11 Beauty Brands With Foundation Shades For Women of Color

Rihanna’s cosmetic line, Fenty Beauty not only spoke to the importance of providing inclusive foundation shades but it also proved the buying power women of color have

Photo: Unsplash/@eyeforebony

Photo: Unsplash/@eyeforebony

Rihanna’s cosmetic line, Fenty Beauty not only spoke to the importance of providing inclusive foundation shades but it also proved the buying power women of color have. The line’s Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation comes in 40 gorgeous shades for every single skin tone and is constantly selling out. In fact, it’s the darker shades that tend to sell out the most both online and in Sephora stores – proving once again how important the outcry for more inclusive shade offerings is.

You’d think after Fenty Beauty set that kind of example, that other beauty brands would immediately jump on the inclusivity bandwagon, but sadly that hasn’t been the case. Earlier this year,  brands like Tarte and IT Cosmetics received a ton of backlash for releasing new foundation formulas that barely offered any shade options for women with dark or deep skin tones.

Tarte released not one, but two liquid foundation formulas at the beginning of January: Tarte’s Shape Tape Matte Foundation and Shape Tape Hydration Foundation, both inspired by the brand’s cult classic and constantly sold out Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer. In fact, the concealer is a beauty influencer fave, which is why folks lost their shit when they realized it’s new foundations didn’t cater to brown and Black women at all. They have released an apology earlier this year and have slowly started to expand their shade options.

Later that month, IT Cosmetics released their new collection of Bye Bye Foundations that came in 12 shades, offering only three for dark skin tones. It was straight up offensive and people went in on Twitter!

In August, BeautyBlender launched its first foundation and it was such a disappointment—especially to women of color. It came in 32 shades and only like a handful were for darker complexions.

Women of color have been wearing makeup for centuries now, so it’s nuts that there still aren’t enough shade options for us in 2018. And don’t get me started on the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s report that discovered products that specifically target WOC consist of more toxic ingredients like mercury, paraben, formaldehyde, phthalate, phenol than other beauty products.

Fortunately, there are brands including Fenty Beauty (which I mentioned earlier) that actually get the importance of beauty diversity – check them out!



The classic drug-store makeup brand has been on fire these days. In November, they announced that they were no longer testing their products on animals and had become “cruelty-free.” This month they introduce their new COVERGIRL’s Full Spectrum collection that features an entirely new line of products specifically catered to women of color. It includes everything from their new COVERGIRL Matte Ambition All Day Shine Free Foundation that comes in 20 shades for medium to deep skin tones, to new products for eyes and lips all formulated with rich pigments designed to compliment and pop against darker skin tones. Available now exclusively at Ulta.com and at mass-market drugstore, food and e-commerce retailers nationwide beginning February 2019. This is hands down the best beauty news we’ve heard all week!


Fenty Beauty

There’s a reason why the brand’s cult favorite Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation keeps selling out and it’s not just because it comes in 40 shades. The shades also come in a variety of tones for the girl with cool, warm, and neutral undertones – something that’s still hard to find these days. The formula itself works wonders too, leaving skin with a flawless matte finish that’s not too cake-y or drying. I’m obsessed!




I’m shocked folks don’t talk more about this phenomenal brand, whose APDG Longwear Liquid Pigments went viral last year for offering 33 shades – specifically formulated for deeper skin tones.


Bobbi Brown

The Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 not only comes in 30 extensive shades (specifically with more yellow pigments in them) but it also leaves skin with a natural-looking, dewy finish – which is the look everyone seems to be going for these days. 


Huda Beauty


Everyone has been talking about this cosmetic line ever since Huda Katan launched her Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation, which provides such amazing coverage you don’t even need to apply much.

wp_*postsMake Up For Ever


You can tell the brand recognizes the importance of inclusivity. They offer 40 shades in their Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation. The formula itself leaves skin looking dewy and flawless AF.wp_*postsNARS

Don’t underestimate this badass brand. The NARS Velvet Matte Foundation Stick only comes in 20 shades BUT half of them are specifically for medium and dark tones, each with pigments specific to undertones. The lightweight formula leaves skin with a matte and velvety finish that stays put for hours.



The brand’s mission from day one has been to provide more offerings for WOC, which is why their BlackUp Matifying Fluid Foundation comes in 18 shades specifically for women with medium, dark, and deep skin tones. This foundation was basically made with brown and Black girls in mind.



This classic was the first foundation I ever purchased – back in college when I struggled to find formulas that matched my caramel-tan complexion. The BareMinerals Original Foundation  offers 27 shades but also the option to customize and create your own shade – which is such a serious plus. Perfect for the girl who prefers mineral powder foundations but still wants a natural luminous look.


Beauty Bakerie

Photo: Beauty Bakerie

Beauty Bakerie’s Cake Mix foundation not only comes in 59 shades but they also made a point to number the darkest shades first, something that’s never been done before. Normally when you’re shopping for foundation, you’ll always notice that the order of the shade offerings always start with the lightest to the darkest. They completely reversed it and we love them for that.



Do not sleep on L’Oreal’s Truth Match Super-Blendable Makeup. This oil-free formula comes in 43 shades—many catered to warmer complexions. It’s no wonder it’s still such a cult favorite with professional makeup artists.

In this Article

beauty Foundation Makeup makeup for women of color
More on this topic