Top Five: Liquid & Cream Foundations For Darker Skin Tones

As a Make-up Artist I work on a wide variety of skin tones and have to have the products which enable me to do so. Sadly and incredibly frustratingly, when it comes to products for darker skin tones the transition to using natural and organic cosmetics has been significantly slower than with much of the rest of my kit.

The distinct lack of base products for darker skin tones (namely foundation and concealer) has been a bugbear of mine since the start – and I know amongst many other Make-up Artists and of course the wider public. Yes there are some options out there however more often than not, brands offer one stand alone shade in amongst a whole host of light skin shades. I don’t expect every brand to carry shades suitable for every skin tone, however a wider spectrum would be appreciated by many.

I’ve lined up a selection of brands who are a little more inclusive and offer a wider selection of shades more suited to the multicultural world we live in.

Here are my Top Five cream and liquid foundations for darker skin tones…

 Zao Compact Foundation (£30.50/£17.00)(V,GF)

Zao compact foundations are a popular choice with many of the green Make-up Artist’s that I know. A build-able cream foundation (it can go from sheer to full coverage in a matter of brush strokes), it has a smooth velvety texture which has a mattifying finish. Of the fourteen shades in the range, six or seven are designed with darker skins in mind and have a mixture of red, yellow and neutral undertones – which is a real plus. My only issue with these foundations is that they can look a little ashy on some skins.

The model in the terrible quality continuity image above is wearing mostly Zao base.

I have a stand alone post on these foundations coming soon so keep an eye out for it.

Ilia Beauty Vivid Foundation (£40.00)(V, GF)

Vivid foundation is a light but creamy fluid foundation with a sheer to medium coverage (depending on how much you build up) and a satin finish. Rich in hydrating and nourishing coconut, rosehip and sunflower oils, Vivid is best suited for normal to dry skins and it is also filled with healing botanicals to help calm and revitalize the skin. There are six shades in the range (named after six of the worlds deserts), three of which are suited to medium to dark skin tones. The downside with this foundation for me is that is a bit of a leap shade wise from 5 to 6. If you are happy mixing and matching then give it a whirl but if creating your own shades isn’t for you then best leave this well alone…

Ilia Beauty have recently released their new True Skin Serum Foundation (£50.00) which has ten shades, however I yet to try this so don’t want to comment just yet.

Alima Pure Liquid Silk Foundation (£38.00)(V, GF)

A sheer but build-able liquid foundation with a light cream texture and a dewy, satin finish. The dewiness is provided but the moisture rich ingredients; Argan oil, coconut oil and vitamin E. It also contains Hyaluronic Acid, however despite all that hydration you may need still need to moisturise before applying if you have drier skin. There are ten shades in the collection, five of which I would say are more suited to medium to dark skin tones. The shades fall into two camps; those with cool to neutral undertones and neutral to warm.

Kjaer Weis Cream Foundation (£51.00/£30.00)(GF)

These are my favourite foundations from the natural and organic world; sheer but buildable with a semi-matte finish. Packed full of so many rich and beneficial ingredients such as coconut, jojoba and sweet almond oils and carnauba and beeswax. A world of warning though; if you have even slightly dry skin you do need to moisturiser or oil your skin well before applying – one hint of dryness and the foundation won’t sit well on the skin. Following the recent release of some additional shades, there are now fourteen shades in the Kjaer Weis stable, six of which are designed for medium to dark skin tones with yellow, red and neutral undertones depending on the shade.

You can read a little about the Kjaer Weis foundations here

At this point I’m going to cheat a little. Technically this is a top six as the next brand offer two formulations however both have the same range of shades so I have rolled them into one listing…

Vapour Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation (£38.00)(GF)

Vapour Beauty Soft Focus Foundation (£43.00)(GF)

Vapour were I think one of the first organic brands (certainly that I’m aware of) to include darker tones as standard. Atmosphere Luminous Foundation comes in a creamy stick formulation and with it’s light to medium coverage is designed for normal to drier skins, whilst the Soft Focus Foundation is a liquid and more suited those with oilier skin and has a fuller coverage. The end result differs too; Atmosphere Luminous is dewy and Soft Focus has a satin finish.  Both formulations contain twelve shades, six of which are for darker skin with both yellow and red undertones are accounted for; the darkest shade (160) has blue undertones.

Which is your favourite foundation?


Images: (1, 2, 5, 6, 7) LJS – OMUA; (3) Ilia Beauty; (4) Alima Pure


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