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Behind the Brush

Tips & How Tos

Behind the Brush: Tasha Reiko Brown
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We sat down with celebrity make-up artist and beauty expert Tasha Reiko Brown to dish on all things beauty and debunk some of the myths when it comes to makeup and women of color. Tasha is known for her understanding of undertones and finding the right complexion products, which appeals to the likes of Jill Scott, Amandla Stenberg, Yara Shahidi, Mindy Kaling, Jordin Sparks and many more. She celebrates the art of customization and we’re here to lead you through some of her most treasured beauty secrets.

What are some tips and tricks for women of color when choosing the right complexion products for their skin tone?

Knowing your undertone is key. Once you find your undertone, find a shade that perfectly matches the edges of your face and neck. The color has to be spot on but the texture also needs to match and melt into the skin. Stay on the lighter side coverage-wise and only use product as needed. Consider lighter textures (Dior Skin Forever Perfect Foundation, PÜR’s  4-in-1 Foundation) instead of cream if you don’t need much coverage. Really address the skin’s individualized needs before deciding on product.

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Explain an undertone – what is it, how many different undertones are there, and how can a woman determine hers?

Undertone is the color beneath the skin’s surface. It’s like a shadow under your surface color.  Undertones are categorized under Warm (the veins on the inside of your wrist look green), Cool (the veins on the inside of your wrist look blue) and Neutral (mix of blue and green veins or hard to determine vein color). Each season your skin color may change, however your undertone does not. Determining undertone is crucial to determining the base color of your foundation as it won’t ever ‘sit right’ as a match if the undertone is off. When it’s a complimentary undertone, your skin will absorb it. If the undertone match is off, it will reflect it back causing the much-dreaded ashy or ruddy face. Knowing undertone also helps you determines which color products for other areas of the face are going to be complimentary and enhance your tone.

Note: Looking at veins through the filter of the skin’s undertone is what causes them to look different in individuals.

What happens if someone can’t find a foundation to match their complexion?

It may take more research and more trial and error, but I promise you the right shade is out there for you. One of the great things about social media is that I see women of color sharing so many beauty looks, tricks, product recommendations and even color swatches online. It’s been a great introduction to fresh boutique brands both worldwide and local that are fantastic for women of color. It really has opened up the market and the exchange of beauty ideas for women of color that weren’t as explored in many mainstream outlets before.

If you really want to perfect your foundation match, custom is the way to go. Lots of brands offer color adjusters (usually orange, red or purple) that you can add to your foundation to adjust it slightly. You can even go the extra step and add luminizers.

Are there products that women with deeper shades should shy away from?

Skip white or pearl frost pigment in all products. Anything with gold, bronze or rust-colored luminizers or shine pigments looks best on deeper skin tones. The white/pearl frost is unnatural and dated. I love PÜR’s Sun-Kissed Glow Strobe and Highlight Palette.

What’s some of the biggest myths when it comes to makeup and women of color?

A huge myth is that woman of color need to shy away from bright shades when it’s very much the opposite. Darker tones are where colors really shine and beautifully pop. Play with color and celebrate the unique richness of your skin tone. Grab fun colors like Persimmon (MAC Blush in Devil), Jade (Lancome Le Crayon Kohl Moss ye pencil and PÜR’s Double Ego Dual-Ended Eyeliner in Bali) and Oxblood (PÜR’s Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick in Addiction) and experiment. You are only limited by your willingness to go bold!

Follow Tasha on Instagram and Twitter @tashareikobrown.


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