Buying a foundation that suits the skin is hard. For women of color, it is a lot harder!  If you are one of the millions of women who, after spending hours scouring Sephora, Ulta or any other store for the right foundation, still come home empty-handed, I know exactly how you feel.

For years, this has been the case for me, and I know a lot of women out there are going through the same thing.  I waited expectantly for my favorite brands to come out with foundation shades that suit women of color but the wait has been extended and frustrating.

Sure, some brands do offer deeper shades, but the choices are often limited. And if companies did come out with darker shades, the undertones are all wrong. They are either too ashy, too orange, or too red!

Let’s face it, women of color have been left out and let down too many times by the beauty industry.  Inclusivity is all good and right, but it took a black pop superstar to make things right and highlight this long-standing problem.

Why aren’t beauty brands making deep foundations shade for women of color? Why is it so hard for drugstore or budget beauty brands to offer deeper foundation shades when the market is ready for it? Why is it that the pricier the foundation is, the fewer color options it has?

We may never know.

Statistics show that African-Americans have a buying power of $1 trillion; much of the money was spent on beauty. A 2009 Essence report revealed that black women spend about $7.5 billion on beauty products per year. Women of color spend 80% more money on makeup and “twice as much on skin care than the general market.”

And yet, mainstream brands seem to carry only four shades of foundation – usually light to tan. But this doesn’t stop these brands from using black models to sell their products.

L’Oréal was one of the first beauty brands to open its doors to its black consumers. In 2013, the brand embraced diversity by launching “Women of Color Lab,” a project aimed at producing foundation shades for women of color. Since catering to a diverse market, the brand has grown exponentially. Other brands, such as Estée Lauder, CoverGirl, and Lancôme followed suit.

I do know some shades that could work for women with darker skin tones. I have spent a lot of time experimenting with different foundation shades and it’s great that there are a few standout brands in my opinion.

For my brown and black sisters out there who are still combing through aisle after aisle looking for the perfect foundation in different stores, here are my top foundation picks (and some shade recommendations) for women of color:

  • L'Oreal Infallible Pro Matte in the shade 111 Soft Sable
  • Lancôme Teint Idole in the shade 460 Suede W
  • Maybelline Fit Me Matte Poreless in the shade 355 Coconut
  • Black Opal True Color Perfecting Foundation in the shade Beautiful Bronze
  • Lancôme Miracle Cushion Foundation in the shade 500 Suede
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation in the shade 9.75
  • Too Faced Born This Way Foundation in the shade Mocha
  • Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Foundation in the shade 420
  • Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in the shade Walnut
  • Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue in the shade Sienna 10

My top foundation picks for women of color is still growing because more and more brands are coming out with deeper shades so I will update the list. I’m quite particular when it comes to the formula and the ingredients so you can bet, my top foundation picks for women of color are tried and tested.

In the meantime, what’s your take on the issue? Hop over to the comment section, I’d love to know your thoughts!