Foundation is one of those products that is notoriously hard to shop for. Like picking out jeans or bras, the process takes time, commitment, and patience. The trial-and-error situation gets even harder when you only have a handful of choices — all of which are typically nowhere near your actual complexion shade.
Unfortunately, this is the harsh reality for women of color. There's a whole spectrum of "fair" shades on the market, while those with more melanin are left choosing between "tan" and "brown." (And don't even get us started on "one shade fits all.")
But in 2019, makeup brands are finally getting the memo. We need more shades! It seems like every other day a brand is launching a new foundation range or adding more shades to an existing lineup. "Many brands are offering shade extensions catering to a much wider range of skin tones and complexions," says makeup artist Jennifer Fleming. "As the world continues to become more blended, there will always be work to do."
Bobbi Brown, CoverGirl, and Dior are all advertising their 40-plus shade counts — it's what we like to call the Fenty Effect. But if it means we can walk into a Sephora and have options, we don't care who started the frenzy. We're just happy that diversity has finally hit the foundation counter in a meaningful way.
Ahead, get some of those best offerings — which includes a 2019 Beauty Innovator Award winner — along with foundation-picking wisdom from the pros and their go-to brands for women of color.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission. Check out the rest of the 2019 Beauty Innovator Award winners.