This year especially, Pride seems to represent more than a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community — it’s a rally to keep fighting for those who are marginalized, discriminated against, and oppressed. It’s a nationwide push for inclusivity and equality. It’s a call to action. And that’s precisely the sentiment Darius McKiver, the makeup artist behind the account @neonmua, captured when we asked him to create a makeup look representative of what Pride means to him in 2020. “My creative drive has taken a back seat, as I have to focus my voice and platform on the many oppressions that I have faced as a black queer male,” he says. “The LGBTQ+ community has had to take a tough look at ourselves and realize that we have failed both our Black and trans families. I want this look [I created] to be a reminder of our constant fight as a community for equality while also reminding the queer community that our fight for equality must involve everyone: including Black and brown people, as well as trans people.”
Thus, McKiver took inspiration from the Progress Pride flag. This particular version was introduced in 2018 by artist Daniel Quasar as a supplement to the widely known six-color rainbow flag. It features 11 colors, with the five new ones positioned on the left side of the flag in an arrow shape, symbolizing the progress that needs to be made in amplifying voices within the LGBTQ+ community, including but not limited to transgender, non-binary, Black, and brown individuals. The new colors strategically point to the right to imply forward movement in which we stand in support of positive change.
Below, and in partnership with e.l.f. Cosmetics, McKiver explains how he achieves this inspired makeup look, honoring Pride and celebrating more than just the happiness of the rainbow.
Brown Skin Beauty Boy
Here’s how McKiver accentuates his skin and preps his brown base.
“I keep my primer lightweight yet hydrating, using e.l.f. Puff Puff Primer or Jelly Pop Dew Primer. Then I go in with a matte setting powder and damp beauty sponge over my nose, forehead, and the more porous parts of my cheeks. This helps to blur pores and keep oil at bay. I use the Flawless Finish Foundation in shade Coco for my base. Since this is a lightweight foundation, I build up coverage in the places I need it most with a kabuki brush. Starting at the perimeter of my face, I work inward [in a swiping motion], finishing up on the nose so that I don’t have excess product on the oiliest parts of my face. Then I conceal, mixing the 16HR Camo matte and hydrating concealers to match that finish.”
Eye Have A Voice
Proverbially, eyes are the windows to the soul — they’re also where the most detail lies in this symbolic makeup look.
“Starting with black on the eyelids and then blending out with a rich brown, I create a neutral, smoked-out eye using the Truffles Bite-Size Eyeshadows. These colors represent the black and brown shades in the Progress Pride flag [and are] a representation for Black and Brown people. I use white eyeliner to create a wing and spiral it with blue and pink. These colors represent trans equality on the flag.
“I start by mapping out the stripes with a brown eye pencil. Then, I prime the area and begin applying shadows from the JKissa To The Rescue Eyeshadow Palette — red, orange, and yellow under one eye; and green, blue, and purple under the other to represent the original colors on the Pride flag. I softly blend out each one using a shadow similar to my face shade to create a gradient.
“For my lashes, I begin with the e.l.f. Volumizing and Defining Mascara to prep. I use the False Lashes in the style Starstruck to get a fluffy effect that doesn’t draw attention away from the look itself. I follow up with mascara again to blend my natural lashes with the falsies.”
Lips That Speak
This glossy pout has plenty to say.
“I'm in a phase where I love lip gloss right now, and I tend to lean toward them when I'm doing a look that’s more about the eyes. I typically prep my lips with lip oil when I’m priming my face. [That way] they’re hydrated for whatever products. When I’m ready to finish the look, I start lining my lips with a brown lip liner. I also create contour lines around my mouth and softly blend those out to make my lips look fuller. I complete the look with a multi-dimensional gloss, e.l.f.'s Lip Lacquer in Mauve Glitz.”
Hair Me Out
McKiver shares the tips and tricks to making his brows and beard pop.
“For this look, I want the brows to be light and fluffy to draw attention to the eyes. I start with the e.l.f. Clear Brow & Lash Mascara and then go in with the Instant Lift Brow Pencil in Black to define and fill in any gaps. Luckily, my beard grows pretty full, so typically I don’t shade in my facial hair (if I feel like I need to, I’ll use the same brow pencil). After I contour, I undercut it with a loose powder to give it that sharp look — it also creates a defined contrast between my complexion and my beard.”
Make It Last
Finishing touches complete the look and give it staying power.
“I typically use a shimmering highlight on the cheeks, but I don’t want to overpower the stripes. Instead, I apply bronzer around the perimeters of my face, using it to blend my contour with my foundation and to contour my nose. It creates a more natural color. And I have to use a finishing spray. It helps to melt the look down and get rid of that dusty appearance, which is especially important for a look that uses so much powder under the eyes. The e.l.f. Matte Magic Mist & Set spray is great for this. If I need a touch-up because of my oily skin, I go in with the Mattifying Blotting Papers.”
All products featured are also available at Target.
Images courtesy of Darius McKiver.
This post is sponsored by e.l.f. Cosmetics.