How To Choose The Perfect Foundation For Darker Skin Tones

The simplest tips for finding your dream foundation.

There are more foundations shades for darker skin tones, so why is it STILL hard to find the right one? Beauty Expert Shobana Lakkavally is going to make sure you have everything you need to pull off that flawless look.


Tip #1: Don’t Assume You’re Just One Colour

Our complexion is actually made up of multiple shades! Using a couple of different shades can help you achieve a more polished foundation. Some foundations come in as many as 50 different shades, like Fenty’s Pro Filter Soft Matte Powder Foundation.

One way you can do this is by colour-matching both the lighter part of your face and the shadows of your face. Highlights are often found in the centre of the face, while shadows exist around the jaw, neck and forehead. Bring the darker colour in to meet the lighter color and blend until it looks natural. Using this “inside-outside” technique, you can brighten and contour your face with only foundation!


Shobana’s Tip: Start your color matching journey with a brand that has large range of colours to help you navigate like M.A.C., Fenty, Maybelline Fit Me, CoverFx, MakeupForever, Estee Lauder, Huda Beauty


Tip #2: Colour Correctors Are A Myth!

You can avoid the unnecessary cost of a colour corrector by using a concealer with a peach or orange undertone. These colours help to both conceal AND neutralize under eye circles and pigmentation. If you have more of a golden, olive or neutral skin colour like many South Asian women, try for concealers with golden or yellow undertones. NARS Creamy Concealers have the perfect tones for this, like Biscuit, Caramel and Hazelnut.



Shobana’s Tip: Look for terms like golden, peach, orange and yellow under tones and avoid terms like beige and pink


Tip #3: Brighten Up!

Getting a nice “glow from within” look can come down to using brightening setting powders. Using setting powders with peach and yellow pigments can go a long way to giving you glowing and vibrant skin. MAC’s “Soft Focus” and “Conceal and Correct” products and Laura Mercier’s setting powders are made specifically to cater to multiple skin tones, and can provide that lovely radiant look.


Shobana’s Tip: For a brightening effect that will counteract darkness and brighten your under-eye area, select a color 1-2 shades lighter than your skintone.


Tip #4: Counter Ashiness

It’s easy for makeup to look cakey and heavy, especially on darker skinned people. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to counter this foundation fiasco. For instance, use highlighters that are gold, champagne or bronze instead of silver or pink to complement and enhance a dark complexion. Another good trick is to avoid blushes that are dull or unsaturated, as they may barely show up. Instead, use bright blushes, like Fenty’s “Strawberry Drip” to add a bit of pop to your cheeks.

Pile of grey ash, dirt, sand, dust cloud, death remains background


Shobana’s Tip: The best colours for melanin rich skin are pinks, fuchsias, corals, oranges, terracottas and reds.


Tip #5: Use Bronzer To Contour

This tip works for everyone, but is particularly useful for darker skin. Instead of the traditional method, use a lighter shade or a bronzer underneath where you would contour, creating a shadow with your actual skin. Consider it reverse contouring! What’s great about this method is that it creates a softer contour which is easier to apply than a traditional one. The beauty industry is still catching up, but some products, like Fenty’s Beauty Sun Stalker are perfect for skin with more melanin in it.


Shobana’s Tip: Matte bronzers are best for contouring.


Hopefully these tips will help you FINALLY find a foundation routine that makes you look and feel fabulous! With more women of colour making their voices heard in the beauty sphere, hopefully we can change the narrative and approach to makeup for darker skin women.

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