The Best Foundation & Concealer Picks for Women of Color
Real life recommendations from a few of our industry friends.
Here's a little experiment for the next time you find yourself at a drugstore (ed note: results may vary from city to city): walk through the beauty aisle and stop at any beauty brand's display. Look at the foundation and concealer shades. More specifically, look at the range of shades. Or, most likely, the lack thereof.
It's not exactly a secret that women of color are exceedingly underserved in the accessible-beauty department. While we all wait on beauty brands to play catch up, we thought, in the meantime, we'd ask a few of our favorite stylists, editors and the like to crack open their beauty bags and let us in on a few of their favorite foundations, tinted moisturizers and concealers for darker skin tones.
Senior Fashion Market Editor, Cosmopolitan Magazine
"It's so hard for me to find the shade of concealer and foundation that matches my skin tone. I have a red undertone, which is common for women of color, so you would think it would be easy for me to find a semi-perfect match! My solution to this started with me experimenting with colors; so now I mix all of my concealer and foundation to get the perfect match. I live by Kevyn Aucoin's concealer. A little bit goes a long way, which I love. I mix an SX12 and an SX13 (more of the SX13) to get the perfect shade for my skin. For concealer, I use Dior Nude Air mixed with BareMinerals."
"M.A.C and Bobbi Brown are the best for all shades, especially a wider variety of browns. I use MAC Matchmaster Foundation in shade 8.0 and apply very lightly. It can be heavy if a lot is applied, but it has great, long-lasting coverage.
“Urban Decay's Naked Skin concealer in the shade Dark/Neutral is weightless and is great for highlighting. I use a makeup-setting spray, Urban Decay's Deslick, because I have oily skin. It helps the makeup set and lets you use less powder throughout the day.
“Another thing—I carry Milk Makeup's Roll and Blot papers. They absorb oil without removing too much makeup, and they can also be used as rolling papers."
Felicia Walker Benson
Editor-in-Chief, This That Beauty
"I'm hesitant to quote the old Virginia Slims ad (because I despise cigarettes), but when I survey the current foundation landscape for women of color, I can’t help but think “You’ve come a long way, baby.” And that’s not to say that beauty brands have achieved dark-foundation success, but I must admit, the options have improved considerably over the past 10 years. Most women can walk into a local beauty-supply store, major drugstore chain or mass retailer and find her perfect shade. If she’s comfortable shopping online and open to buy-before-you-try, even more options are available. Here are a few of my favorites.
“Best shade range with various textures to choose:
Clinique, Estée Lauder, Nars, Laura Mercier, Lancôme
“OG status (brands that have been catering to women of color for a long time):
Becca, Cover FX, Make Up For Ever, Black Up, Bobbi Brown
LA Girl, Ruby Kisses by Kiss, NYX Cosmetics
“New kids on the block:
Kat Von D, The Estée Edit, Charlotte Tilbury, Marc Jacobs Beauty
Sleek Makeup, Koh Gen Doh, Jay Manuel Beauty
Dior, Giorgio Armani, Tom Ford
Iman, Shea Moisture, Milani"