9 best foundations for dark skin, tried and tested
Searching for the best foundation for dark skin is never an easy task, particularly when it comes to finding the right coverage and, more importantly, the correct shade.
Although brands have improved their shade range massively in recent years, finding a colour match has not always been simple if you have a darker skin tone. It’s fair to say that brands' offerings haven’t always been inclusive and craving a bit of coverage has often meant settling for a less-than-desirable lighter hue.
Now, thankfully, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting the perfect shade for darker skin tones and it’s easy to spend hours at makeup counters trying out the plethora of testers.
From full and medium coverage to matte and dewy, there is a lot to consider when purchasing a foundation. Many brands now also consider undertones, to get your skin looking its best and as natural as possible.
In case you're struggling to navigate your way through the world of foundation or are simply on the hunt for a new addition to your make-up collection, we have tested some of the best options out there, from higher-end offerings to drug store must-haves.
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1. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
- Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, £30 from Fenty – buy here
As a brand that has more than made its mark in the beauty world, Fenty Beauty has become renowned for its outstanding selection of foundation shades.
It’s easy to see why the Pro Filt’r foundation is a bestseller and personal favourite of Riri’s because of its 'light as air’ texture and medium-to-full coverage that leaves skin looking airbrushed.
This is a great pick for anyone wanting a flawless make-up look that doesn't feel too cakey or heavy, which is never ideal. After testing this out on our skin for a day, we can say that it certainly lives up to its assertion that it’s long-wearing.
For £30, you get a 32ml bottle that will be sure to last you a while thanks to its ability to hide imperfections with just a small amount of product.
This can easily be built up depending on the amount of coverage you want making it super versatile. If you prefer powder foundations, the Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Powder is equally amazing at providing much-needed coverage and smoothing the skin, and it comes with a handy sponge and a mirror for applying on the go.
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2. Milk Sunshine Skin Tint
- Milk Makeup Sunshine Skin Tiny Broad Spectrum SPF 30, £39 from Cult Beauty – buy here
If you prefer a foundation that provides lighter coverage, then this offering from MILK is the perfect pick, particularly if you loathe the feeling of having heavy products on your skin.
The Sunshine Skin Tint will see you through the summer months thanks to its weightless feel — not to mention its SPF of 30, which we are seriously impressed by. With an amazing shade range that goes from lighter tones to deeper, there is something for everyone.
This includes a unique glass ball applicator that's designed to distribute the product evenly distribution across your skin and impart a cool, soothing feeling. The vegan formula sinks into the skin leaving a dewy and bright finish with a great amount of coverage considering this is a tint.
This left our skin feeling hydrated which was more than likely down to the natural oils included, making this perfect for anyone who has to deal with the nightmare that is dry skin and flaking after applying makeup.
3. Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint
- Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, £20 from Glossier – buy here
With a more natural make-up look becoming the favoured choice for many, this gem from Glossier is perfect for days when you may fancy a light wash of colour.
Just a little of this formula left our skin feeling beautifully radiant and dewy, and it provided a little bit of coverage which was enough to smooth out any imperfections.
This is breathable and vows to enhance skin — a claim we can more than vouch for. The shade range goes far to cater to darker shades, including options such as medium-deep and extra deep, right through to the richest hue.
After letting the product sit on the skin, it leaves nothing but a soft finish and a hydrated feeling thanks to the added Glycerin which naturally helps to moisturise. Simply shake the bottle before use and blend it into the skin for a gorgeous finish.
4. Pat McGrath Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation
- Skin Fetish: Sublime Perfection Foundation, £61 from Pat McGrath – buy here
If there’s one thing that stands out about Pat McGrath’s Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection foundations, it’s the shade options, which comprise an impressive 36 colours — if you've been longing for a foundation that is a true match for your skin tone, you are almost certainly going to find it in this range.
To say this left our skin looking unbelievably smooth would be a complete understatement. The formula, which is suitable for all skin types, glided onto the skin and almost immediately concealed imperfections, leaving a dewy, healthy-looking finish.
A little of the product worked wonders in providing an amazing amount of coverage and although this is a higher-end offering, this will be sure to last a long time.
The product is buildable making it perfect for applying and tailoring to the amount of coverage you want. If that’s not enough, this is also oil- and fragrance-free, and the packaging really is the stuff of dreams.
5. NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation
- Nyx Professional Makeup Can't Stop Won't Stop 24 Hour Foundation, £15 from Look Fantastic – buy here
When it comes to brands that have taken the makeup world by storm, NYX is high up the list.
From matte lip creams to pigmented eye shadow palettes, the brand has an extensive range of amazing products, and that’s without mentioning its game-changing foundations.
