Growing up, my mother wasn’t strict about too much... but makeup was the exception. We weren’t gifted glitter makeup cases or a rainbow-hued assortment of nail polishes, as my mother had certain colors that were deemed “too grown." Anything red or dark didn’t really fly in our household. With those "rules" in mind, my sister and I didn’t really care to venture into makeup until later in the game... and eventually, I found several bright eye makeup products for dark skin that would be worthy of my mom bending the rules a little bit.
When I first started wearing makeup, I only wore red lipstick (MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo and Sephora Collection Cream Stain Liquid Lipstick in Red Velvet, to be exact) and a small cat-eye everyday. That was my look for years... until I saw the magical I-D Magazine Winter Warm Up Issue No. 316 in 2011 with cover star Jourdan Dunn glowing in the richest pigments of pink and red. I was mesmerized by the hues, and how they saturated her deep brown skin. From that point, I was meticulous about finding the right bold and vibrant colors for my almond eye shape and buttery brown complexion.
Now, I'm super confident in my eye makeup game. From strong eyeshadows to abstract lines on my lids, I've found my niche. And I've also learned the tricks of the trade from celebrity makeup artists who have mastered bright eyeshadows on dark skin. "Pair your bright shimmery eye shadow with a deep rich matte shadow to create contrast and dimension," Sean Harris, go-to makeup artist for Kristen Noel Crawley and Normani says. "I love using deep amber and deep honey matte tones to contrast bright colors." And if you're still hesitant about completely coating your lids in a bright shadow, Harris suggests still incorporating a pop, especially during the summer months. "A bright fun eyeliner or mascara is a great way to incorporate color into your routine," he says. "Try replacing your normal black formula with a pop of rich cobalt blue."
But while the industry offers bold colors for varieties of skin tones, at times, I still find it difficult to nail down rich pigments that don't have loads of glitter in the mix. I've made way too many Sephora and drugstore run-ins with colored products that just didn't work... but at the same rate, I've also found a number of products that stand out and stay on all day long.
Check out my favorites below.
Pat McGrath products are very rich with color across the board. The purple and pink shades in this palette are the perfect bold shades for vibrant makeup looks. I appreciate how most pigments in this palette don't have glitter, and even the ones that do only have a light sprinkling that feels mature.
If you can't tell by now, I'm not the hugest fan of glitter products. I typically prefer solid tones, but this one is the exception. The vibrant Vivid Sapphire shade is so bold, and the sparkles make it feel extra special. I typically only apply this product on a quarter of my lids or do fun, geometric lines for a cool punch of color. This is truly a wildcard product.
This drugstore find is such a gem! Liquid shadows are hard to find, especially those without a metallic finish. Liquid Catsuit checks those boxes. The price can't be beat, and after a few strokes on your lid, it dries down fast and remains vibrant all day. The product launched a few years ago, so buying it online is the safest bet... and I always bulk up.
Cream & Gloss Eyeshadows
I really appreciate this cream eyeshadow, especially in this bright yellow hue. The creamy texture of the formula is soft and creates a nice natural gloss on the lid. And the vibrant yellow adds a nice wash of color to your lid without it feeling like too much. I wear this on days where I want to a little color, but still want to be bold. It also pairs well with a bold red lip, and doesn't compete with the crimson hue at all.
Yes, I know this is a Lip Butter — but I never let the confines of a title limit me and my beauty routine. I bought this and barely use it for my lips, as it works super well as a nice lid gloss. It applies very natural, and gives me a small hint of color on my lid. The moisture in this butter also hydrates my lids throughout the day, and glows so nicely. Definitely a fave!
I found this amazing mascara in the beauty closet before a fancy Valentine's Day party. I wore Left on Red with a burgundy eyeshadow, and the color composition turned out really beautiful and fun! Colored mascara can be both bold and subtle depending on how it's applied. For a louder look, I apply a few strokes to both sets of lashes. For a subtler look, I typically just apply one stroke on my bottom lashes.
Blue mascara can be tricky sometimes. If it's not the right consistency, it can wear clumpy, and cake up on the lash line... so I splurge on higher-end formulas. This YSL mascara has the best wear, and doesn't clump. Ever. The color also shows up very well! During the summer, I pair it with a bold red lip which feels very festive and fun!
These pencils are all really fun. They apply very matte, and last all day long. The colors are softer hues, but still show up very well on darker skin tones. I use this pencil to create nice geometric shapes along my lids. For a funkier look, I mix different hues along my eye. Overall, the pencil is super versatile and lasts a very long time.
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