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Tolu’s top tips for black skin beauty

Last update - Sunday, December 1, 2013, 15:17 By Tolu Omoyele

While I’ve worked with numerous talented makeup artists in my experience as an international fashion model, some of these artists often lack cross-cultural understanding when it comes to black or dark skin.

Once, a make-up artist used a foundation that was not only incompatible with my dark skin tone, it also left my face as white as a geisha! Not to mention it left me with spots and blemishes after the show.
Since that unfortunate episode I’ve learned to carry my own make-up toolkit with me at all times. Finding the right foundation was daunting at first – it took me almost a decade to find the perfect match for my skin tone. I now use Cocoa by Maybelline: it’s not too watery, not too thick, comes in a small pit and it’s the perfect cover for my skin!
It’s never been a better time for make-up, with such invocations as high-definition foundation and powder: once applied, it creates a flawless, picture-perfect image of you, as if you’ve been retouched for the pages of a fashion magazine.
Moreover, more and more make-up artists out there now how to deal with darker skin, and I’ve asked some of them to share their tips here, starting with Abdul Iriafen Mirah of Meerah’s Closet (

My top beauty tip is cleansing: Having great skin doesn’t come easily. You have to work hard for it, and cleansing is a very important step in my skin care routine. I try to do this step at least every weekend. People think by just using face wipe to clean their makeup, all the product is gone, but in fact there will still be some product left blocking your pores.
My secret to flawless skin is water: Water is so important for my skin. I still find it quite hard when some people tell me they don’t like it! Not only is water important for your body, but it also helps give your skin a radiant and healthy glow. I use water on my face every day, before I do my make-up. I love MAC’s Fix+ which hydrates my skin before I apply my foundation.
My favourite everyday foundation is Revlon Colour Stay: I use two shades (Cappuccino and Caramel) to find my own true shade, and they can be found at most Boots or other chemists. Colour Stay is one of the best drugstore foundations I’ve tried; not only is it inexpensive but it’s also good on my skin, lightweight and can definitely be built upon for a full-coverage foundation. It’s also an oil-free foundation, which is perfect for any skin combination. Just remember to prime your skin if you want your foundation to last all day.
My favourite high-end foundation is Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H: Investing in a high-end or expensive foundation is a big must for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love anything that saves me money, but sometimes the extra you pay for a good product is worth it. My favourite high-end foundation has to be Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H (shade number 13 for me). I love this foundation – it glides like butter and is just perfect on my skin. It retails for around €35, which is expensive for a standard 30ml size, but I’d happily spend it any day. It’s also oil-free and medium coverage, so it can be built upon for a full-coverage look, and smells amazing. You know some foundations just have that weird smell? This one doesn’t.

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