The Can’t Stop Won’t Stop foundation features a staggering 45 shades to cater to a wide range of skin tones. When we applied it to our skin, we found it hard to ignore the flawless finish this leaves behind, as well as how quickly it absorbed into the skin. Although this is full coverage, it is completely buildable depending on the type of finish you would like.
This will leave the skin looking matte, making it perfect for anyone who has an oily skin type. One stand-out feature of this foundation was the fact that the consistency was super creamy and non-drying, though it did the job of controlling any unwanted shine during the day. We also liked that it didn't have an overly strong scent.
If you are tired of matte foundations that feel too drying on the skin, then this is a great option for your makeup bag and it’s affordable.
6. The Ordinary Coverage Foundation
- The Ordinary Coverage Foundation, £6.90 from Deciem – buy here
Having become widely known for its amazing range of skincare products at unbelievably reasonable prices, The Ordinary is a brand that we simply can’t get enough of.
Alongside its serums, masks and creams is an extensive range of fuller coverage and lightweight foundations that have been formulated in a seriously impressive range of shades that also take undertone into account.
We gave the coverage foundation a whirl and were blown away by not only the shade match but also the consistency, which felt super light. From yellow to red undertones, there really was a match for everyone and after releasing our inner makeup guru and applying a lot of swatches, we found our perfect shade.
The Ordinary recommends dispensing a small amount into the palm or back of the hand and smoothing across the face outward from the midpoint. The consistency and coverage this gem provided were simply out of this world given its small price point.
Although the foundation may appear runny at first, don’t be fooled as this provides amazing coverage, particularly over any dark scarring or blemishes and if you love nothing more than a glowy finish, this will have your skin beaming.
Revolution Conceal and Define Full Coverage Foundation
- Revolution Conceal & Define Foundation, £9.99 from Boots – buy here
A cult high street brand that has been nailing dupes of makeup staples for some time now, Revolution has a firm place in many of our kits.
Makeup fans have long raved about the Conceal and Define foundation's ability to provide unreal coverage for every hue, but we wanted to put this to the test.
Firstly, we have to talk about the packaging, which makes this foundation looking like it belongs in a high-end department store. Unlike other foundations that often have a squeeze applicator, Revolution’s offering comes with a super handy large doe foot applicator which makes applying this onto the face an absolute treat.
With 50 shades to choose from, the range of medium and dark tones available are more than welcomed, particularly for an affordable brand.
If there’s one thing we can’t stand in a foundation, it’s the separation over time and product clinging to drier areas of the face. We are happy to report that after wearing this after a long day, our skin remained looking flawless.
This provides a good amount of buildable coverage that conceals blemishes and dark scarring, and this leaves a gorgeous matte finish—for £9.99 it’s a winner for us.
bareMinerals Original Loose Foundation SPF 15
- bareMinerals Original Loose Mineral Foundation SPF15 8g, £29 from Feelunique – buy here
We know that when it comes to foundations, you're never limited to just liquids and if you're a lover of powder options then we may just have one that will tick all the boxes.
Bare Minerals has long been offering unrivalled powder foundations that have provided just as much coverage as other formulas. Containing just five ingredients including Bismuth Oxychloride for a luminous finish,(which we can more than vouch for) this blended effortlessly into the skin.
It’s easy to assume that powder foundations mean dealing with unwanted dryness but the Original Loose Mineral Foundation more than diminishes this as it sat super comfortably on our skin.
As well as providing SPF 15 protection which is an asset we love, the shade range on offer is great for a variety of skin tones. If you suffer from blemishes or simply want to cover fine lines, this works an absolute treat and it really is long-lasting.
Simply apply with your favourite makeup brush and work the product into the skin using circular motions and you will be looking picture-perfect and ready to face the day.
NARS Light Reflecting Foundation
- NARS Light Reflecting Foundation 30ml, £37.50 from Feelunique – buy here
We have long been fans of NARS foundations and this one is no exception. The Light Reflecting Foundation combines makeup and skincare to help conceal any imperfections from blemishes to dark spots.
As well as having an impressive range of shades this works to improve the skin’s clarity after six weeks of use. To say this applied like a dream would be a serious understatement; after using a damp beauty sponge this covered all the areas we wanted to be concealed.
The product can be built up to provide as much coverage as you want but a little bit of this makes an instant difference. In case you can’t stand the feeling of heavy foundations, this felt light on the skin and saw us through the day.
NARS vows that this ‘makeup looks like skin’ and we couldn’t believe how natural this looked after application. This product teamed with a setting powder had our skin looking filtered.
At £37.50, this all-in-one, hybrid product is worth every penny and you can rest assured that you are caring for your skin while enjoying the benefits of wearing this foundation.
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