Beauty: 35 Best Basic Beauty Buys For Black Women

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In life, we are only as good as the tools we use, especially when it pertains to our make-up routine. We live in a world that places great emphasis on the way we look. Studies have shown that it only takes 3 seconds for a person to judge our appearance. On a subconscious level, the first impression we make, has a profound impact on a person’s attitude towards us. Within moments we can literally create or break trust, win or lose a business transaction, job, or date. I’m sure you get the picture, consequently our makeup routine cannot be underestimated.

In order for us to shine in the city, we must become accustomed to the fact we need to look our best at every possible opportunity. It goes without saying, the way we look can affect our self confidence to the point where we feel optimistic, or deflated about looming challenges. Let’s take advantage of the fact, there is a huge thriving cosmetic industry packed with a multitude of exciting products catering for the woman of color to enhance her natural beauty in the right way. With this in mind, it makes sense for us to invest in the best makeup products, to help us achieve optimum results. Some sections below have a budget option, but others don’t because #YouAreWorthIt #DontSettleForLess.


In the world of beauty, a comprehensive set of good quality makeup brushes is a non-negotiable. Hand crafted brushes provide the difference between average and outstanding application while giving your makeup a flawless, professional finish. Moreover, you will save money in the long run, because you’ll use less product, and your makeup will last longer. The finest brushes last for a lifetime. Similarly to your natural hair, brush hygiene is crucial. Each one should be cleaned with mild shampoo and water every 4-6 weeks, then reshaped, and placed on a clean towel to dry.

Recommended brushes

Powder, blusher, eye shadow, liner, slanted brow, flat concealer, foundation, and cheek highlighter.

Top of the range

Hakuhodo Brushes from $18 – $230 per brush film and catwalk make-up artists rave about this leading Japanese brand, which creates state of the art makeup brushes, made from goat’s hair. You may need to save for a few months or years given the price, but if you have A-list aspirations and want the best available, these are the only brushes to buy.

Shu Uemura Brushes from $17 – $70 per brush has one of the best selections of makeup brushes around. Each brush is hand made in Japan. Consider them an investment as they have the power to make Maybelline pass for Chanel, and are certain to change the way you look at makeup forever.


Bobbi BrownBrushes from $26 – $65 per brush these brushes are well crafted and designed with high gloss handles. They are excellent quality. The eye shadow, eyeliner and face blender are sought-after by the pros.

MAC Brushes from $16 – $50 per brush are renowned for being high quality, reasonably priced while getting the job done. MAC’s Foundation brush: MAC 130 short duo Fiber Brush $42 is in high demand for its ability to produce an even coverage. MAC offers a wide variety of brushes and is a hit with the makeup gurus on YouTube.


Sigma brushes from $10 – $45 per brush are worth purchasing if you are keen on building your brush collection quickly, without breaking the bank. They are a good starter set and a great way to familiarize yourself with brushes, although they may need to be replaced for something pricier later on.


Not to prime is a crime! A primer may seem like an annoying extra step in your makeup routine, but it will safeguard you against foundation streaks and noticeable pores. It helps to keep oil at bay, filling in fine lines, and providing a smooth canvas for your foundation to stick to, helping your skin stay flawless for longer. Apply primer after moisturizing your skin.

Top of the range

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer $32 is widely praised for being the best primer on the market. It fills in laughter lines, wrinkles and prevents makeup sliding off your face in humid weather.

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer SPF 15 with Dermaxyl Complex $42 tons of women swear by this primer. Your foundation is sure to go on smoothly, evenly and last much longer. Even in tropical weather, your makeup will not melt.

MAC Prep + Prime Face protect SPF 50 $30 the high SPF protection is a bonus for women. The consistency of this primer is a treat if you have oily skin.


Bareminerals Prime Time $23 has a yellow base and light reflecting pigments, therefore it neutralizes red tones in the skin, as well as brightening the complexion, to help improve uneven skin tones.


Plucking your eyebrows to achieve that perfect, face-framing arch can be a tedious and painful process. But since fuller brows are in style, you can and should spend much less time with the tweezers IF you invest in a great pair.

Top of the range

Tweezerman Wide Grip Slant Tweezer $25 this cutting edge tweezer is unrivalled and far exceeds it’s hype. The solid design and slanted head makes this pair a master at plucking even the tiniest of hairs. There is no point mentioning other brands because these babies are worth every cent!


Cheating has never been so easy. You can now achieve an effortless beautiful smooth complexion from a bottle as if it’s an extension of you, as the latest foundation formulas are lightweight yet offer full coverage.

Top of the range

MAC Pro-Longwear Foundation with SPF10 $35 gives up to 15 hours of wear in any environmental condition and it works. Lightweight and creamy, this foundation applies smoothly to provide sheer to medium coverage. This formula is fantastic for a night out or in exotic locations because all the sweating in the world, won’t make it budge.

MAC Matchmaster Foundation with SPF15 $33 uses shade intelligence technology to bring customized shades in a flawless demi-matt finish with medium, buildable coverage. This foundation is like second skin; the product is barely detectable, and when paired with concealer, makes skin look completely unblemished.

MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder $23 micro fine, sheer and silky, this powder promotes the skin’s natural vitality and freshness while giving even coverage. It is a fantastic option for women with oily skin.

Mid range

Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup $25 is a mineral rich, long wearing, medium coverage foundation which has been hailed as a beauty essential, by makeup artists. FYI it glides on like silk.


Black Opal Foundation $8.95 offer a range of foundations to suit every skin type and they give a beautiful finish given the minimal price point.


