Best Beauty Brands For Diverse Skin Tones
This is how you do it.
Back in September, Rihanna pretty much single-handedly redefined expectations for the beauty industry with her super inclusive, highly diverse Fenty Beauty makeup line.
40 different foundation shades, products specifically designed with a spectrum of skintones in mind, and a mixed model line up for the ad campaigns? Yep, that’s how you do it.
Before we talk all things makeup, it's about time we meet the Geordie Shore parents, dontcha think?
It’s taken a hell of a long time and a whole lot of colour match struggles for women of colour, but the makeup world is finally starting to understand what’s expected when it comes to upholding standards of real diversity.
Catering with shades of cosmetics to suit everyone, FINALLY ditching the lack of choice and saying goodbye to the ridiculous concept of a one-colour-fits-all ‘dark’ shade, these are the brands who do not only do diversity best, but create genuinely excellent products for a variety of skin tones.
1. Fenty Beauty
It goes without saying that Fenty Beauty needs a shoutout when it comes to diverse brands. It's set the bar with 40 inclusive shades of foundation ranging from alabaster pale 100 to deepest dark 490, and RiRi’s catered like a queen and the proof is in the purchases.
All of Fenty’s foundation shades have been constantly flying off the shelves since it first launched, but you'll also find contour shades that cater to all colours, highlighters designed for dark skin, and the perfect shade of lipgloss for any complexion.
2. Make Up For Ever
Shall we mention that awks moment when MUFE tried to come for Fenty Beauty with an Insta caption saying: "40 shades is nothing new to us?" and she replied saying they were "still ashy"? Nah, let's not mention that.
Anyway, Make Up For Ever has been proud to call itself one of the most inclusive brands in the industry for ages now, boasting an impressive 42 shades of full coverage with a flawless finish foundation and an airbrush effect.
3. HUDA Beauty
After years in the making and some patient foot-tapping from beauty obsessors, Instagram icon Huda Kattan finally dropped her highly anticipated #FauxFilter Foundation in October, boasting a water-resistant matte finish and hella coverage.
Not only does it stay firmly in place, but HUDA Beauty's foundation range also expands across a spectrum of 30 shades with even more to follow. 2017 has been a BIG year for beauty inclusivity, and we're here for it.
4. Cover FX
Shade range has long been a priority for Cover FX too, just about matching up to RiRi's epic efforts with their 40 shades on offer and split by all-important undertone across all of their foundation lines. Yas.
As an extra bonus, the brand has also created 25 color versions of its Custom Cover Drops—pure pigment that can be combined with other foundations, moisturizers or primers to mix the perfect, unique colour for yourself.
It's now becoming a must for brands to at least offer a foundation range to suit all skin tones, but most tend to back down again on the diversity effort when you get to the next step - concealer.
But nuh-uh honey, not NARS. While you'll usually only get a handful of options for concealer, the beauty blogger fave brand offers a pretty decent 16/17 colour shade range in each of their concealer formulas too.
The words 'drugstore' and 'diverse' don't exactly go hand in hand. In fact, thanks to some sneaky cost cutting tecniques from the business world, we challenge you to find a budget brand that really does cater to anything other than white skin.
One of the only affordable options getting it spot on is Maybelline with their Fit Me range. There's 40 shades of foundation to pick from with a healthy looking glow that targets shine and minimises the appearance of pores, too. Result.
7. Iman Cosmetics
Iman Cosmetics was literally BUILT on the idea of inclusivitiy and, created by supermodel Iman, focuses on covering an extensive range of darker shades rather than the lighter ones as most brands do.
Iman has got you covered with products specifically designed for African American, Asian, Latina and multi-cultural men and women, offering ideal foundation shades as well as powders, bronzers, eye shadows and lipsticks all made with dark skin in mind.
8. MAC Cosmetics
An oldie but a goodie, MAC has always has your back when it comes to catering to diversity and have long been a go to choice for women of colour. They're one of the OG shade-inclusive companies.
MAC currently sells 18 foundation formulas - one of which is available in 48 shades - while its powder blush comes in an insane 42 different colors, and you can grab the classic lipstick in 230 shades. YES REALLY, 230.
9. Bobbi Brown
A gorgeous, go-to choice for tons of women of colour, Bobbi Brown's Skin Foundation Stick comes in a 31-shade-friendly, super wearable, non-ashy and nourishing formula that seriously works wonders.
You'll also find a dreamy lipstick range that offers perfect nude options that won’t wash out darker skin, as well as tons of blushes that are dark enough to make an impact on deeper tones.
APDG isn't a new brand, but recently went beyond viral and got the recognition it deserves for its killer face product range. Instead of the usual 17 shades of peach and 3 shades of almost brown, you'll find a full white to black spectrum across 33.
The truly woke brand also offers sampler packs of their pigment, so you can choose your range of 8 mini samples to try and test at home in different lighting before committing to the full size perfect match. GENIUS.
Lancome has represented diversity well for years. Lupita Nyong'o became the brand's first ever black ambassador in 2014 and the face of their iconic, 40 shade wide Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation a year later.
Not only is it totally transfer resistent, but it also uses some very fancy color-true NAI pigments which control the PH level of your skin to leave your foundation looking flawless all day. Science.
12. Colour Pop
Schooling SO many older brands in how it's done, Colour Pop might be new on the scene but they've been setting the bar high by offering inclusive swatches on both light and dark skin since day one.
Expect to find models of all races and ethnicities on their website and social media, along with affordable, effective concealers that range from super fair to deep dark. Slay.
Words by Lucy Wood