DO STICK WITH MATTE FORMULAS TO KEEP YOUR SKIN FROM LOOKING LIKE AN OIL SLICK.
While oily skin is a pretty universal skin type among all women, dark-skinned girls who have it tend to also have enlarged pores, which can lead to extra oil production. Look for foundations that help soak up your skin’s natural oils, like L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Matte Finish Foundation, which releases blotting spheres that sop up excess oil and sweat. Use a pore-reducing product nightly to minimize pores’ appearance, like Beauty Rx by Dr. Schultz Dermstick for Pores.
DON’T APPLY YOUR FOUNDATION WITH YOUR FINGERS, SINCE IT CAN TRANSFER BACTERIA ONTO YOUR FACE.
“Women like to touch their faces a lot and if you have oily skin, this is a no-no,” L’Oréal makeup artist Sir John says. Instead, apply foundation with a synthetic brush, like BareMinerals Perfecting Face Brush. Pour a few drops of foundation in the center and buff it onto your face for a flawless finish. For extra oil-zapping coverage, first layer on a primer, like the Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Poreless Primer.
DO USE BLOTTING PAPERS FOR TOUCH-UPS.
“You don’t want to keep putting pressed powder onto your skin during the day, since that kind of product buildup can lead to breakouts,” Sir John says. “[Blotting papers] are the best way to lift oils off without putting any product back onto the skin.” Try Boscia Black Charcoal Blotting Linens — the charcoal in them not only soaks up excess oil, but helps keep your pores bacteria-free.
DON’T USE SETTING POWDERS, WHICH CAN LEAVE LAYERS OF WHITE ON TOP OF YOUR SKIN.
When it comes to locking in your makeup, it’s best to stick with setting powders that match your skin tone. Try CoverFX Matte Setting Powder in “Medium” or Deep or Black Opal Deluxe Finishing Powder in “Dark” or “Deep.” The best way to see if your setting powder has left an invisible layer of white on your skin? Sir John suggests taking a selfie using the flash.
DO EXFOLIATE YOUR FACE WEEKLY IN ORDER TO KEEP ANY DEAD SKIN CELLS FROM SITTING ON YOUR FACE.
Having a buildup of dead skin cells can leave dark skin looking dull and ashy even after you apply foundation. “You have to take care of your skin first if you want your foundation to look good,” says makeup artist Sam Fine, who tends to celebs like Queen Latifah. “This includes washing, exfoliating, and moisturizing on a regular basis.” For a deep clean, use the Clarisonic Mia Skin Cleansing System three times a week, or an exfoliating cleanser, like Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub, every other day.
DON’T USE MATTE FOUNDATIONS.
Matte foundations can make dry skin look even drier (read: ashy). Instead, go for creamier formulas that keep your skin looking dewy and fresh. Try MAC Cosmetics Studio Fix Powder Plush Foundation or Jay Manuel Beauty Powder To Cream Foundation.
DO APPLY YOUR FOUNDATION WITH A CLEAN, DAMP SPONGE.
Be sure to put on moisturizer before your foundation as well. This will help lock hydration into your skin, Sir John advises.
DON’T SLEEP ON COTTON PILLOWCASES.
The cotton fabric can suck your skin dry. You may already know this from wrapping your hair nightly, but silk fabric locks in moisture in your skin as well as your locks, making silk the better choice to sleep on. So, if you’ve been noticing your skin is drier than usual, swap your cotton pillowcase for a silk version.
DO FIND A FORMULA THAT GIVES YOU YOUR DESIRED FINISH.
“I always tell black women to think about the formula first and the color second,” Fine says. “Whether it’s a stick, cream, or a powder, find one that suits your needs, since you might need a dewier or more matte finish based on how oily or dry your combination skin is.” Try Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick — the line contains a variety of dark skin-friendly shades and is easy to swipe exactly where you need it.
DON’T SKIP SPF.
Luckily, we’re no longer in the dark ages of makeup and most brands have an SPF built into them that won’t leave your face looking an ashy mess, Fine says. A surefire bet for dark skin? Try the range of dark shades in liquid form (if your skin is drier) from Estée Lauder Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeup SPF 25. And if you’re more into powders (and if your skin is on the oilier side), try BareMinerals Ready Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20.
GO LIGHTWEIGHT WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR FORMULA.
With combination skin, you don’t need to turn to your foundation for hydration since you likely already have a good balance of oil on your face. And unless you have hyperpigmentation or blemishes to conceal, opt for a more sheer, lightweight foundation to even out your complexion. Use a tinted moisturizer or a CC cream, like CoverGirl Queen Collection CC Cream, especially during the hot summer months, to give your skin a chance to breathe.
DON’T WEAR FOUNDATION ALL OVER YOUR FACE IF YOU DON’T HAVE TO.
If you’re a dark-skinned woman with combination skin, chances are you’re dealing with oilier sections on your face (like the T-zone area) and dry patches in places like your cheeks. Confusing! Instead of applying foundation everywhere, Fine advises concentrating the foundation where you need it most and blending it out from there. You can also rely on double-duty foundations that act as both moisturizer and spot concealer, like Lancôme Teint Visionnaire Foundation.
DO USE FOUNDATIONS THAT CONTAIN ACNE-FIGHTING INGREDIENTS.
“Sometimes your breakouts are temporary, sometimes they’re hormonal,” Sir John says. Whatever the cause of those zits may be, you can battle breakouts with a foundation that contains ingredients like salicylic acid. Try Clinique Acne Solutions BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40 in shades “medium,” “medium deep,” or “deep.”
DON’T PILE TONS OF FOUNDATION ON YOUR FACE.
“There’s really no need for you to wear layers of makeup on your face unless you’re a Real Housewife on TV or a celebrity on tour,” Sir John says. So, even if you can throw shade as well as NeNe Leakes or body roll like Beyoncé, that doesn’t mean you need to wear as much makeup as they do on a daily basis.
If you’re trying to hide breakouts or hyperpigmentation, however, apply a sheer application of your foundation and then let your concealer do the rest of the work. Simply dab a stick concealer (they’re usually thicker) onto your problem spot and blend the formula into your skin using a slightly damp makeup sponge to help move the cover-up around. Try Black Opal’s Total Coverage Spot & Scar Concealer.
DO AVOID USING FOUNDATIONS THAT CONTAIN BAD-FOR-YOUR-SKIN INGREDIENTS LIKE MINERAL OIL.
Those ingredients can clog pores and lead to even more breakouts. “If you have problematic skin, you’re going to have to pay more attention to ingredients than other women when shopping for foundation,” Sir John says. Opt for a sheer, buildable formula, like Nars Sheer Glow Foundationor IMAN Second To None Luminous Foundation.
DON’T USE DIRTY MAKEUP BRUSHES OR SPONGES.
Bacteria = breakouts. Wash your makeup brushes and sponges after every use to avoid transferring bacteria from your makeup to your face and then back into makeup, especially if you’re using a cream foundation compact. For a quick cleansing, spritz your tools with IT Cosmetics Brushes For Ulta Brush Bath Purifying Instant Brush Cleanser. Also, if you are using a cream compact, spritz it with an antibacterial spray that contains alcohol to kill any bacteria that may be on the surface.