. NARS - Blushes by NARS are so pigmented and have such great color payoff, once you try them, you won’t want to use any other product! NARS offers several shades, but be warned that all are not suitable for all shades. For instance, the cult-favorite Orgasm does not even show up on deeper tones. However, many of the other shades will give you a nice natural (or dramatic if you prefer) flush. Dre’s Picks: Blush in Taj Mahal and Exhibit A and Highlighting Blush in Albatross. For NARS products, visit your local Sephora or purchase online at
2. MAC - MAC has some of the most buildable blushes. They offer quite a few different shades and textures. MAC even offers a Cremeblend option that gives a nice, dewy finish. Dre’s Pick: MAC Blush in Format (especially flattering for darker skin tones).

EYES |Did you read beauty magazines and books as a teen? If so, you were probably among the ranks of us that were advised that girls of deeper complexions could only pull off wearing one or two shades of eyeshadow. Did you believe them? Well forget anything any beauty book has ever told you and expand your horizons! Try any shade you want! And why not start with a bold hue of eyeshadow?

1. URBAN DECAY - Urban Decay gets my vote for some of the most pigmented shadows on the market. A small bit of pigment goes a long way so we brown girls don’t have to go heavy on the shadow for it actually show up. It doesn’t crease as much as other shadows I’ve used, either. Dre’s Pick: Urban Decay Deluxe Shadow Box. Urban Decay products can be found at Ulta or online at
2. NYX COSMETICS - NYX offers such a huge selection of eyeshadows! Not to mention they have chrome, pearl, and glitter pigments that pack the greatest punch of color in such a small tube. The best part is that NYX eyeshadows are so affordable. Whether you want to use single eyeshadows and build your collection or collect palettes to have multiple colors at your disposal in one purchase, NYX is the line to check out. Dre’s Picks: NYX Nude on Nude Palette, NYX Pearl Mania Loose Eyeshadows, and NYX Jumbo Eye Pencils.

LIPS | For the longest I was a loyal lip gloss poppin’ kinda girl. I never wore any lipstick because I held the false belief that some colors just didn’t look great on brown-skin ladies. But thanks to advice from my peers and youtube beauty gurus of color, I learned that was far from the truth!

1. MAKEUPFOREVER (MUFE) -This company makes my favorite lipsticks, the Rouge Artist Intense Lipsticks. The colors are so vibrant and long lasting, any woman of color would want to keep a couple of these in her arsenal. I was impressed by the color selection of these lipsticks and how beautifully they stood out next to my brown skin. Dre’s Picks: Rouge Artist Intense in #15, #9, and #43. MUFE products can be found at Sephora or at
2. Cover Girl Queen - The Queen Collection has really impressed me. They offer so many more pigmented shades for us brown girls, grouping them by BROWNS/SPICES, CORALS/REDS, MAUVES/BERRIES, NEUTRALS/NUDES, PINKS/ROSES, AND PLUMS/WINES. These lippies are so moisturizing and flattering to my skin tone that I’m tempted to buy one every time I go to Wal-Mart. Dre’s Picks: Berry Bling, Paint the Town, and Spicy Seduction. Cover Girl products can be found at your local Walmart, Target, Kmart, and most drugstores.
3. MAC - There’s not a lady around whose complexion cannot be flattered by a vanilla-scented lippie like MAC’s. They come in so many colors and finishes, a woman of color would have no problem finding a shade to suit her fancy. Having 7 different finishes (Amplified Crème, Cremesheen, Satin, Frost, Glaze, Lustre, and Matte), MAC’s lipsticks are very versatile and universally flattering. Each is very long-lasting and has one of the greatest color payoffs among other brands of lipsticks. Dre’s Picks: MAC Amplified Crème lipstick in Girl About Town, MAC Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, and MAC Cremesheen in Shy Girl.

Please know that these products are not the end-all, be-all to beauty for women of color. These are, however, tried and true products that I believe will steer you in the right direction of finding the right products that work for you! DO YOU LADIES HAVE ANY OTHER MAKEUP SUGGESTIONS? PERHAPS A PARTICULAR LIP COLOR OR A GREAT HIGHLIGHTER FOR A PARTICULAR SKIN COMPLEXION?! IF SO, SHARE THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
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