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Foundations are made to enhance your skin—they’re the base of an entire makeup look. However, with so many different textures, coverage levels, and finishes available, finding the perfect foundation can be challenging. It’s even more challenging with regards to people of color, who haven't always been well represented in the world of beauty. In fact, there was a time when many foundation ranges didn't go past medium tones.
But thankfully, things have changed. Rihanna paved the way for foundation inclusivity when she launched Fenty Beauty in 2017. She pushed many brands to expand their foundation shade ranges and cater to people with darker skin tones. Over the years, more and more beauty brands have stepped up their game, and foundation options for darker skin have increased greatly.
How To Choose A Foundation For Darker Skin Tones
The best method for choosing a foundation is to start with what you know. Base it on your current formula's coverage level and shade, and work your way from there. These days, it’s easier than ever to choose your best shade, as many brands’ websites offer swatch photos and shade-matching quizzes to help you narrow down your options. Another trick is to use your undertone as a guide; when testing products at a store, swatch the foundations on your neck and jawline to figure out the best match.
With this in mind, we rounded up a list of 10 top-rated foundations with wide shade ranges to suit a variety of darker skin tones, from tan to deep. Whether you want something matte or dewy, affordable or luxurious, there's a formula on the list for every makeup preference.
How We Found The Best Foundations For Darker Skin Tones
To round up this list, we turned to the help of our data-driven algorithm. This unique tool factors in best-seller lists, editor recommendations, rave reviews, and more to find and rank the best products on the internet. Ahead, shop the 10 best foundations for darker skin tones and find your new go-to.
Next up, check out the 10 Best Bronzers For Dark Skin Tones. Opening image: @armanibeauty
September 20, 2021
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Urban Decay Cosmetics Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation
WHO’S IT FOR: If you love a lightweight foundation that feels like a second skin, this could be your new best friend. It's slightly runny and easy to layer, so you can take the coverage from light to full depending on your mood.
COMPLETE THE LOOK: Pair this with Urban Decay’s Stay Naked The Fix Powder for a longer-lasting, fuller-coverage look.
Clinique Even Better Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 15 Foundation
BEST FOR UNEVEN SKIN
WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT: This medium-coverage foundation feels incredibly lightweight on the skin, but it expertly blurs sun spots, acne scars, and more. If you struggle with an uneven skin tone, it'll be a godsend.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: This product has SPF 15 in it. We love some good sun protection.
Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Oil Free Foundation
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: With its affordable price point, light coverage, super-blendable formula, the Maybelline Fit Me foundation has been used as a dupe for tons of expensive foundations out there. It’s a cult favorite.
Fenty Beauty By Rihanna Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
BEST MATTE FINISH
WHAT IT DOES: Just as its name suggests, this light-as-a-feather foundation leaves skin with an ultra-smooth, pore-diffused, shine-free finish—no Insta filter required.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: Thanks to the climate-resistive technology that fights against sweat and humidity, this formula won't clog pores. Genius.
MAC Cosmetics MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation SPF 15
BEST FOR OILY SKIN
WHO IT'S FOR: Don’t want to spend on two kinds of foundation for that light or full coverage fix? This foundation is a foolproof one used by many professionals because of its buildable and long-lasting coverage.
ADDITIONAL THINGS TO KNOW: This is great for all skin types, but it's especially ideal for those with oily skin.
Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation
BEST FOR MATURE SKIN
WHO IT'S FOR: Starting your day early and need a foundation that’s sure to last long? This product boasts a 24-hour wear time but still feels breathable on the skin.
USER REVIEW: “I was looking for a foundation that doesn't accentuate wrinkles around my chin area. I was amazed to find that this was perfect for that. It goes on and looks very sheer and natural, but it does provide some coverage if you need it.”
Tarte Face Tape Foundation
BEST FULL COVERAGE
WHAT IT DOES: This nourishing matte foundation never looks dry on your face. It’s also transfer-proof, waterproof, and sweatproof.
COMPLETE THE LOOK: It's best paired with a cult-favorite, the Shape Tape Concealer.
Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup
BEST SHADE RANGE
WHAT IT DOES: Makeup artists rave about this formula for its compatibility with a range of skin types. It builds and blends to provide top-notch coverage for 24 hours, and it comes in over 55 inclusive shades.
WHY PEOPLE LOVE IT: This intuitive foundation works to control shiny spots without clinging to dry ones.
Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation
WHY IT MADE THE LIST: A community favorite, the Giorgio Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Foundation is quite pricey but entirely worth the splurge.
WHO’S IT FOR: Love a dewy look? This will give you amazing coverage with a beautiful glow.
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