What are some good brands that make foundation for dark skin?

This! A question that I got asked a lot as an editor at EBONY.com. It took me a good little while, but I tested enough products to know at least a good top 5 brands that really know how to make foundation for dark skin.

Let me be clear: most of these brands are a bit more than you would probably want to pay. The majority are not drug store brands. But, bare with me. The thing I’ve learned as an editor, is that women with darker complexions are probably going to have to pay a bit more for their foundation. Does that suck? Yes. But the truth is that the higher end companies have, in my opinion, spent more time making sure they understand our undertones.

So, here goes my list of reccomendations.

Bobbi Brown

The latest obsession from Bobbi Brown is the Long Wear Even Finish SPF 15. Espresso 10 is the darkest shade. But, i’ve been using the Chestnut 9 shade and it matches perfectly. This will run you about $48 and should last you about 7 months to a year.

BlackUp Cosmetics (not pictured)

I met with a PR rep for this brand about a year ago and immediately fell in love. They’re based out of France, so you’d have to order your best foundation online. And this sucks. But, they have a new product that may help you determine your best color under their line for a low cost of $5: the CC cream 5 shades pack. If you think you can really look at their foundation color swatches and order your best matched shade, then opt for one of their Cream to Powder foundations ($41), or the new Matifying Liquid Foundation ($40.50). I’ll let you know now: they’re online color swatches are the exact match to their actual products. Meaning, what you see in color online, is what you will get in product in person. I promise.


An affordable foundation on this list, ranging from $12-$16 depending on the retailer, the Second to None Cream to Powder Foundation is a great buy. It’s lightweight and very silky. IMAN is another brand that is really getting it right with the undertones. You can find this foundation at Target, Walmart and Ulta.

Make Up For Ever

The HD High Definition Foundation is a good pick for full coverage that doesn’t look heavy. They’ve also made it possible to pick your foundation based on your undertone. But here’s the thing: you have to go to your nearest Sephora because the colors online don’t perfectly match the colors in person. By the way, it cost $42.


There is an asterisk near YSL because they don’t have very dark colors. But, I use the Le Teint Touche Eclat every day, and my shade is B 90. I also have more of a red/gold undertone. This, in my opinion, is another brand you would have to test in store. You’ll also spend about $57 on the product.


Again, another product with a limited amount of darker shades. However, the Sheer Glow Foundation is my third go-to product (my first is YSL and second is Bobbi Brown, mentioned above). Khartoum is the darkest shade they have and you’ll pay $45.


They have a good array of shades for darker complexions, and help you understand, via imagery, what you’ll likely be looking for if you’re shopping online. For women with acne or breakout prone skin, Becca may be a good fit for you. My favorite foundation from them so far is the Ever-Matte Shine Proof foundation. It’s $42 and can be purchased at Sephora.


The Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation has 8 darker shades. I prefer this for spring/summer months, however. Mainly because it’s a really good matte product and it doesn’t smudge easily. I also think you should go to a Lancome counter and do an in-person test to find your perfect shade because the undertones may be hard to detect online. This foundation will run you $45.

Kat Von D

Believe it or not, Kat Von D has about 8 darker shades in her Lock-It Tattoo Foundation collection. It does have a bit of a strong scent, I’ll warn you about that. But, it offers build able coverage and leaves you with a flawless finish. Flawless. Be very careful with application so that it doesn’t become cakey. You’ll spend $34.


If you all don’t know, MAC has been one of the leading brands that have continuously focused on having darker shades. I for sure root for MAC, but I just wanted to offer some other brands to choose from. However, I will say that some of my prefered MAC foundations are Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15, Mineralize Moisture SPF 15 and the Studio Tech






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    • That’s extremely interesting. Most women go for foundation over concealer, but I can understand that. You must have gorgeous skin! We’re glad you love the list, though. xo, Melanie

  • Please do not forget Estee Lauder. They have a great shade range and do not tend to go orange as Bobbi can sometimes. Also, check out the new Dior STAR foundation. The deepest shade is so very perfect! It’s long wearing but hydrating and it’s a satin finish. Beautiful!

    • Thank you so much for this Kimberly! I’m going to add that to my list. I’m ALWAYS looking for other options for foundations, especially since the best for me have been a little on the high end.

  • about 10+years ago I went on a quest fro the best foundation for dark skin (besides M.A.C.) it took 2 years but I finally landed on Giorgio Armani!! It’s amazing, definitely worth mentioning. It’s my #1 next to NARS.

    • I never, ever thought of Giorgio Armani would have an array of colors for darker skin. I’m going to add this to my list as well. Is it pricey?

  • This is a great article, as a dark skinned woman myself I can say I’ve had a pretty great with BH cosmetics foundations just to the amazing list here.

    • We’re glad you liked the list. Let us know if you decide to try any of the foundations listed and how they work on your skin.

  • I loooove the Younique BB cream! It’s not a liquid foundation but it gives a beautiful sheer coverage so your skin’s own beauty shows through ;). The colors range from light to dark. Yes I am a rep but I wouldn’t endorse a product I didn’t like 😉 I hope get a chance to try it if you do a top BB cream list!

    • Thanks! I’ll look out for that for sure. I definitely want to do a list on BB creams. This is really helpful! Xo, Melanie

  • I have used Black Opal for many years and It makes my skin look flawless, I’m asked all the time what type of makeup am I using….I think it would be good to add to your list. Black Opal has a line of products from the lightest to the darkest skin tones/colors. Thank you

  • I’ve used Prescriptive for years. Always get compliments. It’s only available online. A little pricey but they have great promotions and shipping is free.

  • I’m looking for a makeup that won’t smear… I have a toddler and I feel like she constantly has makeup on her… I use Mac studio fix… It also doesn’t provide full coverage for me… Please help

  • I have the Sephora liquid foundation. I really like it. I only use foundation for special heavily photographed occasions and this one does lovely things to my skin.

  • Becca Luminous Tint is great for dry skins. Dior have some great options (though not for darkest skin). For those who prefer more natural and organic products, Vapour, Alima Pure, Jane Irndale and Premae are good options.

    • Thanks so much for the info! I plan to do another post on a new list, since so many women are commenting on their favorite foundations. xo, Melanie

  • Thank u all so much this is very helpful… I’m kinda new at foundation but love it I’m into make up but didn’t know where to start

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