As a makeup lover, and a bit of a boujie beauty guru, I don’t care for drug store foundations. Primarily because I cannot try before I buy, the undertones are usually too extreme, and I often need at least two colors to get a perfect match. Why spend $20 on foundations that are just OK, when I can get all that I want, with the staying power to outlast a monsoon, for $40 or a bit more? I don’t mind investing in quality. I’ve found that my product lasts longer, because I only need a few drops for great coverage. I’m a medium dark complected WOC, with oily skin, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, and an active lifestyle. I need for my makeup to outlast me! So I’ve been on a mission to find the perfect foundation, and along the way, I’ve come across some amazing ones I’d like to share with you. The following are my top 10 high end foundations for women of color.
Lancome Miracle Cushion ($46.50) – The Korean beauty trend has hit American soil and Lancome is leading the pack with this super lightweight, sheer to full coverage foundation. When I tell you it feels like you’re wearing nothing….listen…I was sold off of my first demo. The cushion comes with its own face pad, which works amazingly well. You can also apply it with a beauty blender for a similar effect. It is suggested that you pat this foundation into your skin, rather than buffing it in with a brush. The finish is satin and long wearing. The formula is oil free and is comparable to a BB or CC cream with a buildable coverage. You can customize the coverage to your needs by tapping the cushion gently or with a bit more pressure. The compact is portable as well for easy touch ups throughout the day. I am 450 in the Fall/Winter and 500 in the Spring/Summer. There is one shade deeper than my darkest shade.
Smashbox Studio Skin ($42) – This 15 hour hydrating foundation dries to a matte finish and lasts all day! You can get through the longest of work days and still look flawless. The formula is oil free, so no worries about clogging your pores or causing breakouts. The formula is thick and dries quickly, so you must work fast or spray your brush/beauty blender with MAC Fix+ for maximum blendability. I’m number 4.1 Deep Brown in this foundation, which is the second to darkest shade.
Kat Von D Lock It ($35) – Very affordable on the high end foundation price spectrum. Kat Von D’s Lock It series is all about staying power. And the range is great, with cool and warm tones in all shades. Just to give you an idea, I’m 3rd from the darkest shade available (Deep 71). These foundations are highly pigmented, which means full coverage, and have a 24 hour transfer resistant wear. Perfect for the woman who beats the sunrise and outlasts the moon with her daily activities. This makeup will even work through sweating it out at the gym!
Make Up For Ever Ultra HD ($43) – MUFE has long been a great brand for WOC. They were the first brand I used when I started wearing makeup, and even back then I was nowhere near the darkest shade. I love how their range has grown, especially for their HD line. The previous formula was not up to standard, and the range was unimpressive. Today is a new day and the Ultra HD Invisible Cover is LIFE in a bottle. I’m shade Praline Y455, which is a whopping 7th from the darkest shade! We’re talking warm and cool tones, with exact undertone matches. I am tempted to buy this foundation for both Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer, as my skin tone changes based on my sun exposure. The skin like, satin finish is perfect for every skin type. The formula is highly pigmented and buildable from medium to full coverage. I’m recommending this for my 90% cacao girls especially, as this shade range is phenomenal!
Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion ($64) – One of the most skin like finishes that blurs imperfections, covers every flaw, dries to a matte finish, and outlasts Euro style double cheek kisses! I cannot say enough wonderful things about this foundation. For those of you who are dry, a moisturizer before application, or a hydrating primer, will make this work for you. You can also try the Luminous version, if you have normal to dry skin. This is your “no makeup” look foundation that nourishes and protects your skin (SPF15) while leaving it looking flawless. I’m number 10 in this foundation, which is 3rd from the darkest shade.
Marc Jacobs Re(Marc)able ($55) – This full coverage, highly pigmented, foundation only requires 2-3 drops in order to complete your face! The range is fantastic, much improved over the previous release. My skin match is 82 Coco Light, which is third from the darkest shade available. The formula is oily skin type friendly as well. The finish is luminous, but not overly dewy. For the best results, use with a mattifying primer, if you’re oily.
NARS All Day Luminous ($48) – One of the most varied skin tone ranges on the market, NARS is giving the ultimate in radiance and coverage. It takes about 3-4 drops to give me full coverage, but someone with less problem skin would be able to use 1-2 drops. This foundation goes a very long way because it is highly pigmented. It can withstand humidity and last up to 16 hours! This foundation also helps to improve the look of skin after 4 weeks, which means you’ll need less product over time. My shade is New Guinea, the 5th to darkest shade. Pair it with the Creamy Radiance Concealers for a beautiful healthy glow.
Dolce & Gabbana Perfect Matte ($65) – Available in both liquid and powder form, this foundation is designed to self correct imperfections, while providing a soft matte finish. The shade range goes pretty deep, but not as deep as MUFE for example. I am the second to darkest shade, 170 Golden Honey, as my undertones are warm. The finish is matte, but there is a luminous version, for those with dry or combination skin. Also there’s a powder compact for touch ups on the go. The coverage is buildable and feels light weight on the skin. It boasts 12 hour wear and SPF20. It’s also fragrance free, for those with sensitive skin.
Dior Nude Air Serum ($53) – This serum based foundation is a unique formula which gives your skin the appearance of flawless perfection. It’s as if you have nothing on. As you apply it, you see all of your discoloration, redness, acne scars, and hyperpigmentation disappear. It doesn’t leave a cakey feeling, because of the formula, and it wears beautifully all day. The finish is radiant/luminous, so for my oily girls, a setting powder is recommended. This foundation works best on dry – normal skin types, but combination to oily women can wear it in cooler weather with a mattifying primer. The skin match was perfection for me. I’m Dark Beige, which is the second to darkest shade.
Tom Ford Traceless ($80) – Now look, I know, WTF is with this price? Hear me out though. For the woman who loves to not only splurge on great quality, but look as if she woke up like this, Tom Ford. That is all. The traceless line comes with three different levels of coverage, sheer, medium, and full. You can find several tones great for WOC. I am Warm Chestnut in the full coverage stick version, which is the second to darkest shade. In the sheer and medium coverage version, my tone is called Warm Almond. Depending on the coverage you need, this foundation will deliver. The finish is satin/skin like, and contains SPF15.
If you’re going to invest in any part of your makeup, my highest recommendation is primer and foundation. Everything else can be a financial compromise. If you do find something that works for you, that is affordable, awesome! But if you wish to splurge, I recommend the top ten I listed above. They are exceptional foundations, and I have tried all of them! You can visit your local Macy’s, Nordstrom, or Sephora to sample these foundations before committing to them. For the Lancome Miracle Cushion, it is not possible to get a sample, because of the way the product is packaged. Sephora does, however, have a generous return policy. Many of these brands have a great range of skin tones, some more than others, but I do hope that you will feel inspired to try them out for yourself and see which works best for you. Happy shopping, beauties. xoxo
To get more makup tips, reviews, and tutorials, please subscribe to my YouTube Channel. Ciao ❤