It’s hard to find a foundation that works for darker skin tones, and even harder to find one that’s right for you.
For women of color, choosing the right foundation can be a challenge. From a lack of diverse shade options to foundations that end up looking ghostly in pictures, it’s no secret that securing the right makeup can be an adventure. In addition to choosing a formula (matte or glowy) and coverage (buildable or full) that works for you, a foundation’s undertones are an extremely important factor for melanated skin. Brown skin encompasses a range of dark and light hues with warmer and cooler tones, so choosing the right tint and base shade is optimal to prevent your skin from looking pasty or orangey.
Although many makeup brands still aren’t creating colors that cater to everyone—including many notable Black-owned companies—there are some offering broader foundation ranges with excellent color payoff.
which foundation shades for dusky skin
I’ve been a fan of KVD’s Lock-It foundation for years. It’s a full-coverage formula, which means a little goes a long way—and my bank account definitely appreciates that. —Alexis Bennett, commerce writer at Vogue
Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
The only person who could tempt me away from using my go-to KVD foundation is Rihanna. Since the launch of Fenty Beauty’s Matte Pro Filter, I’ve been alternating between the two because they each give me a flawless, matte finish my skin loves. —A.B.
I love the Fenty Beauty foundation because of its long-lasting, beautiful finish and its ability to last throughout the day. It’s one of the few products that offer a shade option that matches my skin perfectly, and its expansive shade range with varying undertones makes this line incredibly appealing to women of color. I’ve worn the shade 420, which is a near perfect match, but I recently discovered that shade 410 is my absolute perfect match. —Yuki, beauty influencer
Flesh Beauty Firm Flesh Thick Foundation
My favorite foundation at the moment is Tiramisu from Flesh Beauty. I like this foundation because of its lightweight, medium coverage and natural finish. The foundation also comes in a wide range of shades for darker skin complexions with all undertones. Most foundations for darker skin complexions only include golden or red undertones, but Flesh Beauty carries both of those as well as neutral and olive undertones for darker skin complexions, which is amazing! —Cydnee Black
Too Faced Born This Way Foundation
It’s like I created a skin graft of my shade in Chai. It’s the most perfect match that I have—it’s freaking amazing. It’s just a really good, all around, everyday foundation. If I were to wear makeup every day, it would be Born This Way. —Jackie Aina, beauty influencer and entrepreneur
Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15
My favorite foundation of the moment is the Bobbi Brown Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation—the shade range is incredible. It keeps me from getting shiny but isn’t drying at all (feels like skin), and it’s easy to blend. —Shahd Batal, beauty influencer
Pat McGrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation
Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish is another one of my holy grail foundations. Since it’s created by a Black woman, it makes perfect sense that this product blends in with my skin so seamlessly. It truly is sublime, and the “chef’s kiss” of foundations for me. —J.W.
Nars Sheer Glow Foundation
I don’t remember exactly why I went looking for a new foundation a few years ago, but as soon as I found Nars I was absolutely in love. Though I use Nars Sheer Glow Foundation most frequently, I find that many of their foundations (like Nars Natural Radiant Longwear) are buildable, which allows me to use them for light or full coverage. Ultimately, the brand makes foundations that match my skin perfectly, cover my hyperpigmentation, and leave me with a dewy complexion I wish I actually had