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A growing directory of makeup brands with inclusive foundation shades

IMAGE VIA MAC
WORDS BY TESS FISHER

These are the beauty brands embracing diversity.

The human eye can see 10 million colours, But makeup brands are still trying to convince us that a foundation range of 25 shades is ‘diverse’. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the Australian makeup industry has an inclusivity problem. Brands continue to fail BIPOC when they slap ‘diverse’ labels on collections that look like a beige rainbow.

In 2018, Rihanna’s revolutionary ‘beauty for all’ makeup line Fenty created shockwaves in the industry. The brand made $100 million of sales in its first 40 days, proving just how much consumers want comprehensive shade selections. The range jolted competitors into doing and being better, and showed that not only can diversity be achieved, but it should set the new benchmark.


Looking for more makeup recommendations? Head over to our Beauty section.


The ‘Fenty effect’, coupled with petitions and social media backlash against non-inclusive companies, is resulting in meaningful change. While it shouldn’t take naming and shaming for brands to know they need to cater to all skin tones, it’s working, and a shift is slowly happening. 

We’ve trawled the web for the top beauty brands making foundation ranges that reflect real life. While we’ve enjoyed compiling this list, we look forward to the day when this article becomes redundant and the beauty industry is creating makeup for everyone.

Mac Cosmetics

Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation: 67 shades 

It’s no surprise ‘individuality’ is one of Mac’s five brand pillars; it’s been at the forefront of diversity with its products and marketing campaigns for decades. The brand tops our list, with 67 hues offered in its best-selling Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation. And that number is growing. Mac also has a virtual try-on service, meaning you can snap a selfie and find your perfect shade match all from the comfort of your couch. 

Estée Lauder

Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup: 61 shades

Recently named a finalist in the 2021 Mecca Beauty Election, Estée Lauder’s Double Wear Stay-In-Place Makeup has amassed a bit of a cult following. With a whopping 61 shades in a range of cool, neutral and warm undertones, it’s easy to find a product that will blend seamlessly with your skin. For a crash course on what kind of undertone you have, check out our guide

Clinique

Even Better™ Makeup SPF 15: 56 shades 

Designed for dry combination to oily combination skin, Clinique Even Better™ Makeup SPF 15 promises to improve your complexion while you’re wearing it. After 12 weeks of daily use, expect a reduction in dark spots from acne, age, and sun damage. Plus, broad-spectrum SPF 15 helps protect against future discolouration. 

Fenty Beauty

Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation: 50 shades 

“Fenty Beauty was created for everyone: for women of all shades, personalities, attitudes, cultures, and races.” Rihanna’s iconic words don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. With 50 shades across its Hydrating Longwear, Matte Longwear and Soft Matte Powder Foundations, as well as Pro Filt’r Hydrating Longwear Foundation (as personal favourite) Fenty products cater to various skin types as well as hues. 

Urban Decay

Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation: 50 shades

Move over Christian Grey, Urban Decay has the only 50 shades I care about. Promising 24 hours of coverage, Stay Naked Weightless Liquid Foundation is lightweight, vegan-friendly, and breathable with a matte finish. 

Tarte Cosmetics

Face Tape Foundation: 50 shades

Cruelty-free makeup company Tarte is one of the many brands that started by getting it wrong. In 2018, its Shape Tape collection featured only 25 colours, prompting an online uproar. The outcry ultimately resulted in its new 50-shade-strong Face Tape Foundation, which comes in five undertones: neutral, sand, honey, beige and golden. The range uses a combination of snow mushroom extract, apple fruit extract and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, combat free radicals and promote firm skin.

Anastasia Beverly Hills

 

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Luminous Foundation: 50 shades

Romanian entrepreneur Anastasia Soare built a reputation as the ‘brow queen of Beverly Hills’ in the late ’90s. Over the past two decades, Anastasia Beverly Hills achieved global fame for its ‘golden ratio’ approach to beauty. The newest reason to love the brand? Its Luminous Foundation, which boasts five shade categories and three undertones across 50 shades.

Jouer

Essential High Coverage Crème Foundation: 50 shades

In 2017, Jouer was dragged by beauty vlogger Nyma Tang for its laughably slim foundation range. But it looks like the brand took note – with its Essential High Coverage Crème Foundation now catering to 50 different skin tones.  

