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The Best Make-Up Brands for Darker Tones

Just about every woman loves make-up! However, not all companies cater to women with darker shades of skin. While there have been significant improvements in coloring of products for darker tones, there is still serious work to be done. The CGS Team came across an article from beauty blog Byrdie that shares some of the best make-up brands for darker skin tones. We want to share this article with the members of CGS! CGS members come in all shades and colors, so this article may apply to you or someone you know!

“Keep scrolling for the 10 best make-up brands for dark skin tones!

Iman Cosmetics

Iman Cosmetics makes this list because 1) Iman is a goddess, and anyone should want to put anything she creates on their face immediately, and 2) the products are really that good. All of the products are created with medium to dark skin tones in mind—but lest you assume that limits your options, think again.

The line is most popular for its mineral-based foundations, like the Second to None Luminous Foundation Clay 3 ($13), which sink in instantly for a sheer finish, as well as genius skincare-makeup hybrids, like the Under Cover Agent Oil Control ($16). Oh, and the drugstore price tag doesn’t hurt.

Black Opal

Another drugstore gem, Black Opal was founded in New York in 1994 and was the first technologically advanced, doctor-recommended mass market skincare line for women of color; it was so positively received, that the brand then rolled out a makeup line.

At the core of their line are their foundations and concealers, formulated to properly match all skin tones without ashy or dull residue (even Beyoncé’s makeup artist has vetted its cult foundation). We’re also fans of its super-creamy pigmented Color Splurge Luxe Crème Lipstick ($8).

Black Up

Founded by an African American makeup artist, Black Up is the first-ever luxe beauty brand created for women of color—and just recently received Sephora’s seal of approval. Black Up’s products claim to enhance dark skin tones, instead of just matching them.

The brand’s standout products include its Contouring Stick ($42), which comes in five medium to deep shades, and its Lipstick ($23) and Blush ($27), both of which are super pigmented and show up beautifully against dark skin tones.


MAC is known for its high-pigment formulas, bright colors, and wide range of shades—and it was one of the first to create a more diverse shade range. Most of its products are suited for darker skin tones, but its Paint Pots ($22), which come in 16 inky colors, and Mineralize Skinfinish Natural ($32) are two of the most loved.


Similar to MAC, Nars is widely known and loved for its extensive selection of shades and formulas, and has remained a makeup artist favorite since its inception. The brand’s foundations are appealing to women with darker skin tones because they offer both soft satin and matte finishes; meanwhile, the cult Creamy Concealer ($29) comes in a deep cocoa color that’s perfect for brightening up under-eyes on darker skin tones.

Fashion Fair

Fashion Fair is a household name when it comes to cosmetics for those with mocha-toned skin. The brand’s foundations take into account not just darker shades, but also the wide range of undertones that come with darker shades (i.e., red undertones). Its color collection boasts fun, vibrant shades, like the ones in its Lip Teaser Collection ($18).

Becca Cosmetics

Becca Cosmetics may not specifically cater to dark skin tones, but its vast array of primers, foundations, and highlighters are definitely made with them in mind. Women especially love the Ever-Matte Shine Proof Foundation ($42), which comes in deep shades and has the most beautifully matte yet natural finish.

Make Up For Ever

Ask any makeup artist, and she’ll have at least one Make Up For Ever product in her kit. Why? The color payoff, silky-smooth formulas, unexpected finishes, and staying power all contribute to its popularity—and the wide array of foundation shades.

The brand recently re-released Ultra HD versions its much-loved foundations and foundation sticks, which also include a new range of 40 shades that deliver an airbrushed finish for all skin tones. We love.

Cover FX

Cover FX is a newer brand, created with the intention of delivering a natural-looking finish for all skin tones. Its hero product is the Custom Drops ($44), which you can add to moisturizer, tinted moisturizer, and even sunscreen to make a shade and coverage that’s perfectly suited for your unique skin tone. The Contour Kit ($48) is another favorite, with two different quads suited for medium to deep skin tones—one for golden undertones and one for neutral undertones.


Lancôme has really stepped up its game in recent years when it comes to creating products that flatter and enhance darker skin tones (its newly named ambassador, the ever-glowing Lupita Nyong’o, may have had something to do with it).

The Tiente Idol Ultra 24H ($46) foundation offers a wide range of medium to deep shades and is what makeup artist Nick Barose reaches for when prepping Nyong’o for the red carpet. Currently, we’re lusting over the newly launched Audacity Palette ($68), which features 16 stunning shimmery and matte shades for a sheer wash of color on the lid.”

As seen on The Best Make Up Brands for Dark Skin Tones by Byrdie.


Make-up artists and women of color, what do you think of the beauty brands listed above? Which products do you find work best on darker skin tones? We want to know what you think! Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!

-The CGS Team



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