Fenty Beauty‘s arrival to the makeup industry was not a delicate one, and no one expected it to be. With an inclusive array of 40 different shades in varying undertones to her Fenty Beauty foundation arsenal, Rihanna stepped into an industry that, for many decades, has slighted the interests of People of Colour (PoC). It has never been said outright, but the adage ‘fairer is better’ has always left those with complexions darker than latte little recourse for foundation collections that even had products to match their skin tone.
Fenty Beauty became globally applauded for its inclusivity. As stars like Gabourey Sidibe, Daniel Kaluuya, and Chanel Iman have come forward to voice support for the brand, the makeup industry has stepped up its game to compensate for the lack it propagated, by expanding its foundation shade ranges. Recently, Estee Lauder came out with their new Double Wear range with 40+ shades with Diana Penty heading the campaign.
Beauty is for everybody, therefore no one should be denied access to avenues that enhance that beauty. Brands with wide foundation shades should not be an exception, but a norm. While the makeup industry still has miles to go, fortunately, there are a number of brands that stand true to the banner of inclusivity by providing more than three foundation hues that are some notches up from ivory.
Here is a handful of makeup brands that advocate the reality that one’s “normal” skin tone is not beige, has never been, and are willing to disprove that false ideal.
Skin does not exist in variations of shades, but undertones as well, whether cool, warm, or neutral. While many beauty brands have got that distinction in the bag, the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation has gone to the next level by catering to the nuances in undertones. Are you more yellow, or red? Olive, or grey? Whatever it may be, there is a Fenty shade for you. Other than its universality, its formula is also excellent — long-lasting, crease-free and suitable for all complexion types.
Total number of shades: 40
Depending on which foundation formula you choose, Nars does have a rather diverse selection of shades for you to wear. Its Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation, which also happens to be the bestseller, is also its most extensive array, with 33 different tones.
Total number of shades: 12 to 33
As a beauty brand, Hourglass is the brand to go to if you love simple, fuss-free makeup that amplifies your natural features. Its most popular foundation, the Vanishing Stick, is a weightless, buildable and high-coverage formula that extends to 32 different shades, from peachy pale to the deepest, richest brown.
Total number of shades: 32
Bobbi Brown is beloved by makeup artists, thanks to its stream of base products that are fairly representative of the skin tone spectrum. On the consumer end, Bobbi Brown is the ideal brand for consumers with oily skin, as many of its formulations provide flawless but matte finishes.
Total number of shades: 31
Estée Lauder has offered a wide array of foundation shades, albeit for a slightly more affluent and mature market. Its sizeable spectrum of shades applies not only just to its well-loved Double Wear Foundation, but also to its concealers, cushion foundation, and other base products.
Total number of shades: 40+
Not only does CoverFX have 41 shades in its foundation arsenal, it also has its Custom Cover Drops, a mixing liquid in numerous tones to help customise an existing foundation, moisturiser or concealer to your liking. This revolutionary product is a saviour for those with in-between skin tones neglected by regular foundation ranges.
Total number of shades: 41
When Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation came into the beauty scene in 2015, it became a fast favourite for many with combination or oily skin. The brand has since adopted its ample shade range to an upcoming product, the Shameless Youthful-Look 24H Foundation with SPF25, for those who need their foundation with a bit of sun protection.
Total number of shades: 29
M.A.C is the grand dame of inclusive beauty. Before having an extensive foundation shade range became the norm, M.A.C already had 60 hues on its shelves across all its products, be it the cult Face and Body, the Pro Longwear and beyond.
Total number of shades: 60
Make Up For Ever is renowned for making pro-grade makeup accessible to the masses, and its foundations, especially, have been a big selling point for the brand. One product that has a legion of fans is the Ultra HD foundation, which guarantees high pigmentation to conceal any flaws, with an invisible finish.
Total number of shades: 27
Tarte has a wide array of foundations to its name, ranging from the hydrating Water Foundation to the high-coverage Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage classic. Each of these have shade options that range from 20-odd to a whopping 40, so if Tarte is your brand of choice, you can trust that they’ve got your colour in the bank.
Total number of shades: 40
Instagram influencer Huda Kattan’s namesake beauty brand may have broken into our local market a little over a year ago, but Huda Beauty remains a welcome burst of inclusive shade options for people who seek really high coverage foundations. Her #FauxFilter line has a formula that has gone viral time again for its serious ability to cover one’s blemishes and totals 30 different hues that range from ultra-light to ultra-rich. What’s exceptional is that her foundation also caters to different undertones beyond pink and yellow. You’ll be able to find one that suits you if your skin veers neutral, pink, red, peach or gold.
Total number of shades: 30
Pat McGrath‘s Skin Fetish foundation is a barely-there wonder that still delivers high-coverage, all-day wear without having to set it with powder. With 36 shades in the mix, McGrath has split her collection into five undertones — light, light-medium, medium, medium-deep and deep — making swatching and selection easier.
Total number of shades: 36
Too Faced has long been revered for its Born This Way foundation, enriched with hydrating coconut water and a satin finish that looks like skin. They have an enhanced shade range spanning 35 tones, and an equally-beloved concealer with the same amount of hues to match.
Total number of shades: 35