Makeup Artist Mali Magic Shares a Genius Tip for Foundation-Matching POC Skin

She advocates for beauty diversity.

Mali Magic

Mali Thomas 

For decades, women of color have rallied for beauty products that cater to our broad spectrum of brown skin tones. Thanks to pioneers like Queen Latifah for CoverGirl and Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, the beauty industry has been reformed with visions of diversity. We would be remiss not to mention the many cosmetology professionals that have amplified our requests for inclusivity.  

One of those professionals is Mali Thomas, also known as Mali Magic. Waving her magic makeup wand throughout the beauty industry for more than a decade, the Bobbi Brown Cosmetics artist in residence is not only well-known for the signature dewy glow that she gives every client, but also for her dedication to ensuring POC are represented in her artistry. 

"I make sure in my contracts that I have the ability to hire the models that I want to work with, most of which have been women of color," Thomas shares with Byrdie exclusively.

Inspired by her mom to become a makeup artist, Mali got her start helping out photographers on set and she hasn’t looked back since. Now as the founder of Mali Magic LLC, she uses her platform to be an advocate for diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry, as well as teach her formula for flawless makeup application.

Ahead, Mali Magic reveals her fast facts to finding the right foundation (especially for darker skin tones), her secrets to skin prep, and quick ways to ace your at-home glam.

Skin Preparation

Lux Skin Facial Steamer
Lux Skin Facial Steamer $60

Thomas insists that prepping your skin before makeup application is crucial for creating flawless glam. "Skin prep is the most important part of your makeup application because it prepares your skin for what's to come and allows your foundation to have something to grab onto. Remember, the more you take care of your skin, the less foundation you have to apply," she advises.

Below are Mali Magic's everyday suggestions for skin prep:

  • Hydrate your skin with steam: "Steaming your face with a facial steamer or jumping into the shower before applying your makeup perfectly hydrates your skin."
  • Refrigerate your eye cream: "Putting your eye cream in the refrigerator is one of my greatest tips! Not only does it feel really good on the eyes, but it helps to depuff the under eye area."

Finding the Perfect Foundation

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

According to Thomas, the key to finding the perfect foundation starts with understanding your undertone. For those who are not aware, the undertone refers to the natural colors that can be found underneath the surface of your skin (ex. cool, warm, and neutral). 

"As brown girls, we don’t always know what our undertones are, so we have a problem finding the perfect foundation," Thomas shares. Luckily for you, we have the MUA's fast facts to finding it: 

  • Look at your chest or the side of your arm: "When you’re looking for your undertone, I suggest looking at the middle of your chest to see if you’re yellow or if you’re a little warmer. The sides of your arms and the middle of your face can also reveal true undertones."
  • Test foundation: "Try testing out the foundation on the side of your cheek towards the lower jawline. You also want to put some of your neck area to avoid looking like a floating head."
  • Don’t match hyperpigmentation: "You definitely want to make sure that you're matching your body with your face. We have the tendency to match hyperpigmentation when we shouldn’t."

Seamless Foundation & Concealer Application

Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
Bobbi Brown Cosmetics FOUNDATION BRUSH $50

The benefits of finding the perfect foundation are unmatched. In fact, Thomas says that once you find the correct foundation, your work is "already 50% done!" 

However, now that you’ve gotten all the tips you need to find your proper shade, what’s next? Don’t worry. Here are Thomas’ key things to remember when applying foundation and concealer:

  • Remember less is more: "Start with a small amount of foundation. I suggest applying a sheer layer and blending as much as you possibly can."
  • Use a foundation brush and beauty blender: "First, apply foundation with a foundation brush in a downward motion. Afterward, use a beauty blender to just make sure that everything is seamless. Personally, I like to use beauty blenders because they're awesome."
  • Clean up with concealer: "If there’s anything that needs additional coverage, I suggest going in with a concealer. Apply it on top of your foundation because that's what concealer is best for."
  • Use your digits: "I highly suggest utilizing your fingers. Your fingers can warm up the product and give you a more natural look."

After these expert tips, our makeup routines will never be the same. To keep up with Mali Thomas and her upcoming projects, follow her on Instagram: @kingmalimagic.

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