When the African beauty Iman hit the modeling scene in 1975, cosmetics companies were all about the white girls. At an early photo shoot, it took a well-known makeup artist half an hour to mix a custom foundation to match her skin tone. After that, she taught herself the art of makeup and brought her own.
In 1994, she launched Iman Cosmetics, focusing on makeup for women of color, filling a desperately underserved niche and paving the way for the old standards -- Revlon, Maybelline, Max Factor -- to follow suit.
Women of color now have a fairly wide selection of cosmetics to suit their skin tones. And in cosmetics, skin tone is everything. Darker complexions call for different coloring approaches from lighter complexions. Two general makeup rules still apply: Highlight your best features, and don't overdo it. Beyond that, though, women of color are looking at some unique approaches to cosmetic greatness.
To begin with, foundation can be a bit trickier for darker skin.