SHARE THIS

beauty lessons:

foundation
for deeper
complexions

The Violet Files presents our foolproof guide to finding foundation for darker skin tones.

Written By JAYME CYK

The key to a glowing, even complexion? Finding the perfect foundation. And when it comes to darker skin tones, it might mean finding two or three of them. As makeup artist Carola Gonzalez (who keeps Kerry Washington looking luminous) advises, women with deeper complexions often fare best when using two or more shades of foundation for different parts of the face, since dark complexions tend to be less uniform.

Also essential to acheiving foundation synergy is understanding the color that lies just beneath your skin—AKA your undertone. Below, Gonzalez, along with fellow makeup artists Autumn Moultrie, who keeps Viola Davis in fine finish, Vera Steinberg, the secret to Zoe Saldana’s radiant red carpet looks, and Christopher Miles, VIOLET GREY makeup artist, explains how to find your undertone—and in turn, a flawless foundation arsenal.

UNDERTONE, DEFINED [CUT TITLE]

The color that lies beneath the skin. (Essentially it’s the color of your veins.) You can rest assured that with your undertone in mind, foundation will emulate skin versus acting as a secondary layer. Because when not properly matched, your makeup may emerge too orange or too copper, too pink or too rosy. And while your complexion can change due to environmental elements, (a rigorous boot camp session; an afternoon at the beach) the undertone never does.

FIND YOUR TRUE HUE [CUT TITLE]

For darker complexions, you may need to use two to three colors to ensure even tone. “When applying foundation to darker skin tones make sure it has full coverage,” says Gonzalez. “Darker skin usually has various tones on different parts of their complexion and you have to be able to conceal the darker areas with a full coverage foundation.” Gonzalez also recommends testing the shade on your neck and chest since your face is usually a different shade.

WHAT’S YOUR UNDERTONE? [CUT TITLE]

COOL UNDERTONE
If the base tone of your skin is pink, red or blue and the veins on the inside of your wrist appear blue...You have cool undertones. See below our picks for cool undertones. 

NEUTRAL UNDERTONE
If you have a mix of cool and warm undertones, and it’s difficult to tell whether the veins on your inner wrist are blue or green...You have neutral undertones. See below our picks for neutral undertones. 

WARM UNDERTONE
If the base tone of your skin is yellow or gold and the veins on the inside of your wrist look green...You have warm undertones.  See below our picks for warmer undertones.

MIX & MATCH [CUT TITLE]

“With darker skin tones, it’s very important to not use one color for the entire face,” Moultrie emphasizes. “The color underneath the eyes, for example, can be different than the color on the chin.” Miles suggests using multiple shades and matching the inner part of the face with one foundation, then match the outer portion with another, blending  the two together where they meet using your hands or a Beautyblender.  For those with a relatively even complexions, he recommends using a corrective brightening product on the outer edge of the face in lieu of a second foundation. “The Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer is perfect because it provides extra coverage for spot treating,” notes Miles. 

SKIN FOR ALL SEASONS [CUT TITLE] 

Women with darker skin tones should use a different shade of face makeup when the warmer months come around, because if you don’t switch out your foundation during the summer your makeup will appear ashy. Also, Steimberg suggests prepping with skin care whether its winter or summer so that your foundation appears smoother, lighter and softer. “You can mix the foundation with a moisturizer and use less of a color so it makes it look more natural,” she adds.

foundationS
for darker
skintones

1

/

5

If you have warm undertones, this hue helps enhance your own natural skin tone and delivers a dewy finish.

2

/

5

Whether you want to use it as a foundation or concealer (or both), Tom Ford’s Foundation Stick is a great option if the base of your skin is yellow or gold.

3

/

5

Delivering an airbrushed finish, this creamy foundation is best suited for neutral undertones whether you prefer sheer or heavy coverage.

4

/

5

This mineral powder sets to a matte finish and is ideal for neutral undertones.

5

/

5

A perfect option for cool undertones if you have little red in your complexion and you love a gel-based texture. 

meet 
ANGELA BASSETT

The Violet Files chats with Angela Bassett about red carpet rituals and the secret to her pristine complexion.