Home For Brown Skin african american All Shades of Brown: Campaign for Natural Skin Tone Colors

I think I should start a campaign that asks makeup companies to create a more diverse palette of foundation and face powder colors for black women who are are the darker side.  I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a makeup like that had only 1-2 shades that fall in the dark brown category.  I’m so tired of seeing sisters who look like they are wearing a mask that is 2-3 shades lighter than their skin tone (chalky and sometime orange).

What do you think?  Would you be willing to write and email, tweet, letter, etc for this effort?

Um…I might need to throw in a request or two for more pigment in eyeshadows as well as eye shadow primer made for black women.  Some of the best primer out there is beige, and that doesn’t work as well as it could for brown girls.

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20 replies to this post
  1. I’m not big on makeup, but I think Fashion Fair, Queen’s CoverGirl line and Iman’s line have this covered. I’ve been wearing Iman’s line since high school. I don’t wear foundation. I think using cocoa butter on your face will smooth it out and give you the look that all of these foundations will do. True story. At Chicago’s Black Women’s Expo, a Fashion Fair makeup artist told me flat out, “You don’t need foundation at all.” I tell people all the time try cocoa butter first, everything else second. Just my opinion. Second choice, Iman! :-)

  2. I do not wear make-up either but i think shamontiel has missed the point – as black women she shouldn’t be limited to two make up brands or using cocoa butter. Regardless of skin tone (very light to very dark) we should have all brands and make up products availble to us that white women do – for one reason – why not?

  3. I wear makeup about 10% of the time, not a big number at all. But I would write about the lack of options for use dark skin tones. I think we are stuck with Imani, or Queen, or NC50, NW45 MAC (i believe). Its very fustrating to say the least. I think if it weren’t so hard to find foundation without looking ashy or uneven i would wear it more.

  4. London Chick,

    I didn’t miss the point. I was stating that Iman has quite a few colors covered. Queen with Cover Girl does as well. Or better yet, just be happy with what you were born with and cut out all the makeup. *shrug*

  5. And that’s why I’m here!!! I’m working on a line of cosmetics for women of color. My goal is to mainly pick up where the other cosmetics companies leave off. Once upon a time I worked for CHANEL as a makeup artist and the darkest color available is my complexion…which is a light olive. Women of color deserve a line that’s scientifically advanced, and luxurious, and shouldn’t have to resort to the drug store or the beauty supply. They also shouldn’t have to spend $60 on an ultra-luxe department store brand.

  6. I do wear make-up from time to time. You have a very good point. The only company that makes make-up for black women that does not have ‘red’ as a base is Bobbie brown. However, her line can be and is limited at time. For those of us who have beautiful skin, the “cocoa butter” trick may work however, the point is we are limited and should not be. MAC is heavy. Fashion fair and iman sometimes oily-depending upon the skin type. Please start the blog. Yanick-said it well-we should have more choice. R

  7. I agree….. I am sick and tired of having to go to several stores to find makeup or spending more money then I may choose to on the lines carried at the mall.eg Fashion Fair, Iman. We spend our money on many of the other products these makup lines produce yet they obviously have no interest in creating cosmetics for the black woman. I complain to store management about the inequity in hair color, makeup, and any other products the store carries where we are not equally represented. We must share our concern with these cosmetic gurus and demand to be represented. Cover Girl finally figured out that there are Black dollars to be made by creating a line specific to us….. Why can’t the other lines?

  8. I have a diffrent approach. I think that we should support black owned companies that make products for us to create better formulas. Fashion fair and iman are a great place to start. I mean if these companies don’t recogonize the money they are missing out by ignoring us I don’t see why we should beg them to take our cash. Instead is there are any madame Cj Walkers out there who want to create those options? I would prefeer supporting them.

  9. I’m a makeup artist and career coach who focuses on women of color. It is very hard to find great, reasonably priced products for balck women. After years of searching I was able to find a couple of shades (one for the summer and another for the winter) in the MAC line, but it’s pretty pricey brand. Black Opal, and Iman are also great, but you’re right, the choices are too limited. We should be able to find more options coming from the bigger companies.

  10. i remember this frustration. back in the 80s, when i was first experimenting with make up, the push was to include a greater range than just “dark pink” and “olive.” dark sisters were never included in that campaign, and i remember having a conversation with a dark skinned friend of mine about it. in the end, i went and got a custom blend made for my skin at Barney’s. there just wasn’t anything out there for people like me. it’s much better today, and i’m glad to know that there is a movement to continue giving women all the options they should have in make up.

    the ironic thing is i hardly wear make up at all anymore. when i step out, sure. but i work mostly from home and i also spend a lot of time working in my garden. make up is a waste of money and time for me, mostly.

  11. I know this is an old article, but I wanted to say that there are definitely lines out there that cater to the deeper tones of brown. Granted, they aren’t as visible as some lines in drug or department stores – but with som research you’ll f ind that they do exist and are available.

    Consider: Becca, Black Opal, Black Up, Face Atelier, K by Beverly Knight, Make Up For Ever & NARS

  12. I’m dark complexioned as well and I like using Clinique’s Stay Brandy. It looks lighter that my skin but it isn’t. It even my tone out and doesn’t break me out. I dont use a foundation either. Also I use the real African Black soap with lemon grass. Its made of shea butter, coco butter, plantain skin, and palm kernal oil. It has definately evened my skin tone and I am acne free now. Its not drying and it isn’t oily.

  13. Hi I’m an NC45 in MAC and I understand what this post is trying to say but really the only thing that black women should and can do is make your own make up lines and decide whether you want to sell make up at the department store price point or at the drugstore/pharmacy price point.

