Beauty for dark skin: How to wear winter’s ‘gothic’ makeup look

Where does this season’s trend for pallor leave those of us with black or Asian skins? Anita Bhagwandas has been a goth for many years and is on hand to advise

Woman with black lipstick

When you’re going gothic, you can combine dark lip and eye makeup. Photograph: Alamy

Every couple of seasons the trend for gothic makeup reappears – notably encouraged, this season, by an increasing love of Twilight and all manner of bitey creatures of the night. But it’s not a trend that bodes well for darker skins – what with pallor being the key facet and all that. Fortunately, I have more than a decade’s experience of being a goth of colour (that’s the official term) and have honed using darker, dense shades in a way that makes them look as dramatic as they do on paler skins. While going for a full-pelt gothic look only appeals to about 3% of the population, taking one facet, such as a smouldering forest-green eye or vinyl blackberry lip, is an easy way to move your makeup into an entirely new realm.

Gothic make upGothic makeup (clockwise from left): Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Teint Touch Eclat Foundation, Urban Decay’s Smoked palette, Benefit Watt’s Up highlighter, Illamasqua’s Growl lipstick, Morgana Cryptoria lipstick in Flirtatious Flapper and Mac Media lipstick. Photomontage:

The ultimate dark lip

The joy of this season’s goth-inspired look is that it breaks a big beauty rule – namely, allowing us to wear a dark eye and lip together. I’ve found that doing your lipstick first makes it easier to balance the intensity of the eye and lip together, and that using a lip liner in a similar shade is also non-negotiable (this may be a goth look, but bleeding lipstick is to be avoided). When it comes to choosing the ultimate dark, romantic lipstick, MAC’s lipstick in Media, £14, is a perfect glossy maroon, Illamasqua’s Growl lipstick, £16, a matte vampish burgundy and the nearly black Morgana Cryptoria lipstick in Flirtatious Flapper, £8, rank highly in my trials. A slick of NARS Lip Gloss in Nana, £17.50, over the top of any of these creates an unbelievably beautiful shine – but be warned – unless you’re vigilant (or a mannequin) it tends to end up everywhere except your lips.

The captivating smoky eye

The smoky eye is staple beauty look, but instead of the traditional black or grey, a palette of dark greens, midnight blues and burgundy shades are a welcome seasonal update. Urban Decay’s Smoked palette, £30-35 with its dark metallic shades (another key trend this season) has all the options you’d ever want. Using brighter accents also brings life to a darker eye shadow – try Illamasqua’s Pure Pigments in Ore or Beguile, £15.50, daubed gently into the inner corners of the eye or blended directly above the iris to catch the light every time you blink. When it comes to brows, shade them a little and brush upwards for a more natural look, or lighten them with a little foundation for an edgier finish.

The flawless base

Leave your base until last. Chances are that the smokey eye has caused a little fall out beneath the eye, so use your foundation brush to magic it away. A word of warning on the traditional advice offered for the gothic look: taking your foundation a shade lighter doesn’t work on darker skins. It truly doesn’t. Instead, the way to bring light to your face, to counteract all the dark make-up, is to switch the finish of your foundation to a luminous one. Sleek’s Be Beautiful Blemish Balm, £8.99, holds up well, even on oily skins, as does Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Teint Touch Eclat Foundation, £28. Finally, finish your look with a dusting of light setting powder, such as my old faithful MAC Blot Powder, £20, avoiding blusher (it’s too made up) but adding a highlighter such as Watt’s Up, £24.50, across the cheek bones.

However far down the valley of darkness you choose to traverse, the key with any strong editorial look is precision and blending. Laura Mercier Deluxe Travel Brush Collection, £67, was a pricey purchase I made three years ago. The brushes are still going strong and fit into a clutch, or coffin bag, with relative ease and the difference they have made to the quality of my makeup application is truly remarkable.

• In her final column of the year, Anita will be giving out awards for the best beauty products for darker skins. Submit your favourites to her on Twitter:


source The Guardian


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