Sephora

Sephora’s Best Skin Ever: 50 shades

While the US boasts 50 shades of Sephora’s Best Skin Ever, Aussies have access to a not-to-be-sneezed-at 44 shades. A unique combination of makeup and skincare, this foundation promises to look good, and do good, for your skin. The formula is enriched with algae and natural hyaluronic acid to hydrate skin and shield against external pollutants. 

Lancôme

Teint Idole Ultra Wear: 45 shades

Lancôme’s best-selling oil-free, long-lasting, matte liquid foundation Teint Idole Ultra Wear is available in 45 shades. Eight years in the making, this hard-working formulation was the brand’s first ever 24-hour foundation.

NYX Cosmetics

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation: 45 shades

Developed in collaboration with beauty vlogger Alissa Ashley, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Full Coverage Foundation claims to ‘hustle as hard as you’ and mattify your complexion all day long. The foundation is noncomedogenic (meaning it’s less likely to block your pores) and suitable for almost all skin types. On the website, there are currently 43 tones.

Charlotte Tilbury

Airbrush Flawless Foundation: 44 shades

Founded by the MBE-awarded British makeup artist of the same name, Charlotte Tilbury has a reputation for luxurious makeup that looks just as good as the bottle itself. Airbrush Flawless Foundation not only promises to blur your pores, it also uses 2 per cent anti-ageing ingredient replexium to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Buy directly from the brand’s site, or wait for Mecca to add the coveted UK brand to its portfolio this September.  

KVD Beauty

Lock-It Liquid Foundation: 44 shades

KVD Beauty’s Lock-It Liquid Foundation comes in 44 shades and promises to be transfer-resistant, meaning no more face prints on your best mate’s black blazer. 

Bobbi Brown

Weightless Long-wear Foundation: 43 shades

Favoured by the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Naomi Campbell, Bobbi Brown has come a long way from its first-ever collection of 10 shades. Its Weightless Long-Wear Foundation is created using a high-speed cold fusion process and has been tested in extreme heat to prove its sweat and humidity-resistant properties.

ColourPop

No Filter Matte Foundation: 42 shades

In 2020, ColourPop copped flak for not showing enough representation from black creators – resulting in the viral hashtag #ColourpopmeBLACK. BIPOC social media users flooded socials with ColourPop makeup looks to get diversity back on the brand’s radar. Not only did ColourPop share the user-generated content, it also made inroads with its shade selection. The brand’s very affordable No Filter Matte Foundation now comes in 42 colours.

L’Oreal

True Match: 40 shades

In 2015, L’Oreal UK was lagging behind the competition. Cue, the True Match campaign. The initiative saw L’Oreal increase its shade selection, and engage a diverse range of influencers to bring to life their new slogan: ‘We Are All Worth It’. As the biggest beauty brand in the world, L’Oreal acknowledged “It is our responsibility to drive attitude changes in the industry”. True Match is offered in 40 shades online.

Giorgio Armani

 

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Luminous Silk Foundation: 40 shades

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation – a rumoured favourite of Kim Kardashian and Meghan Markle – isn’t cheap but the shade range is up to par with 40 colours on offer.  

Dior

Backstage Face & Body Foundation: 40 shades

There are 16 intensities and six undertones in Dior’s natural finish Backstage Face & Body Foundation line. My barista wears this foundation and her face looks so flawless that I want to rip it off and wear it Silence of the Lambs-style. That is all.   

Morphe

Filter Effect Soft Focus Foundation: 40 shades 

Affordably priced and now available in Australia, Morphe’s Filter Effect Soft Focus Foundation is silky-smooth with buildable coverage. During lockdown, Morphe extended its Shade Match Guarantee, meaning you’ve got 60 days to fall in love with the colour, or simply return it.

BeautyBlender

Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation: 40 shades

BeautyBlender is another brand that got it wrong when it launched its disappointingly-pale 32-shade collection. Shoppers were angry that the brand’s beauty blenders came in more colours than its foundation, and even Jeffree Star jumped in to throw shade (see what I did there?) Since then, eight hues have been added to the Bounce Liquid Whip Long Wear Foundation range. 

Maybelline

Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation: 40 shades 

Maybe it’s foundation in 40 shades, maybe it’s Maybelline. Perfect for normal to oily skin, Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation is allergy tested and uses micro-powders to blur pores. 

Head here for a selection of Black and Indigenous-owned Australian beauty brands you can throw your support (and money) behind.

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