Sam Fine

Celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine. Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Women with medium to darker complexions know that makeup can often present challenges that cosmetic brands and beauty stories don't always address.

"Women of color disproportionately spend money on cosmetics, yet often aren't spoken to," says makeup artist Sam Fine, who is known for his work on African-American celebrities like Vanessa Williams and Tyra Banks – and is also the author of "Fine: The Basics of Beauty."

The celebrity makeup artist took a stroll with us through Duane Reade – which is New York City's most prolific drugstore – and revealed his favorite budget buys while spilling the essential beauty tips he believes every woman of color should have in her arsenal.




1. Set brows with powder. Deeper-complected women naturally have darker brows, which means you'll shape and fill in sparse areas with shades ranging from brown to dark espresso. Such dark color drawn right on the skin will stand out obviously unless you temper it down with a quick setting of powder that will make brows look more authentic. "You don't need to necessarily match a powder to your brow pencil, you can just use the pressed powder you'd use on your face," says Fine, who adds that he prefers Maybelline pencils and powders.

2. Don't cover freckles. When applying foundation, your aim should never be to cover freckles – not only do they add character, but you'll risk looking too 'done' if they're opaquely painted over. "Tyra Banks loves her freckles so much that she'll go back with an eyeliner pencil if she feels they've been too covered by makeup," divulges Fine.

3. Prime bold lips first. Deeper tones can pull off beautiful splashes of color on the lips glamorously – but there's nothing less attractive than a cracked and crumbly loud lip. Fine slips a layer of Aquaphor on his clients first, and then begins working on their makeup. By the time he gets to the pout, the hydration has soaked in and left lips silky, smooth and ready for a pop of color.

4. Use bronzer. "Bronzer isn't a trend, it's something every woman needs, even if you already have color!" says Fine, who prefers CoverGirl's Queen Collection bronzers. Dusting a flat, neutral-toned bronzer around the perimeter of the face and underneath the length of the cheekbone will not only slim and accent bone structure, but help you photograph more flatteringly too.

5. Opt for cream concealer. Fine says that most women make the mistake of using too sheer of a concealer to cover up blemishes and spots, which won't cut it for darker skin tones that require a thicker consistency. "The more coverage you have in a product, the less you'll need to use. Using a higher coverage concealer will actually end up looking more natural than caking up layers of a sheerer concealer," advises Fine.

For many women of color, finding the perfect foundation can be a daunting and discouraging task. Iman has changed that with her latest offering.

Meanwhile, check out these 15 cheap beauty products to stock up on.