You’d think that with the ever-changing racial climate of our society, the health and beauty industry would follow suit and uphold diversity. For a while, many mainstream beauty brands excluded themselves from that narrative and catered their products to a limited number of skin tones (so called mainstream customers only).
Growing up, I’d walk down the makeup aisle in Superdrug or Boots and peruse the beauty counters at department stores and sometimes see two to three shades for dark skin tones. This sparked the onset of my long and drawn-out struggle with finding a foundation shade that matched my unique complexion and undertones. Unfortunately, many women of colour share the same story and have dealt with this for years. One day I found myself lucky when a Beautician from the Clinique counter at Debenhams Milton Keynes reached out to me and gave me a lovely beauty make over, I felt saved.
Nowadays, it’s important to note there has been progress in expansive foundation shade ranges from brands that make an effort to cater to all skin tones. Inclusive beauty matters, and it’s refreshing to see lines with more than 30 foundation shades that speak to women of all racial backgrounds.
We’ll forever be applauding the success of Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty’s foundation line of 40 shades. Rihanna said it best: “Fenty Beauty was created for everyone: for women of all shades, personalities, attitudes, cultures, and races. I wanted everyone to feel included. That’s the real reason I made this line.” She can say that again – well said!
Our skin is more than just one complexion. Having a shade that matches and one that is slightly darker is ideal. Try using a warmer shade of foundation along your jawline, then using a slightly lighter or matching shade under the eye area. These two shades blended together will be your perfect match and add dimension to your face for your perfect sheer foundation and your full coverage contour package.
To help you choose your perfect shade, we rounded up the most forward-thinking brands with more than 30 foundation shades.
Fenty Beauty: 40 Shades
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation (£27.00)
This foundation is literally sold out everywhere, especially the dark shades, which is a good indication of how good it is. After finally being able to purchase my shade at Heathrow Airport, I just love the unique blend of this market leading foundation and I’m in love with the finish it gives my skin. It also blurs my hyperpigmentation and gives me this airbrushed glow.
MAC: 35 Shades
MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation Spf 15 (£27.00)
Talking about inclusive brands I cannot miss out the strong diversity from Mac Cosmetics.
Since the beginning, black girls have turned to MAC as their go-to foundation because the cult brand has always carried a plethora of shades. The Studio Fix formula is a favorite because its matte texture doesn’t budge and controls shine.
Clinique: 49 Shades
Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 (£28.00)
If you love a luminous glow, this SPF-packed foundation is certainly for you. With over 30 shades, you’ll find a shade that will even out your skin tone and protect you from any sun damage, it feels light on the skin and the brand has an extensive high-technology skin care collection.
Yves Saint Laurent: 30 Shades
“In 1962, Yves Saint Laurent was the first
designer to stand out and dare. The couturier
liked slender women with a strong presence.
Qualities he found in Fedelia, ‘the first black model
who walked down the catwalk’ was for YSL.”
Yves Saint Laurent All Hours Liquid Foundation SPF20 (£32.40)
YSL consistently keeps shade range top of mind, offering up to 30 shades in their foundation lines. So good. Not the most popular brand in the U.K., however This oil-free, non-comedogenic foundation is made to look like another layer of your skin and also contains vitamin C and E, so your skin can feel good about wearing this all day.
Maybelline: 45 Shades
Maybelline Fit Me! Matte and Poreless Foundation (£5.99)
We’re in love with the Fit Me line for so many reasons, one of them being that the foundation was made with a virtual shade finder system so customers can choose their perfect match. Number two being that this formulation’s micro-powders will give your face a poreless finish and most of all it’s totally beyond affordable.
Lancôme: 40 Shades
Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation (£30.60)
Want to look retouched in real life? This cult classic is the one. It took the brand eight years to develop this long-wear foundation—meaning there’s no question its formula is legit. The brand points out its colour-true NAI pigments, which control the PH level of your skin so your foundation looks flawless all day.
Anastasia Beverly Hills: 50 Shades
Anastasia Beverly Hills Luminous Foundation (£43.00)
This diverse shade range, can be used for several things: as a foundation, for contouring, or as a tinted moisturizer. Having the freedom to multipurpose your foundation is your good value for money. It’s also free of harsh ingredients, so those with sensitive skin can feel good about giving this a try.
L’Oréal: 30 Shades
L’Oréal True Match Super Blendable Foundation with SPF and Hyaluronic Acid (£9.99)
Meet the star of Beauty Store Foundation. For a great price you’re guaranteed an oil-free and fragrance-free foundation that’s formulated with technology to suit a vast range of skin tones and types.
Dior: 35 Shades
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation (£34.00)
Dior, a personal favourite, has remained one of the most shade-inclusive brands for years. Its 35 shades of foundations will give your skin a full-coverage and flawless finish. It’s a celebrity makeup artist favorite because of its power to look airbrushed under the brightest camera lights.