Makeup artist Nick Barose shares tips for dark complexions

Lupita Nyong'o always look flawless and fresh.
Lupita Nyong’o always look flawless and fresh.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Actress Lupita Nyong’o wowed fashion and beauty critics during awards season, just as she wowed film critics for her role in “12 Years a Slave.”

Not only did she win an Academy Award for her performance, she also was named “most beautiful person of 2014” by People magazine. Nyong’o never seems anything but composed and confident in the spotlight.

Makeup artist Nick Barose, who works with the actress, has tips for making the most of a dark complexion like Nyong’o’s.


“Women with really dark skin worry they’re using the wrong foundation,” he says. For advice on finding the right products, check out new beauty websites like, which is stocked with tutorials and products curated for brown-skinned women.

Because of the way light reflects off very dark skin, many women worry about looking too shiny, Barose says. “It’s really about just embracing your beautiful glow and finding that medium where you’re not completely matted/powdered down or looking too oily,” he says.

Barose avoids a too-frosty look by using powder highlighter rather than a liquid or cream for a dry shine.

With bold lipstick, use a lip liner that’s a little bit deeper than your skin tone along lip edges for a feminine look without harsh, sharp edges.

Barose suggests a true black liquid eyeliner that won’t show up gray.