Makeup for Women of Color

Sick of wasting money on foundations, concealers, and powders that just don't work with your skin? It's not always easy to find makeup that complements ethnic or exotic skin tones especially since the majority of the cosmetics industry produces makeup geared towards pink and orange undertones. Stop wasting time and money and find products that really work for you! This guide is an exploration of the brands and some of their lines that do the best job of matching yellow and brown undertones.

First Things First

You've probably gone through this before; you match a shade to your skin in the drugstore and once you get home to try it on, it looks either ashy, too pink, or simply the wrong shade. What gives? Follow these sure fire tips to make sure you don't get the wrong foundation.
* Go to a department store or makeup store and have one of the saleswomen give you some help choosing a shade. They are often quite informed about the brand's variety of shades and can usually choose a color that matches your skin well. Or better yet, bring along a friend -- your buds will be brutally honest and won't pressure you into buying anything.
* Try swiping on the foundation that you choose from apple of the cheek to the jaw line. Right next to that stripe, also apply foundation one shade higher and one shade lower. Yes, it will look silly, but it's worth it to find the right color.
* Make sure you have a small compact or mirror with you and head outside to see how the makeup looks in natural light. This will give you a better idea of whether or not the color is correct and it will give you a quick idea of whether you have pink, blue, yellow, or brown undertones.
* The correct shade will be the one that seems to disappear into your skin.
* Also keep in mind that if you wear powder over the foundation you might need to retest a second time.

The Players: Foundation

What you are looking for is to find a brand that suits your budget and the right products from that brand to get the right effect on your skin. Look for oil-free foundations that provide medium to maximum coverage. If they have an SPF in them, all the better. Make sure if you have darker skin that you avoid any products that contain titanium dioxide as this ingredient can often make your skin look washed out and ashy. If you are pale, don't worry about it.

Now, what you've been waiting for: the options.
* '''Bare Escentuals'''
** Bare Escentuals can provide your skin with a very lightweight matte finish with great coverage. However, it is very important to use sufficient moisturizer before using this product.
** Amazing Cosmetics has a similar selection of mineral foundation that will give the same look, but
* '''Black Opal'''
** The True Color Creme Stick Foundation gives full coverage without looking caked on.
** The line offers a good range of shades to suit yellow, red, and brown undertones.
* '''Bobbi Brown'''
** While Bobbi Brown does have great colors and a wonderful line of products, the foundation seems to be lacking and has received a large number of poor reviews, mainly due to the fact that it dries very quickly, making it hard to blend. Try applying it with a foundation brush and you may find this to be an excellent match for your skin.
** Try the tinted moisturizer if you are looking for ultra-light coverage.
* '''Chanel'''
** Expensive, but worthwhile if you find a shade to match your skin.
** Teint Fluide Universel and Double Perfection Fluide are the top picks for oily skin.
* '''Era Face'''
** If you are looking for light coverage that goes on nearly flawlessly, Era Face Foundation is a great product to try and will give you the closest thing to an airbrushing.
** The spray application make take a few tries to master, but in the end it will give sheer, even coverage.
** Era Face also offers a wide variety of foundation shades that are very well-suited to yellow undertones.
* '''Fashion Fair'''
** For years this company has been at the forefront of the cosmetics industry for focusing on makeup for women of color.
** Their line has everyone covered and is particularly well know for their foundation, lipsticks, and eye shadows.
* '''Iman'''
** This entire line of products is praised by women of all shades, especially those with exotic skin tones, as it is formulated to match nearly every undertone.
** Cream to Powder Foundation: Offers medium to full coverage.
** Liquid Foundation: Give a soft matter glow with lightweight coverage.
** The blushes from Iman are a great choice if you've ever struggled finding a color that doesn't look fake.
** Iman also has a great makeup book that provides useful tips on application and choosing colors called The Beauty of Color.
* '''Kevyn Aucoin'''
** The line is overall very good and the foundations offer full coverage.
** Try The Sensual Skin Enhancer either as a concealer or foundation depending on how much coverage you need and/or want.
* '''Lancôme'''
** The Color ID line is formulated to adjust to your skin tone, making it a top pick for foundation for everyone.
** It gives your face a light, dewy glow that is not pasty or cakey.
** Great for those looking for light to medium coverage with any red or yellow undertones. Not great at creating maximum coverage.
* ''''L'Oreal'''
** L'Oreal True Match is a foundation made to match your skin tone no matter what shade it is.
** For the price, this is an excellent choice and is comparable to the Lancome product mentioned above.
* '''MAC'''
** Known for its high quality cosmetics, MAC has done a good job of representing women of all ethnic backgrounds with it's wide variety of foundation shades.
** Studio Fix
** Studio Finish Matte
** Select SPF 15
* '''Makeup For Ever'''
** Try the Face and Body Foundation for sheer, but buildable coverage if you have yellow undertones.
** The Mat Velvet Oil Free Foundation would be better for tan skin with brown or red undertones and oily skin.
* '''NARS'''
** The Oil Free Makeup offers a nice range of colors to suit most undertones and is non-drying but suitable for oily or combination skin.
** Expect light to medium coverage.
* '''Prescriptives'''
** Prescriptives Virtual Skin is a nice lightweight foundation that does a good job of matching skin tones, but won't do the trick if you are looking for a heavy duty concealer style foundation.
** Traceless, a tinted moisturizer, is also a great product for less coverage regardless of your skin tone.
* '''Sacha'''
** A decent line of foundations made in Trinidad and Tobago that are suited specifically for yellow and brown undertones, such as copper, bronze, tan, and caramel.
** Probably best for those with slightly dry skin as the products contain natural oils.
** Cream, cream to powder, and liquid options are all available.
* '''Shiseido'''
** The Makeup Powdery Foundation SPF 15 is well rated and comes in a wide range of shades. Plus, the fine milled pigment covers flaws without looking caked on. This is the choice for a natural amount of coverage.
** You might also try the Luminizing Brush Powder, ideal for those with red undertones.
* '''Sue Devitt'''
** Try the Triple C-weed Whipped Foundation, a product that testers verify is worthwhile for how well it matches yellow and red skin tones.
** It is one of the few products by Sue Devitt that have scored so highly across the board.
* '''Trucco'''
** Try Trucco foundations and concealers if you have yellow undertones.
** They offer liquid, crème, and powder foundations.

Colors For All Moods

Colors usually aren't as difficult to work with or to find as the right foundation. Usually the most important thing -- particularly with very dark skin -- is to find high pigment shades of shadow, liner, and blush so that they actually show up. For basic information on color, please see the guides on Eye Shadow, Blush, and Lipstick, or check out the quick picks below.
* L'Oreal HIP, the new line by L'Oreal Paris, boasts rich color in deep, magnetizing shades that are perfect for darker skin.
* Revlon Colorstay 12 Hour Eye Shadow Quads are inexpensive but come in a few great palettes for nearly all skin tones.
* Liquid Eyes by Maybelline would be great for someone with lighter skin.
* MAC Eye Shadows are some of the best mid-range color options, offered bold colors that go on smooth and leave a lasting impression.