The 16 Best Foundations for Dark Skin, According to Experts, Editors and Reviewers

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The search for a new foundation can be difficult. You have to factor in your skin type, coverage level, formula and most importantly, your skin tone. Though the latter may not be as challenging for everyone, for those with darker skin tones, it's an ongoing issue as even some of the biggest makeup brands still offer limited options for deeper complexions.

Luckily, many brands have become more inclusive over the years and now offer 50+ shade in their collections. Need help sorting through them all? We asked eight experts and editors (and dug through reviews on Sephora and Ulta) to find the top foundations for dark skin.

Meet the Expert

How to Find the Right Foundation for Dark Skin

“When shopping for a foundation, you have to consider the coverage and texture, as well as your skin’s needs,” says Snagg. You’ll also want to keep the finish in mind (i.e., is it matte, dewy or satin) and your skin type (i.e., dry, oily or combination).

Next, you’ll want to identify your undertones to find the best possible match for your skin. There are a few tricks to figuring this out. The most common (and easiest) way to check is to look at the color of your veins. If you have blueish veins, then you have a cool undertones. But if you have green veins, you have a warm undertone. And if you have a mix od both blue and green veins, then you have neutral undertones.

If that all seems too complicated, you can also head to your closest Sephora, Ulta or any other beauty store and pick up a few different samples of foundation that appear to most closely match your skin. Apply a swatch of each along your jawline and blend it in gently with a beauty sponge (or your finger). Wait a few minutes for it to settle into your skin, then step outside into some natural light (standing near a window is fine, too). The one that disappears into your skin is your best match.

It's going to take some personal testing, but help you narrow down your selection to start, we spoke to eight Black women (and did a deep dive into some online reviews) to find the 16 best foundations for dark that complement darker complexions.

The Best Foundations for Dark Skin At a Glance

Most Hydrating

1. Skin By Mented Cosmetics

Mented Cosmetics

  • Why We Like It: Black-owned, buildable coverage, natural finish
  • Shade Range: 16
  • Key Ingredients: hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf extract, grapeseed oil, vitamin E

If you have dry skin, this foundation aims to deliver solid coverage and hydrate your face without leaving it cakey at the end of the day. It's formulated with hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf extract, grapeseed oil and vitamin E, which provide a lightweight coverage and a natural finish. “I personally use this one on myself and it’s always in my makeup kit for clients. It has a wide color range for women of color, along with great coverage and finish,” says Snagg.

  • Why We Like It: Black-owned, natural finish, medium coverage
  • Shade Range: 36
  • Key Ingredients: polymers, amino acids, diamond core powder

Whether you’re looking for sheer or full coverage, this foundation is easily buildable for any occasion. The formula features a serum-like complex of polymers and amino acids that add moisture and shine to your skin. It also includes diamond core powder to give your complexion a soft blurring effect. The price tag is pretty steep, but reviewers say it's worth it for the precise shade match alone. “I hate this foundation. I hate it because it's freaking perfect and it's $70. Honestly, [it’s] the best foundation I've ever worn. It matches my skin perfectly, stays on well and mimics my skin. At first, I was thrown off because the formula is watery, but don't be fooled, babes—the thinness is part of the magic. The mother of makeup has struck gold with this one,” shares one shopper.

Great for Oily Skin

3. Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow

Armani Beauty

  • Why We Like It: oil-free, medium coverage, natural finish
  • Shade Range: 39
  • Key Ingredients: glycerin

This liquid foundation brings out your natural glow. Its oil-free formula blends nicely for a medium coverage finish. The brand’s micro-fil technology claims to improve your skin’s texture and reduce the appearance of any dark spots and hyperpigmentation over time. “As someone with oily skin, the Armani Beauty foundation is great at minimizing my pores. It has a great shade range and it has an amazing long wear,” says Micaéla Verrelien, a host and content creator.

Great for Combination Skin

4. Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place

Estée Lauder

  • Why We Like It: 24-hour wear, matte finish, great for oily and combination skin
  • Shade Range: 56
  • Key Ingredients: glycerin

No one does long-wear quite Estée Lauder. Shoppers praise the foundation’s lightweight finish, calling it a favorite to wear—even on the hottest days. “It’s full coverage and a little goes a long way. I have combination skin, so this foundation is perfect, and I live in Florida, so matte foundations are typically my go-to! I highly recommend this for those who live in hot/humid areas and are looking for a good matte foundation that is going to last [all day],” shares one reviewer.

Longest Lasting

5. Dior Beauty Forever Skin Glow


  • Why We Like It: 24-hour wear, SPF 30, medium coverage
  • Shade Range: 42
  • Key Ingredients: iris extract, hibiscus extract, wild pansy extract

While we don’t condone wearing foundation all day and night, we do appreciate Dior’s 24-hour claims. Made with iris extract to prevent oxidation, the formula also features hibiscus and wild pansy extract to renew skin and restore hydration. “It’s a very lightweight foundation and I use it for daily wear. It makes my skin look like, well, skin. As the warmer months approach, this is the perfect foundation for those no-makeup makeup looks,” says Verrelien.

