“An inclusive beauty brand is one that considers all women in their product offerings,” says Brittney Ogike, founder and CEO of the beauty retailer Beauty Beez. “I think many companies have a one-size-fits-all mindset, and unfortunately, that excludes many women of color.” As Ogike explains, Black women can end up visiting up to three different stores in a single trip to get all of her skin care, makeup, and hair care needs met.
To remedy this, cosmetic brands must strive to offer foundations and concealers that can be matched to fair, light, medium, and dark skin tones, as well as pigments and lip shades that suit all complexions. When it comes to matching foundations to all skin tones, many brands are doing the work to expand their offered shade ranges, also taking the many different undertones into account.
Peruse your pick of fifteen inclusive foundations below — including recommendations from Ogike, Robin Black, makeup artist and content creator behind @beautyisboring, and Los Angeles-based makeup artist, Whitney Leigh.
The Black-owned brand revolutionized how you pick your perfect foundation match. First, choose between customized formulations according to skin tone, or “skin kin” as the brand calls it. After identifying your tone, identify your skin’s undertone (i.e., cool, neutral, warm) to narrow down your selection from among 51 different shades.
With the tagline, “Beauty For All,” RiRi made it a priority for her foundation to work with all skin shades. Her popular matte foundation has been joined by a hydrating version dry skin types or those seeking a “dewy” finish, each available in fifty different shades.
Smashbox offers matte-finish, full coverage foundation in 40 different shades, from very fair to very deep. The formula contains added kaolin clay to absorb shine, hyaluronic acid for hydration, and vitamin E for protection. A little bit goes a long way, so begin with just a drop of this complexion-perfecter and add more as needed.
Meet the holy grail of powder foundations, which comes in 45 shades of clean, mineral coverage. To find your perfect shade, try their Find Your Match sampler set (which comes with a discount for your full-sized match). This pigmented, loose powder pick is so good it could convert even the most loyal liquid foundation-lovers.
For a more affordable pick for skin of all shades — from fair to dark — check out Juvia’s Place, another Black-owned beauty brand. Black praises their inclusive shade range, and notes that they offer some of the “best eyeshadow pigment ever.”
Flesh is another one of Black’s picks, which offers medium coverage in 40 different shades of a vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free formula. Their liquid formula incorporates hydrating aloe, hyaluronic acid, balancing squalane oil, and pomegranate extract for a velvety finish that will last all day. “Their Firm Flesh Stick Foundation [also] has a wide variety of shades with lots of great colors for Black women,” Black shares.
Ogike recommends checking out this oil-free foundation that has been specially formulated for darker skin tones, available in 12 pore-minimizing shades. The indie cosmetics provide mattifying, light-to-medium coverage that is free of fragrance and parabens while incorporating nourishing shea butter into the tint.
This top-selling, medium-coverage foundation comes in 50 different colors. The formula includes hyaluronic spheres, blurring silica powder, and sericite to smooth the appearance of the skin.
Choose from 60 different shades of 24-hour, water-resistant, amd full-coverage pigment that is free of oils, fragrance, and parabens. The matte finish sets quickly, so apply it in moderation as you build it up gradually to your desired degree.
Leigh is a fan of this concentrated cream foundation-concealer hybrid, available in 29 shades — six of which can be mixed to custom-match your skin’s undertone. The vegan, cruelty-free brand is also Black-owned and incorporates skin-protective vitamin E into its buildable, sheer offering.
Ogike clued us into this indie company’s offerings, providing “clean beauty for the forgotten shades.” Created without talc, parabens, phthalates, sulfate, synthetic dyes or fragrance, this non-toxic, cruelty-free company offers both powder and liquid coverage for light, medium, and deep skin tones. The formula won’t clog pores and is great for oily skin types as it incorporates kaolin clay to absorb excess sebum, and calendula to soothe.
Here is a true, luxury pick from the celebrity makeup artist’s eponymous line in a paraben-free, liquid foundation that builds from sheer to medium coverage. Available in 36 shades with a natural finish, your skin will benefit from diamond core powder for radiance, high-purity pigments treated with amino acids for a creamy feel, and polymers that impart supreme smoothness.
Both Ogike and Black note that Nars is one of the O.G. brands to seek out for shades to suit all skin tones. Their shade ranges includes coverage from fair to deep, for red, yellow, neutral, olive, golden, peach, and pink undertones.
“While Dior does not have a history of being inclusive, their launch last year of the new Backstage Foundation includes 40 shades with multiple undertones,” says Black. “Peter Phillips did a great job of integrating different undertones at all levels of complexion depth.” And let’s be real: That is a great price point for a luxury brand of cosmetics.
To DIY your perfect shade, Leigh recommends picking up a palette by the professional-grade, vegan beauty brand, RCMA. You can literally concoct your perfect shade, any time of the year, when you invest in one of their four-, five-, and up to 18-shade palettes containing coverage for all skin tones.
Here is a fragrance-free and oil-free foundation that provides full-coverage with a matte finish. All 50 shades also provide SPF 15.
xx, The FabFitFun Team