Winter-proofing Brown Skin: Staying Bold in the Cold

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image courtesy of Levichev Dmitry/Shutterstock.com

I have a theory: mechanics and makeup artists are equally busy during the winter. Think about it: As meteorologists forecast snowfall and icy roads, local auto handymen start rolling up their sleeves to weather-proof clients' vehicles for optimal performance amidst "the elements." Though makeup artists aren't breaking the sweat induced by balancing a new set of snow tires, they definitely have to flex their expertise to help bring out brown skin's summer radiance during the chilly off-season.

Like many women of color, when it's warm my skin can't lose! The sun and heightened temperatures bring out our golden undertones and natural oils, giving us a unique glow. But, as the clouds roll in and frost descends, those glow-provoking properties appear to fly south with the local bird population. Winter bouts with flattened tone and lack of luster soon rear their ugly heads, and we're left in search of tips and tricks to help in revving up our skin tone and texture.

As a woman of color and celebrity makeup artist, Tia Dantzler has worked to bring out the best in brown skin throughout her career—no matter what the season! With clients ranging from singer/actress Jennifer Hudson to President Barack Obama, Tia's talents are tried and true and she stands as a go-to authority in beauty for brown girls and beyond! I tapped this guru for her insights on helping brown girls stay bold in the cold.

Ruddy complexions in the winter can start with dryness onset by brisk winds and lower humidity. Tia suggests opting for a heavier moisturizer to hydrate skin and protect from the colder temperatures. Once skin is supple, it's on to picking the right palette and applying the proper techniques to add radiance and color back into the face. "To bring life into the complexion, I do a lot of highlighting and contouring," shares Tia. She suggests brown girls use a darker powder (one shade deeper than the complexion) around the perimeter of the face using a big powder brush. Then follow with highlighter on the cheekbones and bridge of the nose for a radiant glow. When asked for her rules of the road for navigating brown skin in the winter, Tia offers her top makeup Do and Don't:

DO: "Do be daring! People can get stuck in a rut. Step out of the box."
DON'T: "Don't be caught with the wrong foundation color. Once your summer tan lifts, swap out your summer tone for a winter shade to ensure you have the right blend and coverage."

And when daring to step out of that proverbial box, brown girls should fear not the absence of abundant warm tones amidst winter makeup palettes. Brown skin can be equally flattered by cool tones—from frosty pinks to dusty purples and rich blues.

Tia's Top 3 Winter Makeup Picks:

1: Dior Addict Lipstick in #753 Fashion
This red lipstick with a blue under-tone is a perfect cooler crimson for brown girls. 

2: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner in Cobalt Ink
Tia's all-time favorite gel liner. Use this on your upper lash line for a hint of color.

3: CARGO Blush in Siena
This shade is a mix of pink & purple and gives a gorgeous tint to the apples of your cheeks.

This article was originally published on January 11, 2012


Driven to infuse each encounter with joy-inducing laughter, Dre Brown seeks to offer those she reaches both something for the eye and for the soul. Based out of New York City, Dre splits her time between makeup artistry, hair styling, strategic marketing, writing and entrepreneurship. Follow her exploits on her blog: a Dre in The Life and her Beautylish series "Confessions of a Nouveau Natural Woman"

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