Shopping for the best foundation is a little like shopping for the right pair of jeans; a bit of a slog, but entirely worth it once you discover a good, snug fit. We’re taking some of the work out of looking for a base for darker skin tones, by rounding up our favourite, fail-safe brands that have harnessed broader shade ranges or impressive formulas that adapt to every tone.
From BB creams to CC cushions to mattifying powder foundations, there’s a base for every skin type - no matter if your t-zone is oily or pores are parched. These products have been trialled and edited by our Beauty Editors to help you find the perfect match.
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, £29.50
How many shades? 24 Best for: Full, semi-matte coverage Encasing the creamiest of full coverage in a sleek, handbag-friendly tube, Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick offers fuss-free application that blends out like a dream. Swipe it over t-zones and cheeks, use your fingers to pat it down, then double it up as a concealer to camouflage blemishes and flagging under-eyes.
Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation, £32.50
How many shades? 26 Best for: Flawless coverage with a weightless feel Because Skin Base packs a high pigment pay-off, it’s perfect for hiding hyperpigmentation or pepping up skin that’s tired, dull and in need of TLC. A thwack of vitamin E softens while a weightless texture ensures it doesn’t feel cloying on the skin, no matter how long your day may be.
Pür Minerals Air Perfection CC Cushion Compact Foundation, £27
How many shades? 4 Best for: A kiss of sheer coverage Great for enhancing the beautiful glow that many darker skin tones boast, the Air Perfection CC Cushion Compact Foundation lends a flawless veil that has a born-with-it quality. Harnessing the latest in makeup technology, a cushion is ensconced in the compact which, when pressed on with your makeup sponge or brush, releases the lightweight, liquid pigments.
Sleek Be Beautiful Blemish Balm, £8.99
How many shades? 4 Best for: A buildable base with benefits They fuse a burst medium of coverage with a multitude of beauty benefits, a dose of SPF and light-reflecting pigments that make everyone look more awake. So, who boasts the best BB cream that caters to dark skin tones? We’re fans of Sleek, which offers their all-in-one Be Beautiful Blemish Balm in four adaptable shades that suit everyone up to a very dark black skin tone.
Mac Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation, £22
How many shades? 50 Best for: A velvety, matte complexion With 50 shades to choose from, Mac runs the gamut of powder foundation hues, bearing our natural warm (golden) or cool (yellow) pigments in mind. Buff the Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation into pores to control oil, lace skin with a velvety texture and camouflage pigmentation with its medium coverage.
EX1 Invisiwear Liquid Foundation, £12.50
How many shades? 5 Best for: Lending radiance to olive skin tones Specially formulated for olive skins ranging from Indian to Middle Eastern, EX1’s oil-free Invisiwear Liquid Foundation appears to mesh with tired pores. The result? Dialled-up luminosity with help from light diffusers and even, imperceptible coverage that mimics the natural yellow and golden pigments found in your complexion.
Becca Matte Skin Foundation, £32
How many shades? 20 Best for: Keeping shine at bay For those with oily t-zones, this creamy coverage smooths away shine on application, lending skin a cashmere softness that remains intact all day. Never cakey, Becca Matte Skin Foundation is the golden ticket if you find that most mattifying bases leave your complexion looking and feeling uncomfortably dehydrated. It’s also worth noting that Becca’s website proudly bears its Foundation Finder’, which ensures shopping for your perfect shade is a far more efficient and easy task.
Cover FX Custom Cover Drops, £36
How many shades? 24 Best for: A bespoke base Cover FX understands that no two days are the same for our skin, and some require ramping up or minimising coverage. That’s where this flacon of concentrated colour pigments steps in, allowing you to create the most bespoke of makeup bases. Add as many drops of the Custom Cover Drops as you please to face cream, oil, primer, foundation, BB cream and more to gain complete control over the finish on your skin.
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