I've always had this skin tone and it can be somewhat difficult to work with, at times. Mostly because some "make up" just looks odd. For instance pink and golden lips tend to not show. On a side note, the cleavage that comes with many items is also a lot less noticeable, which I guess is good for modesty xp
I love this skin tone nonetheless and I've found that they've gotten better at addressing different skin tones when it comes to releasing items.
I can tell a lot of posters complaining about Secret Retreat haven't actually worked with Tone E dark skintones before outside of TekTek. Here's what it looks like on an avatar with the "Sexy Toned Dark Body" selected:
I would actually argue that the definition needs to be darker. You can barely see it when the avatar's in "full view" in the dressing room; that detail gets even harder to see when it shrinks to fit the forum size. People need to remember that TekTek and Gaia do not work together; TekTek differs not just in layering but in shading also. I'm not sure why they have that problem but there you go.
A similar problem is with the latest trend of outlines being dark grey instead of sharp black. I suppose the idea is to tone down the "harshness" of a look to make it more appealing to users looking to use an overall paler palette, but on dark tones the effect falls flat. An example (item equipped is SDPlus #058 Winsor):
Lighter is easier by far. All the make-up, body mods, hair, etc is gone on the light bases so a lot of items are useless for dark tone users. Makes white blocks and splotches everywhere if it shows up at all.
Stupid as hell and lazy of the artists, but it's gone on so long I can't care anymore. I just don't buy the items.
I can't even remember why I chose this skin for my avi, but I've tried changing it multiple times. I've just gotten so used to making avatars around this one every other just looks funky to me, whether it's too pale or too dark.
I'm not even this tan in real life, I don't know why I like this skin xP
When I registered with Gaia, I chose the my natural skin/eye/hair tones, all SUPER light.
And what you mentioned about blush items is true.
It's just like real life. ;A;
I always look sunburned.
I actually get a little kick, though, about the fact that blush/ color on my face is just like...SHABLAMAZAZZZ, like in real life.
Irony, but funny irony.
I can imagine lighter skinned avis being easier to work with, but some of the best pastel avis I've seen have actually been on some of the darker skinned avis, but that could also be because I'm partial to contrast. c:
I love using the skin tone c in the summer. Gives me the chance to live vicariously though my avis because I can't tan to save my life.
Also, if I want cleavage I have to find something with cleavage because the Secret Retreat bodies don't look right on tone c! The light barely shows, and the dark looks scary. ;w;
Petal Professor Hana is pretty nice if you don't mind the whole section in the middle.
gaia_crown Hana is nice, because it layers under a lot of stuff, but sometimes the highlights look unnatural to me! :c (it is a lot better than when it first came out though, when it did it looked like solid white highlights on tone c)
I like the undergarments from rosamund's revenge/redemption too, for the same reason that it layers under stuff. o3o
more cleavage mods need to layer under other things! oAo
I don't find other skin tones difficult to use if we're just talking about clothes and wigs. I use darker skins when cosplaying some of my characters and I've never really given it much thought when it comes to clothes or wigs. I've also used dark elf skins, and haven't had trouble with the colors.
For me, the issue comes when I want to use base altering items like--blush, cleavage items, certain eyes (that come with blush), make up, lips...etc. Mind you, I hate most cleavage items on my normal, light toned base as well. But with darker bases, they tend to look even worse than usual so darker tons end up with far fewer options when it comes to adding character, shading, and the more subtle body enhancing mods.
When I use darker tones, I use the smallest default mouth possible, or just remove the mouth. The little gray line looks really bizarre. .__. And I avoid all blush and body enhancing items. It's too much of a hassle to find something that looks decent.
Before I switched to the new Dark Elf skin (which you can't see right now) I wore the tone D for years. Before that tone C. But as soon as I switched to tone D, tone C seemed awfully pale to me.. rofl
But even on tone D you can have a lot of crappy shading, and most 'boob enhancers' look like you've got ash on your chest.
I just like the darker skin tones more, especially since a lot of tattoos and other stuff (scales, 'ice' etc) make a very graphic look on dark skin. The contrast is just lower when you use light skin.
But, as I said, now I'm wearing the Dark Elf skin, which is a challenge, but it's so pretty I just had to use it.