The wider range of shades for fairer-complexioned people is staggering, but the minimal shades for anyone darker have been abysmal until recently. Though the few shades most recently added are a step in the right direction, the process of finding the perfect foundation for dark skin is no less frustrating as the actual nuances of shades people come in are not really addressed.
Assuredly the best foundations for darker skin tones are from brands designed by a person of color, who will have intimate first-hand knowledge of the gifts of issues with dark skin that darker-toned people deal with. This is not to discourage the use of major name brands that have become more aware and inclusive with the shades they are offering to the public, but sometimes a darker skin tone can be unbelievably difficult to match.
Below, find a great group of tried and true foundations for dark skin tones that could work for you – and truth be told, it’s fine to have multiple favorites, but it is always good to know the perfect one.
In this article:
- Our Picks of the Best Foundations for Dark Skin Tones
- What to Look for in the Perfect Foundation for Dark Skin?
Our Picks of the Best Foundations for Dark Skin Tones
From skin tints and stick formulas to traditional liquid foundations, find our top picks of makeup for dark skin worth trying!
1. NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint
If your choice for foundation is just a tint, the Velvet Matte Skin Tint by NARS, available through Amazon, and NARS Cosmetics, could be the perfect option for you. NARS created 12 different shades of this tinted moisturizer that feels creamy and refreshing when applied. The tint is perfectly sheer, and the application is always even, never splotchy.
2. Black Up Matifying Fluid Foundation
In 12 shades available at Sephora, this fluid foundation for dark skin tones works beautifully for normal and oily skin thanks to the matte finish it creates. The brand was designed to cater specifically to darker tones, though please be warned there was a shakeup with the brand, and the original owner was forced out.
This could mean a change in formula, name or shades in the future, but for now, Black Up is a beautiful option for darker skin if you are not bothered by the company goings on.
3. MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation
This foundation for dark skin tones comes out of the swinging with a whopping 46 shades of MAC Cosmetics’ two-in-one powder foundations. This particular formula is designed for great coverage with shine control. Though not geared specifically to address issues with darker skin, it is a comprehensive set of colors with good attention paid to the undertones. Find it at Nordstrom, and Amazon!
4. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Long Wear Foundation
Lancôme’s foundation for dark skin tones is a great full coverage liquid that creates a matte, smooth realistic finish for a ‘no makeup’ look. The formula is oil free and comes in 40 different shades. The smooth matte velvet finish is ideal and long wear assured, so it is great for oily and combination skin types. Pick up yours from Sephora, or Amazon!
5. Covergirl Queen Collection All Day Flawless All Day Foundation
The Covergirl Queen Collection was heralded as a godsend for those with a richer infusion of melanin who are rarely served by the cosmetics industry. Available on Amazon, this foundation for dark skin tones is affordable, great for oily skin because it is mattifying and provides excellent coverage without appearing cakey. The pump bottle is easy to use, and the inclusion of SPF 20 in all 14 shades is fantastic as well.
6. Black Radiance Pressed Powder
Black Radiance is a well-known brand of foundations for darker skin tones. The coverage the pressed powder provides is buildable and works beautifully for contouring as well. This pressed powder minimizes shine because it is oil-absorbing, and it evens out the complexion without building up like some powders tend to do. This pressed powder comes in 13 rich shades at Amazon.
7. Iman Cosmetics Second to None Stick Foundation
Iman Cosmetics has been an excellent option since the day Iman began, and the Second to None Foundation is no different – it’s flattering and nourishing on darker skin. This distinct stick foundation comes in 14 different colors on Amazon. The formula is designed to hydrate your skin while regulating the oil production of your skin as you are wearing it, thanks to the jojoba esters that the stick is infused with.
8. Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
Urban Decay is a top-notch brand for a lot of things, and this foundation is another credit to the brand. Though not the best foundation for oily skin types, or those who need full coverage, it is a great quick option for those who want medium coverage that camouflages light skin issues in 18 different shades available through Amazon.
9. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation
Bobbi Brown is well known as a mecca of options for richer melanin infused skin tones. With 20 different shades for this particular foundation for dark skin tones, you can rely on this liquid foundation to be beautifully smoothing while maintaining the magical luster that darker skin tones are known to have. The luminous look is in the foundation’s formula that is specifically designed to work with your skin rather than coating it and covering up your glow. Get your shade from Nordstrom, or Amazon!
10. BECCA Ever-Matte Shine Proof Foundation
BECCA has built a reliable stance providing stellar cosmetic options, and this foundation for dark skin tones is another great product that comes in 20 different shades on Sephora, and Amazon. The formula for the liquid actually contains microfine powder, giving you the best of both a liquid and a powder when you wear it. The longevity of the mattifying effect of this foundation is very good.
11. Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick
Lancôme’s Teint Idole Ultra Longwear Foundation Stick is easy to apply especially on the go. It comes in 20 different shades on Sephora, and Amazon, as well as a great design for use in hand. The coverage is buildable, going on sheer initially so you can achieve the amount of coverage that you need. The size and application style are very convenient, especially if you choose to forego a brush and apply directly to skin.
12. Make Up for Ever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation
This liquid foundation is a custom creation designed to work for darker skinned beauties with oily skin. The mattified look is most complimentary on darker skin. With this formula, the foundation is shockingly lightweight with good coverage. This foundation for dark skin tones comes in 21 different shades on Amazon, and Make Up For Ever, and is good for those with yellow undertones.