As if choosing a proper foundation for your skin type isn’t already tough enough, selecting the right concealer to suit your specific needs is another mission on its own.

Top of the range

MAC Pro-Longwear Concealer $18 is a lightweight concealer that provides medium to full coverage with a comfortable, matt finish. The color formula lasts up to 15 hours. This product is brilliant at hiding pigmentation and stays fixed in any area it is applied.

YSLTouchéÉclat $38 is one of those “hall of fame” beauty products which is now available in 10 shades (hurray) with a hue for darker complexions. One swipe under the eye will give the illusion of 8 hours sleep. It has a wonderful shimmery radiance that glows under foundation.

Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer Kit $34 this divine concealer not only balances the skin tone, it also has a powder to set the concealer.

Mid range

Bareminerals correcting concealer broad spectrum with SPF20 $20 Do you love mineral powder makeup, but need a bit more coverage? Bareminerals will have you covered literally. This concealer has SPF 20 to protect your skin or you can wear it over your mineral powder for extra coverage.


Maybelline Fit Me Concealer $7 if you don’t like wearing a face full of foundation, but want to cover slight imperfections, this water based formula goes on smoothly and the brush applicator makes it our favorite option on the go.

Loose Face Powder

Powder sets make-up, reduces shine, and evens the skin-tone. In other words it is a basic makeup requirement, however finding the right color and texture can be tricky.

Top of the range

BECCA Loose Powder $29.50  widely regarded as the finest powder in the world, it is unlike any other.This unique formulation is lightly pigmented and micro-milled, creating a perfectly uniform, ultra thin layer that allows the skin’s natural oils to lightly shine through. The result ensures that your foundation looks like real skin. I use this in ‘Clove’ and it’s the truth.

Nars light reflecting setting powder $34 don’t be discouraged by the stark white color. This powder is made for all  skin tones, it is finely-milled, soft and blendable with a soft matte finish that looks luminous in any light.

MAC Select Sheer Loose Powder $24 has a satin finish. Once applied, it provides a beautiful natural glow. It’s a fab powder if you’re not looking for extra coverage.

Mid range

Bareminerals Mineral Veil $20 is still one of the best powers around, containing no parabens, artificial minerals; it is kind to the most sensitive of skins. The powder absorbs excess oils to keep skin shine free without making the complexion look blotchy.


Eyebrows are an important part of your face.  They offer a frame for your eyes and help to make your expressions more meaningful.  A well groomed pair of brows instantly adds sex appeal to your appearance.

Top of the range

MAC Brow duo: Red Head $20 a perfect pairing of complementary powder colors in Cork and Espresso – one matte, one satin that blend beautifully on brows to match brown skin.

MAC Veleux Brow Liner in Deep Dark Brunette $19.50 this pencil fills, shapes and defines with a rich powdery formula that’s matte and velvety smooth

MAC Brow Set in Show Off $16 a brush-on gel that strokes brows into shape by adding shine and style. The added bonus is, it also grooms lashes, sideburns and facial hair.

Mid range

Fashion Fair Brow Pencil in Brown/Black $12 is the perfect dark brown color as it doesn’t make eyebrows look artificial. Although it may smudge a little, using face setting spray should help.


Some people go off running in the other direction once they hear the word “contour”. A lot of women can benefit from contouring when it is done correctly and in the right places.

Top of the range

Sleek Makeup Contour Kit in Dark $11 arguably the best contour kit for black women in the business. The dark matt color is exceptional for shaping and contouring the face, sculpting the bridge of your nose, cheekbones, and sharpening the jawline. The highlighter can be used next to the dark color to accentuate the definition of your face.


If you don’t use a highlighter then you’re missing out on the easiest way to create a youthful, dewy complexion.

Top of the range

BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Golden Bronze Pearl $41 a sheer, creme-liquid that perfects skin with ultra-fine light-reflecting pearls for a soft, natural glow. It’s beautiful on.

NARS Multiple in Palm Beach $39  this is the original multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips and body. It’s unique creamy formula and sheer color blends effortlessly to create shimmering accents, contours or dynamic highlights on all brown skin tones.

Mid range

MAC Mineralized Skin Finish in Soft & Gentle $30 is a luxurious velvet-soft powder with a high-frost metallic finish. Smoothes on and adds highlights to cheeks, brows, plus anywhere on the body.

MAC Lustre Drops in Sun Rush $21 is a bronzer that applies like liquid sun. Water-based, beautifully smooth with added pearlized lustre. It provides sheer, natural-looking highlights with a luminous, shimmering finish.


Nothing beats individual lashes ladies. Strip lashes worn everyday look ultra fake, fake, fake. They walk into a room before we do, and demote us into the shallow category, before we even have time to open our mouths. Besides spiky caterpillars will never be sexy on our eyes in the daytime.

Top of the range

Shu Uemura Individual Lashes $10 for daytime it’s about a more discreet look and these lashes can be glued on to the outer corner of the eyes for a natural effect. Find them in stores.

Can you vouch for any of these beauty products?

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  1. There is so much information in this article. I’ll have to print it – good tips! Keep them coming 🙂

  2. Still in campus and too broke to have all those, anyway working hard in school to one day afford them 🙂

  3. the best foundation on the market is definitely estee lauder double wear/ light! by far! always get customers from …named brands swapping to that! and next month they are releasing new colours

  4. ..there are top of the line products out there besides MAC. Make Up Forever for example – their HD foundation is the bomb on my mid-chocolate skin tone. Many people find the MAC foundations too orangey for their skin.

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