Best makeup for hyperpigmented skin, according to India's top beauty experts
Their personal hacks and the go-to products on their vanity
The battle against hyperpigmentation for Indians – or anyone with more than a teaspoon of melanin – is constant. We layer on our foundation to the point it’s cakey enough for a candle and a wish, because makeup for hyperpigmented skin is not an easy find.
You’ve got to make some tough choices and there are only so many Youtube tutorials you can watch before caving in and begging Sephora aunty to take all your money.
So we asked India’s top makeup artists to simplify makeup for hyperpigmented skin.
And tell us how to use it, because when you have so many products going on at the same time, untangling a pile of headphone wires seems like the simpler task.
Before buying anything, figure out your skin’s undertones: warm, cool or neutral.
Celebrity makeup artist Namrata Soni says to look at the veins on the inside of your arm or undereye area.
“Are your veins greenish in colour? Your natural undertone is most likely yellow and warm. People with a cool undertone are likely to have their veins appear in shades of blue, pink, even purplish. Neutral is difficult to figure sometimes. But if you fall on the blue-green spectrum, that’s your fit.”
Here are the makeup kit essentials for anyone with discolouration.
Makeup for hyperpigmented skin and dark spots
1. Prep & Prime(r)
“Prepping the skin ensures the makeup lasts long and your base appears even. Spend time moisturising your face and under-eye with your usual moisturiser,” says Mamta Mody, Beauty & Health Director at Elle India.
“Several women have pigmentation around their mouths and this is often a dry zone which can appear flaky when you layer too much makeup.”
If you’ve ever questioned the purpose of a primer, listen up.
Primers are used to create your base. Everything that goes on afterwards; how the finish looks and how long it lasts can be determined by the primer you use.
So if you’re going to put all that effort into colour correcting and concealing, it better last you through the day, right?
- Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, ₹1,450
- NYX Honey Dew Me Up Primer, ₹1,275
- Benefit POREfessional Primer, ₹1,240
2. Colour corrector
A colour corrector will be your greatest weapon when covering up dark spots and discolouration.
It neutralises discolouration on the base level, before you apply your foundation.
For fairer complexions, peach or even orange shades work well. For medium tones, tan and deeper browns, opt for a red corrector.
Deepica Mutyala’s video went viral in 2015 when she showed her trick of using red lipstick to correct her dark circles.
A useful hack for when you’re on the go (or it’s the end of the month).
- L.A Girl HD Pro Concealer Color Corrector, ₹595.
- NYX Professional Makeup 3C Palette, ₹1,325.
- Bobbi Brown Corrector, ₹3,200, available in stores.
3. Medium or full-coverage concealer
We hold a lot of expectations for our concealers. Conceal our dark spots, acne scars, inflamed pimples, childhood embarrassments.
A full-coverage concealer is not just meant for fancy parties and glam makeup looks. If you’re reading this article, you’re serious about disguising the dark spots until your skin fully heals.
A good full-coverage concealer will cover undereye circles, acne marks and discolouration around the mouth with ease, in tandem with your colour corrector.
Medium coverage concealers offer a more sheer-to-medium finish if you want more of your skin to show through. The choice is up to you.
- Maybelline New York Fit Me Concealer, ₹475
- Maybelline New York Instant Age Rewind Concealer, ₹620
- Huda Beauty Overachiever Concealer, ₹2,520
4. Medium or full-coverage foundation
While concealers work to cover up those blemishes and spots, a foundation has a lighter formula that can even out your entire face like a fresh new canvas.
Mody suggests using a cream stick foundation in the areas that require more coverage.
Full-coverage foundations reduce the chance of heavy discolouration peeping through.
The colour correcting and concealer would have done the trick underneath.
“When wearing full-coverage foundation, use a little blush or bronzer to enhance your face’s natural contour otherwise your face may appear too flat,” adds Mody.
- Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup With SPF 10, ₹1,800
- Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick, ₹3,700
- MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Foundation, ₹4,025
5. Lipsticks with high colour pay-off
Our common qualm when it comes to finding lipsticks for pigmented lips is the lack of colour pay-off. You end up doing so many swipes but it doesn’t pop in the way you want it to.
For many, it’s a matter of genetics – one lip darker than the other, a faint rim of purple tones like we’re constantly wearing lip liner.
Finding fun lipsticks for pigmented lips can be quite a tear-inducing, bank-breaking task. You want to go for lipsticks that provide full coverage.
When it comes to getting the exact colour match, makeup artist and hairstylist Neha Parmar suggests using a bit of concealer or foundation on your lips before applying lipstick.
“It helps to minimise the appearance of the pigmentation and give a smooth base for your lipstick shade to show,” she says.
If your lipstick isn’t too pigmented, Mody suggests using the lip-liner trick. “Apply a lip liner under the lipstick for extra coverage. If you don’t want a punchy matte mouth, you can also apply lipliner and wear a sheer gloss over it.”
- Maybelline New York Super Stay Liquid Lipstick, ₹599
- L’Oreal Paris Color Riche Moist Matte Lipsticks, ₹750
- Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick, ₹2,050