From ghost-like flashback to an ashy gray cast, I’ve run into just about every issue you can imagine when trying to find the right foundation for my skin tone. During high school, I walked away from several makeup appointments frustrated because of how poorly the makeup artist's chosen foundation blended with my skin.
For women of color, finding a formula that suits our unique skin tones can be a struggle. For years, makeup brands have offered foundations with undertones too red, too yellow, or failed to deliver a deep enough shade range completely. Though many brands have made strides to become more inclusive (Thank you, Fenty), it can still be hard for some of us to land on our perfect shade. And on top of wanting flattering foundation, many of us equally desire formulas that don't mess with toxic chemicals. Though that can sound like an impossible challenge, we’ve made it easy and rounded up nine foundations made specifically for black and brown skin. Keep scrolling to find your new favorite foundation.
Not much needs to be said about Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation ($35)—8000 5-star reviews on Sephora speak for themselves. When Rihanna debuted her makeup line in 2017, she instantly shook up the cosmetics industry and set the standard for what real representation looks like. The brand's foundation initially launched with 40 shades, but now comes in 50 (FYI: The darker shades, those specifically created and matched for deep skin tones that many makeup brands have pitifully neglected over the years, sold out first). Many Black beauty editors claim this foundation as their go-to when doing their makeup, so you know it’s good.
After working on set for years, and noticing the lack of makeup options available to women of color, Range Beauty’s founder Alicia Scott set out to create her own high-performance, clean beauty brand. The makeup brand offers 21 shades of their Hydrating Foundation ($12), which boasts a sweat-proof and transfer-proof formula. On their website, Range Beauty provides a chart with comparable foundation matches and even offers an option to order samples to help you choose your ideal shade.
Uoma Beauty has quickly become one of the buzziest beauty brands, and they only launched earlier this year. At the heart of Uoma Beauty is founder Sharon Chuter, a former beauty executive whose mission is to create more inclusivity in the industry. The brand debuted with 51 shades of their Say What?! Foundation ($39), a matte foundation with blurring technology. The foundation range offers six unique formulations ranging from Black Pearl (dark brown skin) to White Pearl (very fair skin), in order to address specific skincare needs based on your skin tone. Issues such as dullness and hyperpigmentation are targeted in the Black Pearl range for dark brown skin, while sensitivity and redness are the focus of the White Pearl shades.
With product names inspired by sweet treats (and aesthetically pleasing packaging), Beauty Bakerie's line is as adorable as it is effective. The founder, Cashmere Nicole, created the brand in 2011 while she was battling breast cancer, and, over the past eight years, has gone on to build a multi-million dollar beauty empire with supporters including Beyoncé and Cardi B. Their signature Cake Mix Demi-Matte Foundation ($28) comes in 30 shades and is made with oily skin in mind. The medium-to-full coverage formula is designed to smooth skin and last all day without smudging.
Celebrity makeup artist and CEO of Beautyblender, Rea Ann Silva, has been in the beauty business for over 20 years—and has mastered the art of working with brown and black skin. Aside from the revolutionary beauty sponge, Silva’s company also offers a velvet-matte foundation that comes in 40 shades. Plus, the formula is infused with hyaluronic acid and white birch extract to moisturize and brighten your skin. It really does give your skin bounce.
With the help of beauty influencer Jackie Aina in 2018, Too Faced worked to create a more diverse shade range for their Born This Way Foundation. Aina, who has advocated for more inclusivity in makeup throughout her YouTube career, helped develop nine new deep, golden, and dark shades for the line (bringing the total number of shades to 35). While this foundation is medium-to-full coverage, it is essentially undetectable on the skin and blends like a dream. Infused with coconut water, hyaluronic acid, and alpine rose, the formula also works to hydrate and brighten your skin as you wear it.
Sacha Cosmetics has been creating makeup for women of color since 1979. Their Second Skin Liquid Foundation ($20) comes in 12 shades and yields a flawless, natural finish. The best part? You also don’t have to worry about looking white or ashy in photos. So, post-application, go ahead and snap as many selfies with flash as you'd like.
Mented Cosmetics founders, KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson, grew tired of black women being an afterthought in beauty, so they started their own brand. Their foundation sticks come in 16 shades and feel super lightweight on your skin. Plus, they're buildable and multi-purpose: the foundation sticks can be used as your foundation, concealer, or contour.
In the Yoruba language, Omolewa means "beautiful child." Makeup artist Irene Dele-Adejumo launched her beauty brand intending to make women of color feel beautiful inside and out. Available in 31 shades, Omolewa Cosmetics' Pro Perfect Foundation ($26) offers light-to-medium coverage—and never, ever cakes.