If you have one beauty problem right now I bet I know what that problem is.
- It’s not finding the perfect dress. You’ve got that covered.
- It’s not finding the perfect florist, that’s easy.
- Hell, it’s not even finding the perfect man (or woman)! You kissed a lot of toads before you found the right one!
It’s finding the perfect shade of foundation. And trust me, finding the right foundation is a lot like finding the perfect partner.
The Science of Color Matching
The hardest part about finding a makeup shade for women of color really comes from understanding these three things:
- Your skin type
- The undertone of your skin
- The texture of your skin
I am going to try to explain this as if we are all in 3rd grade.
Remember that time you bought a foundation, only to look in the mirror an hour or so later only to see that your face looked so much darker than your neck?
Oxidation is what happens to your foundation when it mixes with the oils on your skin. It happens to everyone…but oilier skin tones tend to oxidize a foundation much more.
If you tend to be on the oilier side, you may have more of an issue with oxidizing foundations than with drier skin tones. So if this sounds like you, buy a foundation slightly lighter than you think.
If you tend to be on the drier side, get as close as you can right out of the bottle.
We will talk about color matching in a moment.
Most women of color lean towards the yellow undertones or red undertones.
Look in the mirror or take a photo outside on a bright sunny day.
Do you see more red undertones to your skin or yellow?
When you start shopping for a foundation, the undertone is crucial in finding the right shade.
Texture of Your Skin
If you have never exfoliated a day in your life (that’s another post for another day), this is the one thing I like to tell my women of color to do.
As a licensed esthetician, I am so passionate about my canvas on which I apply my makeup. Even more so for my darker skin tone ladies.
Skin that hasn’t been exfoliated can sometimes look ashy. I may be a white gal, but I hate looking ashy! That’s not a good look on anyone!
When skin isn’t exfoliated it can cast a “grayish” look to the skin so foundation color can’t read properly and it can’t adhere or “stick” to the skin properly as well.
One of my favorite exfoliants for women of color are these handy little guys:
Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer
Man, are they addictive. So easy to use and great to use after you get out of the shower and before you apply your moisturizer.
These Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer pads will remove all the surface dead skin and allow the radiance of your skin to shine through. Your foundation will look so much better after and will give your skin a natural, healthy glow.
Artist Tip: Try these pads on the back of your neck and behind your ears.
After you see what comes off, you will hear your mom’s voice in the back of your head saying, “I told you to wash behind your ears!”
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
How to Color Match Foundation:
What you need:
- Natural light
The best way to try foundation is to do a small patch test on the sides of your face, near your neck and jawline and forehead.
Apply foundation in with your fingers and rub it in.
Wait for 5 minutes and then look in the mirror.
After 5 minutes your foundation blends in seamlessly in those areas of your face, you have found your perfect match.
If not keep looking for one until one looks very close to your skin tone after 5 minutes or more on the skin.
Sometimes, however, you may need 2 foundations for your skin. If so, find a match.
Here are some of my favorite brands for you to start your journey:
L’Oreal True Match
L’Oreal True Match has been one of my favorite foundations for gals who don’t want to spend a lot for foundation.
With 33 shades and undertones from Cool (C), Neutral (N) and Warm (W), you shouldn’t have any problem finding your “true match.” (Sorry. I couldn’t resist.)
Black Opal Foundation Stick
Black Opal, this brand has been around forever, but sometimes hard to find. I actually really like this brand to be honest.
Decent price point and their foundation stick is super easy to use.
The texture blends out nicely, undertones are on the mark and pigment is rich. The product is build-able but you can be sheer it out if needed.
Mary Kay Cosmetics
Yea. I don’t get a lot of nods from my pro friends when I recommend Mary Kay, but I gotta be honest. Their Medium Coverage Foundation has a HUGE range of darker colors and the texture is nice for most skin tones. I once signed up to be a Mary Kay rep because I loved this foundation so much!
Department Store Brands
For those of you over 30, and especially those of you over 40, this is where I tell most of my clients to spend the bulk of their makeup budget.
Think of your foundation as your little black dress. Depending on the health of your skin, textures and formulas do get better in the mid to higher price point range so if budget is a concern, go for the better foundation and go inexpensive with lip products and mascaras.
Becca, in my professional opinion, has one of the nicest line ups of textures and formulas for darker skin tones.
Depending on your skin, choose a FORMULA FIRST (texture that goes best with your skin tone) THEN choose your foundation color. Becca even has a handy little chart on their website to make finding a formula super easy.
Bobbi Brown Stick Foundations
Bobbi Brown just redid her world famous stick foundations and I find them to have very solid undertones. They start out with a clear base instead of a white one, so your skin really shines through but still looks natural.
Mac Cosmetics has some great textures and formula’s and the undertones are pretty solid.
Fashion Fair has been around since I have been a professional makeup artist. I find these foundations have improved since Sam Fine has been helping to refine the brand. I really like how they have the new “True Fix” foundation that will allow you to see the undertone. You know Mr. Fine had to be behind that move. He’s smart like that.
Iman has some nice formulas and textures to suit a lot of skin tones. Her price point is mid range and her undertones seem to be on the neutral side.
I hope this helps you find the perfect foundation for your beautiful dark skin tones. Please leave a comment below and let me know how you find the perfect shade of foundation.