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Foundation for WOC (Women of Color) Revisited Part II (Long)

In part 1 we talked about the top foundation myths that all women have about foundation. This second part is going to feature the foundation brands that are great for women of color and foundation tips from the pros. The great thing about all of these brands is that they are budget friendly. You don't have to break the bank or purse to have a good foundation. These brands are just suggestions, they are tons of other great brands of foundation that look great on women of color but I can only blog about a few, don't limit your choices to just the brands that I've featured here :)

1. Black Opal- If anyone follows celebrity makeup artist, Sam Fine, on twitter he's ALWAYS raving about Black Opal stick foundations, because he talked about it so much I had to try their foundation. I'm not a fan of stick foundations, so I tried their creme to powder foundation, it comes in a mirrored compact with a sponge. The price was only $9.59. After deliberating on the color, I chose Rich Caramel and it was a perfect match!

 Black Opal foundations are exclusively made for women of color. Their foundation is designed to make you look like your natural self without looking ashy or overly made up. I would have to agree. The color I chose is a perfect match to my skin, it glides on well and lasts until I take it off. I also like that their foundation comes with a SPF of 8, so that I have sun protection for my skin. The good thing is Black Opal is a drug store brand, so you can purchase their foundation at CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart. Their products can also be bought from their website.

Graftobian HD Foundation
 2. Graftobian-  Graftobian High Definition creme foundations are great for ANY woman, not just women of color. Their foundations are used by many, including in movie and television production for actors and actresses. The creme foundation delivers flawless-and I do mean flawless results whether you're using it for your personal beauty routine or if you're using it for television production. I use these foundations in my makeup kit. They look great in photography and they deliver a natural finish. All of the brides and bridesmaids that I've used it on comment that it doesn't feel heavy on their skin and it feels like butter :)

Graftobian foundations come in a user friendly 5-shade palette, that is pictured above. They also come in a 18 palette for professional use. I suggest the 5-shade palette if you're trying to find a foundation that matches your skin. The palettes are broken into neutral, cool and warm undertones, so; it will help to know your skin undertone before purchasing the palette or if you're unsure you can always try the neutral palette. The palettes retail for about $22 and they are sample size, once you've found your correct shade you can buy the full-sized shade, which retails for $11.99. Graftobian products can be purchased from and

Iman Foundation

3. Iman-  Iman Cosmetics is another foundation line that is exclusively made for women of color. I always have a soft heart for Iman cosmetics because Iman foundation was the first foundation that I tried at 16 :) Iman has several types of foundations from: liquid, stick, powder and creme to powder foundations, her foundations are available in every undertone so that you get a perfect match! I love that Iman's foundations are budget-friendly. Her foundations are $20 and under and they can be found at Target in the cosmetic aisle. Iman's website features a "meet your match" tool that helps you find your perfect foundation match!

4. Mac Cosmetics- Mac cosmetics needs no introduction, lol. Everybody knows about Mac. I won't dare try to introduce Mac to you all :) Mac foundations are not exclusively for women of color but their foundations are great and deliver excellent coverage. Several of their foundations come in 20-25 shades so that you'll find your perfect match. Their foundations also come in several finishes, so if you're skin is dry, combination or oily-there will be a Mac foundation to fit your needs.

My best advice for Mac foundations is to not go along with the crowd, meaning that just because everyone has tried Studio Tech or Studio Fix foundation, that doesn't necessarily mean it will work best for you or that you'll like it. In my experience with Mac foundations the ones that are least popular and least talked about are the ones that work great for me. I love Mac Face and Body and Mac Mineralize creme foundation but I don't hear a lot about either of them and I tried both foundations on my own, by browsing the descriptions on their website.On the other hand if the trusty Studio Tech or Studio Fix work for you then by all means keep using it!

5. Make Up For Ever-  Make up for ever is another great foundation brand, although their foundations are not exclusively for women of color-they offer several shades in all undertones to find your perfect shade. Make up for ever also offers several finishes depending on your skin. They offer foundations with a matte finish for those who have oily skin. They also offer foundations with a dewy and satin finish if you prefer a moisture rich foundation. Whatever you're looking for in a foundation, they will have it! They are best known for their HD Invisible Cover Foundation, that gives you a beautiful, flawless and natural finish-I know because I have it! Make up For Ever foundations are a bit pricier, their price range for foundation starts at $38.00 but they are great about offering sample foundations to try before you buy at your local Sephora. 

These are just a few brands that are great for women of color, other brands that are worth trying are: Bobbi Brown makeup, Cover Girl Queen Collection (my mother loves their foundation) and Revlon, especially their photo ready foundation.


Once you've found that perfect or almost perfect foundation here are a few tips from the April 2010 Essence magazine on foundation application and knowledge:

1. Sheer Up- "After you apply your foundation, take a two-ply tissue, separate it, and use it to blot the excess oil. You'll see more skin and take off excess coverage." -Sam Fine-Celebrity Makeup Artist

2. Ease Up- "Most women of color only need foundation on certain areas to even out their skin. To find your shade, swipe color on your cheek and forehead. The best match will fade into your skin." -Bobbi Brown, founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

3. Blend Up-"Often on women of color, the neck and face are different tones. Blend the color so it's even. "-Ashunta Sheriff, Makeup Artist

4. Mix Up-Because women of color are two different tones on our faces, we may need to purchase two different shades to match our skin. For an example, my forehead and chin are darker than the rest of my face so I use a darker shade on those areas and for the rest of my face I use my normal shade-this technique creates a natural contour (creates depth and dimension) on your face. Another alternative, you can mix both shades to make that perfect shade that will easily match your skin. Or if you don't want to purchase two shades, you can always use bronzer on those areas that are darker.

*A great tip that I learned in Makeup Artistry school is when you're testing out foundations to find your correct shade, test the shade outside in the natural sun light. If the shade disappears into your skin or is a close enough match, it's your correct shade.*

FYI when you're in stores testing out foundation, the lights in the stores reflect yellow light which will reflect yellow in the foundation (not all women have yellow or a lot of yellow undertones in their skin) this is a reason why the foundation looks one way in the store and when you go outside and go home it looks totally different. Don't be afraid to ask the sales rep/makeup artist if you can go outside and see how the foundation looks on you :)

I really, really hope this two part series has made you think, helped in some way or shed some new light on foundation.

Photo Credits

Essence Magazine April 2010


Onjel said…
Huge fan of the graftobian foundations!
Very informative post. I had pretty much sworn off MAC foundations because the 2 I tried did not work for me at all, but now I'm thinking maybe I'll look at some lesser spoken about ones.
Ms. Viva Glam said…
I love Graftobian foundations. I'm in the process of buying a few more of the warm palettes for my kit now.

Yeah, I've looked through the Mac website for several of their foundations and then I read the reviews on Specktra and Makeup Alley before buying. Right now everyone is raving about the Mac Pro longwear foundation.
Only1_Steph_MUA said…
graftobian HD IS MY ABSOLUTE FAVE!!! I WEAR IT IN MOST OF MY BLOG PHOTOS AND TUTORIALS!!!!!!! :) Only1StephMUA on youtube.....i love your blog btw missy!!
I love graftobian, mufe and face atelier
Ms. Viva Glam said…
@Steph: Thanks girly! @Kim: I've heard a lot about Face Atelier, I'm going to order some foundation samples from them.

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