Makeup Training: Contouring and Color Correction for Darker Skin Tones - QC Makeup Academy

Australian MUA, Charlotte Ravet, is the proud owner of her very own hair and makeup business, A Date With Charlotte. From bridal, to editorial, to film and television, and everything in-between – Charlotte’s extensive makeup training allows her to provide a wide variety of services that cater to ALL types of clientele!

Her extensive resume includes working for Prada, L’Oreal, and even the cast of the hit show, Glee! A developer of educational programs, Charlotte has even been awarded Best Makeup Educator of the Year by the Australian Industry Makeup Awards.

Today, she reveals her top tips and tricks for contouring and color correcting darker skin tones!

The most important skill all makeup artists should master is the ability to create the perfect complexion for ALL skin tones. When it comes to color matching and/or correcting, proper makeup is crucial. This is the single greatest way to understand color theory. Knowing color theory will help you to create colors and custom foundations for all of your clients.

Let’s start with a quick recap on color theory and color correction…

Makeup Training: The Basics of Color Theory

The primary colors are blue, yellow, and red. When you mix these colors together in different combinations, you can create all of the other colors on the color wheel!

Here’s an excellent exercise to train your eye to identify colors and undertones: swatch a bit of foundation on a piece of paper and then use proper paint to recreate that exact same color. For example: start by mixing red and yellow together. Afterwards, add a bit of blue and white for the lightness. Adjust your color until you obtain the perfect shade.

When I did my makeup training, we created makeup for two whole months using nothing but primary colors and white mixed together. This has definitely opened my eyes to the potential of all colors and their diversity!

Makeup Training: Cool vs. Warm Undertones

The undertone of your client’s skin will play a major role in how you should apply makeup on them – and which products to employ!

For those new to their makeup training, here are the basics:

  • Cool undertones can be identified as pink undertones;
  • Skin with warm undertones, on the other hand, will tend to look more yellow;
  • Skin with an olive undertone might look a bit more green;
  • A neutral skin tone is when the skin doesn’t have any predominant color (neither pink nor yellow).

When it comes to deeper skin tones, the same rules apply. For instance, Middle Eastern and Indian skin tones will often have an olive undertone.

Warm and neutral skin tones can be easily observed in deeper skin tones: for example, Beyoncé has a warm skin tone. As such, she will perfectly suit all golden and bronze tones. On the other hand, Halle Berry has a skin tone that’s more neutral. Their skin intensity is pretty similar.

African skin tones can present red and blue undertones, which are identified as ‘cool’ undertones.

The Colors I Recommend for Deeper Skin Tones

Middle Eastern and/or Indian Skin Tones

Here’s one of my best-kept secrets: for these types of skin tones, I tend to mix a pure orange to my existing foundation.

I often find that foundations containing too much pink wind up turning gray on these skin tones. Alternately, too much yellow increases the olive tone and can make the client look sallow. By mixing a bright pure orange to the foundation, I manage to adjust the shade and brighten complexion. I also recommend using tones of warm bronze or gold to create highlights, as well as an ashy shade for the contour.

Warm or Neutral Skin Tones

These skin tones are rather easy to work with, but I often observe that the chest of my model can be slightly lighter than the face. Remember to always check the chest of your client in order to perfectly color match!

Depending on the undertone, I highlight using gold for warm undertones, or with a deep champagne/peachy shade for neutral skin tones. Contour can be done with a middle brown shade that has a blue undertone. A peach will help to remove pigmentation and dark circles.

Red/Blue Skin Undertones

As I mentioned earlier, red and blue are considered to be cool undertones. As part of your makeup training, this is really important when it comes to color combinations, correction, and contour! You will notice that deep blue, purple, and bright pink hues look wonderful on these skin tones.

There’s a common misconception that deeper skin tones are ‘warm’. As such, many will mistakenly use gold highlights. Yes, a gold highlight is going to catch and reflect the light – but it’s not going to best enhance the features of skin tones with blue and/or red undertones.

I would recommend a cool bronze. You can also play around with the complementary pigments mentioned above for a creative effect. I sometimes use pure yellow to create stronger highlights. For the contouring, I recommend a deep, blue-based brown, as this will create a natural shadow on the skin.

These skin tones often have pigmentation around the eyes and lips. I use a pure orange to conceal these unwanted undertones. You will also notice that the middle of the cheeks and the forehead are often slightly lighter. Use these areas as natural highlights – and do NOT use thick coverage if your model has good skin!

Last But Not Least: Powders

In theory, a loose translucent powder should be suitable to set makeup on every skin tone. But in reality, you would have to select one with a very thin texture, and apply with an incredibly light hand, in order to avoid creating ashy tones on deep skin tones.

Applying powder is always the moment we fear that our makeup will change color. If you aren’t using the correct product, it can ruin all your hard work. For a light application, I sometimes use a bright, loose pink powder. This helps to soften a blue undertone – although most of the time, I like to enhance it.

When I started my makeup training 15 years ago, we barely learned about global skin tones. I had to do a lot of research and teach myself how all skin tones actually work. I was working for one of the most important African TV channels in Paris, and I discovered a lot during those few months. The TV host shared with me their favorite makeup tips, and it was definitely a great experience!

It’s important to regularly update your makeup training. As professional artists, it’s our duty to be able to work in all skin tones, all ages, and all genders. Mastering the art of making the most of everyone’s natural beauty is our everyday challenge!

Did you know that QC Makeup Academy offers a Global Beauty Workshop? Enhance your makeup training and enroll today!

Author Charlotte Ravet

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