I love the way dense, smokey eyes work with my dark skin and jet-black hair. All it takes to accomplish my standard look—-heavy black kohl and well-defined lashes—-is MAC Eye Kohl in Smolder, Dior DiorShow Mascara in Rich Black and some cheap charcoal-colored eyeshadow to set the liner and fill in my brows. But it’s time for some variation. I want to try lining my eyes with dark blues and deep purples and rich greens. I want to try multi-shade variations across my lids. I want the darkest, sultriest lashes money can buy. Here’s what I need to make it all happen:

Pop Beauty Eye Class in Smokey Eyes

Pop Beauty Eye Class in Smokey Eyes

Pop Beauty Eye Class in Smokey Eyes ($32): I wish I’d included this in my Palettes with Payoff post, because all twelve—-count ’em—-shadows in this set are well-pigmented and work on dark skin. I know, the lightest three shades look a bit dull, but just read their names: nude glow, opal gold and sparkling white. These are shimmery shades, not matte as they appear in the picture, and are therefore perfect for highlighting the browbone, the center of the eyelid and the inner corners of the eyes.

Dior Diorshow Black Out Mascara

Dior Diorshow Black Out Mascara

Dior Diorshow Black Out Mascara ($24): When I learned that there was an “extreme-black” version of my beloved Diorshow, I was pumped. The regular Diorshow is practically immune to clumping, and their Rich Black shade is certainly black, but when you already have black lashes, black mascara can make them…how should I say it?…less black. Enter Diorshow Black Out. Yay.

Kat Von D Kat Eye Brush Kit

Kat Von D Kat Eye Brush Kit

Kat Von D Sephora Kat Eye Brush Kit ($48): No, I don’t watch L.A. Ink and I don’t care who Kat Von D is. But this collaboration between Ms. D and Sephora is simply one of the most complete yet well-edited brush sets I’ve encountered. Not only would I make use of every single brush in this kit, but it has the oft-excluded stiff-bristled angled brow brush that’s fundamental to creating strong brows (which, incidentally, are fundamental to creating smokey eyes).

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Palettes with Payoff

November 3, 2008

When it comes to makeup palettes, dark-skinned girls are at a distinct disadvantage. Even the most alluring, expensive palettes inevitably have one or two super light, super neutral “blah” shade that we know, without even sampling, will all but disappear on our darker complexions. Here, I’ve selected three palettes with serious color payoff. My criteria? Every single color included in a palette had to be flattering and richly pigmented enough to show up on my skin. Thus, girls of all skin tones looking for colors with serious pop will get their money’s worth with these bright little sets:

Vincent Longo Diamante Quad

Vincent Longo Diamante Quad

Vincent Longo Diamante Quad in Aquila ($40): With a “high-tech, light-reflecting pearl formula for a creamy soft, full color eyeshadow,” each of these colors are worth buying in singular form. And since you can vary their intensity by applying either wet or dry, it’s like getting twice the shadow.

Fresh Imperial Bedroom Palette

Fresh Imperial Bedroom Palette

Fresh Imperial Bedroom Face Palette ($55): It’s not just the name of this palette that’s an exercise in smoldering seduction. Each shade is rich, luminous and slightly mysterious. With “lightly-gilded pearl and antique-gold eye lusters, an opalescent black satin liner, a warm shimmering satin luster for the cheeks, and a seductive deep-red lip shine,” what more could you need?

Fresh Imperial Bedroom Palette

Josie Maran Finger Paints

Josie Maran Finger Paints in Sweet ($36): This sweet little palette with four shimmery “paints” proves that rich color can still be natural color. Each multi-purpose shade can be used on eyes, cheeks and lips, creating countless combinations. The best part? It “contains natural, organic ingredients, no fragrances or parabens.”