When teenagers begin experimenting with makeup, they often have trouble finding a look that is appropriate for their age and complements their skin tone. African American teens may have an even more difficult time because many makeup products and instructions are geared toward individuals with lighter skin. While some makeup tips are universal for all teens, African American teenagers should focus on finding shades that work specifically with their darker skin tone and accent their unique, natural beauty.
Less Is More
As is the case with all teens, African American teens should avoid applying too much makeup. The goal of makeup application should be a fresh, healthy look. While many teens may suffer from acne, caking on heavy foundation only accentuates the problem. Keep makeup light and natural, especially for school.
Choose the Right Foundation
For African American teens who do not have many skin flaws, foundation is not necessary. A tinted moisturizer or pressed powder can provide enough coverage to even out the skin tone. Some African American teens may want to wear foundation to cover acne or other blemishes. Because teenagers typically have oily skin, opt for a lightweight, oil free formula. Mineral foundations are a good option because they do not contain preservatives, dyes or fragrances, making them ideal for sensitive or acne-prone skin. They also provide buildable coverage, so you can use a light application on days when your skin is clear and add additional layers when you have a breakout. Mineral foundations are also more forgiving when it comes to choosing the right shade, so African American teens may be better able to find a color that works for them. If you want to use a liquid foundation, be sure to find a color that matches your skin tone exactly. Determine whether your skin has yellow, red or blue undertones and find a shade that has similar tones.
Avoid Pastel Eye Shadow
Pale, pastel eye shadows often look chalky on warm complexions, so African American teens should avoid light shades for the eyes. Instead, opt for warm, shimmery shades in bolder colors such as gold, bronze or chocolate. For school, these neutral shades usually work best and create a natural look. For an evening out with friends, darker colors such as eggplant, burgundy and copper can help draw attention to the eyes. Metallic shades look especially nice on darker skin. Another option for adding interest to your eye look is to begin with a neutral eye shadow and add a pop of a bold, fun color such as blue, yellow or purple as your eyeliner.
Skip Lip Liner
African American teens should forgo lip liner because it can look too harsh and make the lips appear too large. A better option is a sheer gloss with only a tint of color. Warm colors such as peach, coral and caramel complement darker skins tones. Berry and wine shades work well for a bolder lip look. African American teens should also avoid heavy, matte lipsticks, which often look dated and too harsh on young girls.