It’s no secret in the beauty editor world—or to any person who has dark skin—that the makeup industry isn’t all aboard the diversity train. Go into any Sephora or look at the shade ranges of a basic concealer or foundation. You’ll see a dozen porcelain-to-tan shades, and then one or two “dark” shades, which, more often than not, are milky, orange-brown formulas that work for precisely 5 percent of dark complexions. Where in drugstores are the rich blue-hued mocha shades in varying degrees of dark? Where, amidst the rows of pearly pink highlighters are the deep, bronzy coppers without a hint of white? (We don’t really have an answer, here; we’re legitimately wondering.)
The world is obviously not white—a statement that, coming from the world’s palest beauty editor, doesn’t add much to the conversation, I know—and it’s deeply, outrageously wrong that the market doesn’t reflect this. And though matching makeup shades is a time-consuming process for everyone, regardless of their complexion, the trial-and-error game gets ridiculously more difficult when you have only a few options to choose from (although, major shout out to IMAN Cosmetics, Black Opal, and Black Up for infiltrating the market with awesome shade ranges).
So when one woman on Reddit decided to swatch a bunch of her favorite highlighters on her dark skin, the Internet kind of freaked out. “Dark skin girl here; you are a saint,” wrote one user. “I don’t have dark skin, but I’ll just say that I really appreciate this post. I feel like people ignore dark skin in the makeup community, and it’s just ridiculous. So thank you for putting these up!” wrote another. The highlighter angel took photos of the swatched highlighters with and without flash, and then blended them across her skin and photographed the sheered-out finish (both are below).
12 gorgeous shades and a few somewhat surprising results. “I never realized coppery red shimmer would look so beautiful as a highlighter on deep skin tones,” one user commented. “I’m loving the more pink/rosy shades on your skin,” said another. Thankfully, the user listed all of the products swatched in her post—most of which are drugstore, huzzah!—so you can buy and try them out for yourself. Obviously, it’s worth noting that this is just one dark-skinned person (who admits that she has yellow-red undertones, so she avoids golden highlighters) in a world of complexions, so take this photo with a grain of shimmery salt, and then check out our guide to finding the very best highlighters for every skin tone.