6 Black Women Show Us The Alternative Makeup Products They Use To Contour

9 October 2018

After Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty last year, the standard for 40 shades of foundation was set and the bar hasn’t gone down much lower since. This breakthrough opened doors for many darker skinned women, who either always had to mix foundations, who’s undertones never matched their foundation options and especially the ones who didn’t even have a shade that was dark enough. Great and all, but is the makeup industry going to stop at foundations?
Last summer my friend and I were getting ready for a party. We were both doing our make up in my room and I noticed that when she was doing her contour she was using what seemed like a purple eyeshadow. So I asked her if it was and she confirmed that she was indeed using purple eyeshadow to do her contour. My friend is a dark skin black woman. She has the skin tone of models like Alek Wek and actress Lupita N’yongo. I followed up by asking her why she didn’t just buy a regular contour or bronzer and she responded with she couldn’t find any dark enough for her skin.


Many other makeup companies like Dior, Cover FX, and Cover Girl followed suit in the 40 shade standard. The foundation trend is in full force but when will makeup brands start expanding shades for contour?


We came to find out that many dark-skinned women have to find other makeup alternatives just to achieve the contoured look and spoke to six women about their experience and the products they use to contour.

Afua, 21

Foundation Shade: L.A. Pro Girl in shade Dark Chocolate





“I use the [colour Provocative in the] Dark and Sexy Eyeshawdow Palette by Ruby Kisses ($9). It was the darkest shade where you could see the definition in my cheekbones. Around my cheeks I get oily so using an eyeshadow on my liquid foundation is great for me, it gives me cheekbones.”



Jessica, 21

Foundation Shade: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in shade 430





“I use MAC’s Raizin Blush($28) [to contour]. A lot of people use it, It’s a really nice shade. Before brands started to make actual contour makeup for dark skin everyone was using this blush.”


Aliyaah, 22

Foundation Shade: Maybelline Fit Me! Matte & Poreless Foundation in shade 335




“I remember times when I used black eyeshadow for contouring but I would say it’s easier now at least for me because I’m not so dark skinned. Usually, dark-skinned women have a difficult time finding their shade. [Now] I use the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Palette in Deep ($52)."



Dora, 31

Foundation Shade: Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shades 14 and 13.5




“I use The Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Bronzer [in shade Mahogany] ($36) as a highlight because it’s dark enough and it’s still warm. I mostly non-tour, so I focus on brightening my under eyes, chin forehead and under my cheekbone to create the contoured look.”




Imani, 22

Foundation Shade: Too Faced Born This Way Foundation in shade Cocoa





“[When I contour] I would use dark brown eyeshadow or a dark brown MAC lipstick called Antique Velvet($23) to sculpt my cheekbones. These products showed up better than actual contouring products on my skin tone.”


Christina, 22

Foundation Shade: Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup in shade Sandalwood




“I find using a purple eyeshadow or a really deep blush helps on dark skin tones and doesn’t give you that ashy ghost look. [ I contour with ] MAC, the shadow colour is called I’m Into It, ($19).”


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