Face powder holds your foundation in place and gives your skin a silky smooth appearance that enhances your natural beauty. However, choosing the proper color for your skin tone isn’t always simple. A shade too light and you can appear chalky; powder that’s too dark can make you look ashy. For black skin — or any shade of skin — the secret is to select a powder shade that complements your natural pigment as well as your foundation.

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Determine your natural skin tone. Stand near a window or another source of natural light. Examine the color on the back of your hand; that’s your natural skin tone.

Consider your skin’s undertones. Generally, lighter complexions have yellow undertones, medium to medium-dark black skin features red or purple undertones and the darkest complexions have blue or blue-black undertones. To determine your undertones, look in a mirror and hold a yellow swatch of fabric under your chin. Then, hold the red fabric in the same spot. Notice which fabric best blends with your skin, or which color seems to be reflected from your complexion.

Choose a powder that matches your skin. If you’ve got yellow undertones, select for a brown shade, avoiding anything that’s orange-based. People with red or blue undertones should look for a bronze or copper shade. The most important thing is to find a shade that is as close to your skin tone, as well as your foundation, as possible. It’s also best to opt for a shade that’s a bit lighter than one that’s slightly darker than your skin.


  • Visit a beauty counter and ask for a skin consultation. Many stores provide this free of charge, so it’s a great way to get a professional opinion on what shades you should wear.

  • If you’ve got an uneven skin tone, select a shade that matches the lighter part of your skin.