    Just like Fashion Fair, Naomi Sims, Flori Roberts, Black Up, Imann and Black Opal did. *shrugs shoulders* Black Opal is owned by and was started up by a black woman who’s a dermatologist, which I think is excellent. I find Black Opal very inspiring and their make up even though it’s from a drugstore is very good quality regarding color and texture including foundations, powders, shadows, lipsticks etc.

    Other black people who want more of a range in product colors will just have to do the same as Iman or the woman who started Black Opal.

    I wonder if Black Radiance or Posner are owned by black people? Only wondering because some of their products look alright as well.

    If you have the cash, you’re not necessarily only stuck with MAC, CG Queen, or Iman because there’s also Nars, Bobbi Brown, Giorgio Armani, Black Up, Fashion Fair, Estee Lauder, Laura Mercier (their tinted moisturizers), and Becca. Becca is astounding and you’re gonna call me a liar but even the 2 or 3 (?) foundation and concealer colors I saw in the drugstore from Rimmel London that were my color AND even darker than me shocked the hell out of me!

  14. About the cocoa butter, I’m gonna have to say ix-nay about that because if you are still prone to breakouts of acne that cocoa butter will get you there fast! Since skin on the body is drier and more prone to ashiness just leave the cocoa butter to the rest of you, and forget about applying it to your face.

    Sometimes you have to invest in a dermatologist, esthetician/facialist, or some good skin care, for some people that is.
    I get what ‘Sista’ was saying about seeing black women with the mask-like foundation and I see it a lot with dark-skinned younger black women. I think that some dark skinned black women use a lot of foundation and powder especially to get rid of the ‘shine’ that very dark skin naturally has, and I think that is a bad idea. That’s why the more powder they use even if it’s the right color, the more it will show up on them.

    If your skin is very dark and normal, then you don’t shine because of oiliness, your skin is shiny because that’s the way it is! Embrace your shininess (unless you do have very oily and acne prone skin)! My Mom a long time ago said that she like a dark skinned black woman’s make up on TV because it looked like she was wearing only foundation and no powder, because she herself doesn’t like using powder. And she was right.

    Dark skinned black women especially, but other lighter ones too, should not be powdering their face to death. Use very little just to set your foundation. And embrace your shine if your skin is normal. What’s ironic is that they make powders in colors for whites that are called ‘illuminating’ so that white women’s faces don’t look too flat and lifeless, and here black women are trying to get rid of the shine!

    Another reason why a black woman’s make up may look mask like is because she coud be using cheap bad quality make up or she picked a lighter foundation color on purpose because she doesn’t want to look dark.

    There are also tinted moisturizers, and I think that Black Opal should make some right now by the way, which give you a sheer and less ‘piled on and flattening’ look to your face. They don’t make you look orange or mask-y. Try Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, or Becca (especially Becca for very dark color ranges) for tinted moisturizers. Nars is supposed to come out with one early next year.

  15. I want an All Natural (not just made with “natural ingredients) makeup for women of color. Iman makes my skin look dry and all of them have toxic ingredients. As I get older I want more options sometimes I like to wear makeup and have totally flawless skin. As black women it seems we are stuck with drugstore brands (not too bad just not for everybody) or paraben and propelyn glycol filled products and I am sick of it! I guess everyone thinks we just settle for anything cheap. I just found out about all of the toxic things I was putting on my body and I had to stop/cut back. Check out what you are using on Skin Deep and you will be amazed! So to answer your question YES!!!!!

  16. I don’t get why it s so difficult for black women to find cosmetics and hairdressing products designed for them.
    I’m from London but moved out to the West Country some time ago. When I lived in London, getting the right shade foundation meant a trip to either Selfridges department store or a’ black area’ of london (Brixton, Clapham, Notting Hill!) At Selfridges I discovered Fashion Fair, Bobbi Brown etc. But their products aren’t available in your local the chemist/drugstore chain (Boots) The cosmetic companies are losing out! Millions of black men and women would like a one stop shop to get products suitable for their skin!
    My white friends can run into any chemist and find make up shades that are right for them. But my purchasing just a basic foundation the right colour for me, involves an internet search , a long drive to a bigger town, and in the end costs a fortune. Bobbi Brown, Iman & Fashion fair are great the quality is great but very expensive if you are on a budget. I think some companies are trying but I’m not asian I’m BLACK.! (aah feel better now!)

  17. Someone posted a comment that raises an important point. Why not support black-owned make up companies that do offer shades of brown for all of us? I appreciate Iman and others for their contribution to the make up landscape for black women. But there are others options available as well. Ada Cosmetics is one company I’ve heard good things about and I intend to try. Here’s the link to the website:

    http://www.adacosmetics.com/store/home.php

  18. By my logic, if you are comparing the black products to white products, we will always be underserved.

    Consider this: 12.6% of America is African American according to the census. Is that proportionate to the % of shades “designed” for black women (not that will work but actually designed). Have you noticed?? Out of a 10 shade foundation line, you get 1 or 2.

    I’m doing a makeup party and have been combing the magazine for prroducts for deeper toned black women and very fair red haired white women. There are definitely lots of products but you have to search hard.

    Fortunately for my own makeup routine – I can say there are a fair amount of products for my skin tone (NC45 or NC50 at MAC).

    Best options: pre-shop on-line. I do this with my clothes as well. Then I can do to the right mall with the right products and be in and out!

  19. I have found it hard to find a concealer and a a matching tone mineral powders foundation and eye shadows that would pop, so i took advice from an “aspiring make up artist” comment above, did a little research online and am very happy with FM products. i found them on http://www.perfectfragrance.co.uk/make-up.php – love it :) their lipstick in pale fusia actually lasted me all evening without reapplying

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