13. Marc Jacobs Beauty Re(marc)able Full Cover Foundation Concentrate
The range of colors for this full coverage foundation is fantastic, with under and overtones addressed in impeccable detail. The concentrated formula means that less is needed to create the perfect look, and 22 shade options make it a great choice. Get it from Sephora, or Amazon!
14. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Giorgio Armani has plenty of foundation options, but the Luminous Silk Foundation comes in 24 sheer shades on Nordstrom and Amazon that conceal imperfection with a light formula. The overall effect is beautiful bright skin thanks to the use of completely inconspicuous makeup.
The special formula uses a silicone-based fluid with contributive oils that are chosen because they evaporate or nourish the skin. There are many more beige shades here, but just under half of them are dedicated to golden and olive tones, and richer skin tones.
15. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick
Hourglass’s foundation stick comes in 24 amazing rich shades that provide a beautifully natural finish in an easy-to-apply stick form. The color glides on smoothly with excellent coverage in a bevy of shades that will certainly help you find the right one for your skin tone. Pick yours at Sephora, or Amazon!
16. Color FX Custom Cover Drops
The drops create a matte finish that is also radiant and works on all skin types. It is not necessarily a foundation by itself, but is designed to be mixed with your favorite liquid foundation or tinted moisturizer to become the ideal shade for your dark skin. This is basically a bottle of pigment designed to give you your dream finish, look and match. With a total of 25 different shades available through Sephora, and Amazon, it will certainly help.
17. bareMinerals Original Loose Powder Foundation with SPF 15
BareMinerals did not always have the range of shades required to work for darker and deeper toned skin, but with the addition of 12 new shades to their loose powder are much better. The skin tones offered are more comprehensive and blend in beautifully with the addition of skin-protecting SPF 15 as well. The total available shades now equal 30 with ranges that will address olive to coffee-colored skin. You can find all the shades on Sephora, and Amazon.
18. L’Oreal Paris True Match Super Blendable Makeup
This foundation for dark skin tones is well known and very affordable. The coverage of each of the 32 shades is excellent living up to its name of being superbly blendable. The application is smooth and easy, and if you need to mix it with another color, no worries, this formula can handle it beautifully. Get it from Ulta, or Amazon!
19. Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick
Bobbi Brown comes through again with a great foundation stick for dark skin tones that comes in 32 fantastic shades on Sephora, and Amazon. The formula for this foundation stick includes ingredients designed to make the most of each application and nourish your skin as well. This foundation is buildable going from sheer to full coverage easily, with shea butter and olive extract to lock in moisture for dry skin, and minerals to control oil for those with oily skin. The finish is satin smooth and beautifully natural looking.
20. Kat Von D Lock It Foundation
Kat Von D’s makeup line is beautifully and impeccably pigmented and well known for it. Her foundation for dark skin tones comes in 32 shades on Sephora, and Amazon, which in no way lack diversity. Nearly anyone can find their shade here, which is labelled with the codes mentioned earlier. This formula is full coverage and long-lasting with a perfect velvet matte finish.
21. Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation
Make Up For Ever’s Ultra HD Foundation is a great option for flawless looking skin. The range of tones provided comes to an impressive 40, and each is definitely well thought out and easy to blend. The staying power is fantastic and it does not rub off like others do, even without setting powder. Find your shade on Sephora, or Amazon!
22. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Foundation is an excellent high coverage foundation for dark skin tones that comes in 38 different shades. This foundation will work well on oily, combination or dry skin, which is fantastic. The coverage really is excellent, thanks to the formula, which also allows the longevity of wear to be fantastic. It’s available through Sephora, and Amazon.
23. MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation SPF 15
One of the best foundations for dark skin tones, this one offers good consistent coverage for 42 different shades of skin. The matte finish is great for oily skin, and the coverage is blendable and perfect for those who need a medium to full level of coverage. Get it at Nordstrom, or Amazon!
What to Look for in the Perfect Foundation for Dark Skin?
Choosing the best foundations for dark skin tones is difficult, as there are so many options available. The best have been chosen based on customer reviews, personal use and range of colors offered, as well as customizability.
If you find your shade to be difficult to match, check the options that have the highest number of shades, or that offer the best blendable customization. Those that are great for customizing are noted so, but finding a great foundation for dark skin tones is really all about your skin, your comfort level, and your preferences.
Here’s what to consider:
- Consider your skin undertone while shopping for a foundation for dark skin. As a general rule, those with cool undertones will need a cooler color, warm skin undertones look best with warm shades, while those with neutral undertones can try both.
- Overtone, a.k.a. your skin’s surface shade, is as important a factor to take into account. Generally, those with darker skin tones tend to have a lighter facial skin tone than their bodies. Try to pick a foundation color that can unify your facial and body skin tones.
- When it comes to foundation formula, liquid makeup tends to be the best bet for darker complexions, as those are more blendable, covering skin imperfections and hyperpigmentation perfectly.
- As for the finish, semi-matte is the best way to go, as it will nicely balance out your skin’s natural glow, preventing a greasy look. Glow-inducing formulas might be too much for dark skin that already reflects light quite well, while matte will end up looking cakey.
Photos via Nordstrom, Sephora