Without a doubt, 2017 was the year of Fenty Beauty. Rihanna singlehandedly shook up the beauty industry when she announced her brand would be dropping 40 different foundation shades for all skin tones. Struggling to find the right foundation shade to match the intricacies of dark skin tones has been the story many women of color share throughout the years. So when a mainstream brand like Fenty Beauty decided to prioritize a curation of foundation colors for all complexions on the spectrum, it sparked a shift in the makeup industry.
Time magazine awarded Fenty with the best invention of the year for its inclusive foundation line. “It was important that every woman felt included in this brand,” Rihanna explained to Time. “We are all so different, with our own unique skin tones, so we started with the 40 foundation shades out the gate.” This revolutionary time in beauty made other brands realize that diversity is a priority, rather than an afterthought.
After Fenty, more and more mainstream brands began expanding their shade range. Fenty set the standard and other brands decided to follow suit. Although Rihanna's role in this transformational time of beauty is unrivaled, it's important to pay homage to beauty brands that have had inclusivity in their DNA since the beginning. Many of the below brands are genderless and have an outstanding amount of shades for all. Ahead are the makeup lines that are rooted in representation and deserve all the praise.
On inclusivity: AJ Crimson has been supplying women of all skin tones with richly formulated makeup for years. "I wanted to create a product inclusive of all ethnicities, a product all women could find ownership in and believe in," he writes on his website. "So often, makeup has been designed with a one-size-fits-all mentality, and with black women and women of color, my cosmetic line contains shade for women of every ethnic background and skin tone."
Match Me Perfect Kits: When you're in search of your perfect shade in AJ Crimson's best-selling Dual Skin Foundations, you can buy this sample kit of hand-poured pods of foundation shades to try first. It comes with 12 signature shades to make matching your skin tone so seamless.
On inclusivity: For the longest time, MAC has addressed the many shades of women. With a long history of inclusivity, MAC's line of Studio Fix Foundation has always had 50 shades along with 40 shades of the brand's Fluid Foundation line. "The notion that we're hitting all skin tones, and keeping in mind all skin types, has been important since the beginning," Nick Gavrelis, senior VP of global product development for MAC told Byrdie. "There are people of all skin tones living in almost every pocket of the world.
MAC is constantly refining and adding to its shade range as a result of conversations with our consumers and artist community. You can't say there is a perennial shade range forever. All ethnic backgrounds are blending and creating roots. It's evolution—not just of the brand, of humankind."
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Powder: This best-selling powder is a favorite for many because of its weightless coverage that manages to diminish imperfections. It's made with pearlized pigments that leave a natural glow on the skin.
On inclusivity: This foundation line turned into an internet sensation overnight when everyone found out the company houses 33 shades to cater to a wide variety of skin tones. What's most impressive about this line is the large selection of deep shades available, meant to work for all undertones. Debunking the beauty industry's long problem of 50 shades of beige is what this line did so successfully.
Long-Wear Liquid Foundation: These highly pigmented shades have built-in color-correcting and priming powers. It offers buildable coverage that leaves a fresh matte finish.
On inclusivity: Since 2015 Make Up For Ever has had a line of 40 foundation shades for women of all skin tones. After the release of Fenty, the line made it clear with a post on Instagram that it's always put diversity first. Make Up For Ever also makes it a point to create genderless makeup made to fit everyone's beauty needs. Many of its groundbreaking campaigns feature stunning imagery of the LGBTQ community and more to showcase diversity at its best.
Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation: This best-selling foundation has a hardworking formula that blurs imperfections and gives you that second-skin feel because of its flawless finish. Its technology is made for your skin to look poreless even under the spotlight—the perfect on-camera foundation.
On inclusivity: Nude shades are the hardest for women of color to find because of the long-time history of limited shades of beige. Mented Cosmetics founders KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson wanted to change that. "We created Mented Cosmetics because we believe every woman should be able to find herself in the world of beauty," the founders write on their website. "We know you'll love being put first—because when it comes to beauty, no one deserves to be an afterthought."
Everyday Eyeshadow Palette: This palette sold out in just eight weeks and racked up a 500-person waiting list overnight. It features an array of neutral shades with matte and shimmery textures to complement darker skin tones.
On inclusivity: Milk Makeup has always shined a light on inclusivity with outspoken and expressive branding that speaks to all genders. Millennials can't get enough of this makeup because of its brand pillars which are rooted in diversity, inclusivity, and freedom. "Our community is our inspiration, and we celebrate beauty for everyone," the brand states on the website. "Because beauty means inclusivity, our range goes from fresh-face street vibes to full-face studio looks. We see personal style and experimentation as the ultimate forms of self-expression."
Luminous Blur Stick: This vegan matte primer is constantly flying off the shelves because it has blurring microspheres that magically absorb oil and refine the look of your skin. These also help leave a luminous pearlescent finish.
On inclusivity: Becca's Champagne Pop highlighter has always been a favorite for women of color because of the way it pops against our skin tone. Recently, the brand expanded its line up to 10 shades with the release of Chocolate Geode, which is a deep warm, golden shade. This expansion meant Becca had the largest range of highlighters of any brand.
Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter: If you're looking for an ultra-beam glow, look no further. These pressed highlighters have creamy textures that melt right onto your skin giving you that lit-from-within look.
On inclusivity: I first discovered Makeup for Melanin Girls on Instagram. This social-born brand has garnered over 161,000 Instagram followers for showcasing beauty looks and products made for women of color. The brand is dedicated to making "niche" dark skin tones front and center. "Today, MFMG is a community of thousands of women that are tired of being the last two shades in a collection and hearing 'we're working on it' when yet another brand ignores the beauty needs of deeper skin tones," founder Tomi Gbeleyi writes.
I had the pleasure of meeting Gbeleyi at a Diversity in Beauty Panel in Los Angeles and fell in love with the message behind the brand.
Nude Lipstick Collection: The brand created a #NewNude, which is an inclusive line of nude lipsticks made for women with dark skin tones.
On inclusivity: I raved about this brand at my former job at Cosmopolitan.com when I found out the line carries 21 foundation shades. In an effort to make "translucent" powder truly translucent on dark skin tones, the brand makes a myriad of deep shades to work for your undertones. The line also carries cream-to-powder foundations in a wide shade range that are only $16.
KV Classic Setting Powder: This $10 setting powder will outlast the stay of your foundation without leaving a ghostly white cast on your complexion. You can choose from an array of shades to suit your skin tone.
On inclusivity: EveryHue Beauty believes that beauty truly does come in all shapes, sizes, and complexions, so the brand creates products to meet the needs of all people "while super-serving the multiethnic woman," as stated on its website.
Tinted Moisturizer: Available in warm to deep shades, this lightweight moisturizer is blended with multivitamins and SPF to protect the skin with seamless coverage.
It's important to understand that there are more brands outside of this list that stand for inclusivity. This list has expanded in recent years, but it is just a start. There's more work to be done in the beauty industry to truly foster diversity, so let's push for more brands that speak to all shades in 2018 and beyond.