The Best Foundation for Black Women

Woman of color

Dear Budget Fashionista,

I am African-American and I am very dark skinned with purple undertones. I have the hardest time finding foundation and concealers for my skin tone on a budget. Can you recommend a good, budget friendly, make-up brand for me?

It’s no secret that the majority of beauty brands don’t formulate shades for all skin tones. Even those products that have genuinely dark shades don’t always offer something that’s tailored to your tone.

But there is good news here. Times they are a-changing. As more companies recognize that, yes, in fact, there are more than five skin tones, it has become easier to navigate the aisles confidently. You can and you will find a shade that flatters naturally.

The concern also lies in the way brands create darker colors. Often they simply add some dark pigment to an existing light hue, yielding shades that appear dark in the bottle but don’t produce an exact match for most people of color.

Color-Correct Trouble Spots First

Your mission is to find the foundation that matches your skin’s cool undertone and basically disappears on most areas of your skin. If deep blue/purple circles beneath the eyes are an issue, apply a dab of neutralizing yellow concealer from Physicians Formula ($8.95) and tap — don’t rub — into the skin. You can also apply a dab of color-correcting cream onto imperfections and allow it to set before you apply your foundation.

Budget-Friendly Foundation for Black Women

Some of the most wallet-friendly foundation brands now carry extensive color selections. Here are a few that won’t put a dent in your budget.

Black Radiance Color Perfect™ Liquid Makeup ($4.99)

Black Radiance Foundation for Black Women

Black Radiance oil-free foundation is available in 12 shades formulated for a broad range of skin tones. The lightweight product minimizes imperfections and leaves skin soft thanks to a touch of nourishing evening primrose oil.

Iman Cosmetics Second to None Stick Foundation ($16)

Iman stick foundation for women of color

For precise application that won’t budge, try this oil-free stick foundation by Iman. Enriched with hydrating jojoba and free radical-busting antioxidants, it’s good for your skin, too. And in 14 colors, you’ll find one that complements your tone.

Hue Noir True Hues Flawless Matte Foundation ($12.99)

Hue Noir Matte Foundation

If your greatest concern is longevity, try this lasting matte foundation. While it provides extensive coverage that covers every imperfection perfectly, it can be built up bit by bit for all-day wear that won’t crease.

BLK/OPL True Color Pore Perfecting Liquid Foundation ($10.95)

Blk Opl foundation for black women

For a more mid-range formula that offers light-to-medium coverage, BLK/OPL True Color foundation provides the opportunity for a spot-on color match. Thanks to the addition of hydrating shea butter, it’s ideal for dry or sensitive skin types.

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    Tanya is a seasoned journalist based in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Specializing in fashion, beauty, and travel, she loves to explore new places, read as much as possible, and scour the web for fabulous finds — all in the name of research, of course.

    Blog Comments

    Other brands that carry foundations for darker skin tones are:
    Make-Up Forever
    Laura Mercier
    Vincent Longo
    Cover FX

    All can be found at Sephora.  The on in South Beach Miami has a woman of color who can match anyone.  I have acne scars and she found a combination of foundation, concealer and powder that make me look like model.

    I swear by Bobbi Brown’s foundation stick (Almond #7). I was introduced to it by a makeup artist in a Nordstrom store seven years ago and I wear nothing else. Moreover, I get lots of compliments re: how nice/clear my skin is when I know better! It is definitely the BB product….not inexpensive but worth every penny.

    Wow this is great advice. Before I went to nursing schl a few years ago, I was a volunteer for Dress for Success. We always had trouble finding makeup shades for our clients if they were women of color. I’ll pass this on to the DFS staffers I still know over there. Margaret

    Oh my goodness…how on EARTH could anyone have left out MAC?! This has GOT to be the most reasonably priced “high end” makeup line with quality that is unsurpassed to boot. Their color range is incredible and quality impeccable. Especially the darker colors…very natural looking foundations. They get it right.

    If you are in the LA area, check out HIP at the Loreal store at the Beverly Center.  All of the makeup from foundation to eye shadows are amazing on dark skin.  I love it!

    Beauty Advice: Foundation for African American Women on a Budget – via @twitoaster

    Another brand that carry foundations for darker skin tones is Orissa Cosmetics; their shades are at

    Faces Cosmetics is a great skincare and cosmetic company is a Canadian based company that offers a wide range of color that compliments the unique complexions of African Americans and most women of color. I am currently using their concealer Profix to cover any blemishes or dark spots. Not only does the concealer long lasting with great coverage, it is only 12.00!!!
    A little goes a long way and the end results are amazingly smooth and natural. I promise you wont regret it!!

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