Smoothest Coverage

6. Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Luminous Foundation

Huda Beauty

  • Why We Like It: 24-hour wear, full coverage, matte finish
  • Shade Range: 39
  • Key Ingredients: meadowfoam seed oil

If “filter” is in the name, we’re expecting a smooth, blurred base. Reviewers say it delivers on that front—and then some. “I love this foundation. [It’s] a full coverage foundation for sure and some might not think for everyday use, but I can [use] half a pump and cover my whole face! I’ve had other foundations that claim to be full coverage, but this [one] is truly that! A little goes a long way and does the job well,” raves one shopper.

Lightweight Formula

7. Bobbi Brown Skin Weightless Foundation

Bobbi Brown/Zainab Hassan

  • Why We Like It: 16-hour wear, SPF 15, medium coverage
  • Shade Range: 41
  • Key Ingredients: glycerin, marine sugar cane extract, octinoxate

With over 1,000 five-star reviews, this lightweight foundation is a fan favorite for its skin-like coverage. It’s formulated with mineral powders to control excess oil and glycerin to boost hydration. The formula also has SPF 15 to protect against UV rays. “[This foundation] is tried and tested. I love how user-friendly it is and how it blends seamlessly with other products,” says Zainab Hassan, a makeup artist and content creator. “It works well with my skin type and many of the brand’s products are skincare focused, so they have a comfortable coverage, which I love the most.”

Most Customizable

8. Uoma Beauty Say What?! Foundation

Uoma Beauty

  • Why We Like It: Black-owned, soft matte finish, buildable coverage
  • Shade Range: 51
  • Key Ingredients: glycerin, berry extract

The brand has six distinct formulas based on skin tone (i.e., very fair, fair, olive, rich tan, brown and deep brown) that span across all 51 shades in their comprehensive range. As a result, each foundation is customizable to fit your coverage needs. Infused with hydrating ingredients like glycerin and mixed berry extracts, it aims to hydrate the skin and conceal any redness and discoloration, too. “Uoma Beauty Foundation is smooth with a velvety finish. The foundation does not feel heavy at all [and it] provides excellent coverage. [It] smooths my texture and gives a hydrated look without being dewy. Highly recommend it!” shares one reviewer.

Natural Finish

9. Smashbox Studio Skin Foundation


  • Why We Like It: 24-hour wear, oil-free, medium coverage
  • Shade Range: 30
  • Key Ingredients: hyaluronic acid

This liquid foundation feels like a second skin. Made with breathable polymers and hyaluronic acid, the oil-free formula offers buildable, comfortable and oxidixation-free coverage. “I love that it’s easy to apply and it gives me a natural glow. There have been several times where I wore it and people couldn’t tell I had any foundation on,” says Nakeisha Campbell, associate editor of entertainment and news at PureWow.

Suitable for Daily Wear

10. Too Faced Born This Way

Too Faced

  • Why We Like It: natural finish, vegan, oil-free formula
  • Shade Range: 35
  • Key Ingredients: coconut water, alpine rose, hyaluronic acid

With 7,000+ five-star reviews, it’s no surprise this foundation made the list. The ingredients include coconut water, alpine rose and hyaluronic acid to boost hydration, so it wears comfortably on your skin. “This was a perfect shade match for me, which rarely happens. I love the coverage and that it’s buildable. I feel like I can wear it for everyday looks. It looks natural, but I can also build it for a fuller coverage without it looking cakey. As someone with oily skin, I love that it’s oil-free too and it actually lasts on my skin without breaking up or getting shiny” says one buyer.

Most Comfortable

11. Fenty Beauty Eaze Drop Skin Tint

Fenty Beauty

  • Why We Like It: Black-owned, light coverage, natural finish
  • Shade Range: 25
  • Key Ingredients: silicones, glycerin, talc

While the Pro Filt’r remains a staple for many because of its extensive shade range, don’t underestimate its successor: the Eaze Drop skin tint. Infused with Hydrablend complex (aka glycerin), the formula feels lightweight on the skin. “Since I like to do my makeup on the lighter side, I love using this skin tint. It has a natural finish and it doesn’t feel like I’m wearing anything on my face. It’s such a staple in my makeup and it’s a total lifesaver in the summer months (especially in NYC heat),” says Karelle McKay, assistant editor of entertainment and news at PureWow.

The Internet Favorite

12. Haus Labs Foundation

Haus Labs

  • Why We Like It: natural finish, medium coverage, hypoallergenic
  • Shade Range: 51
  • Key Ingredients: fermented arnica, medicinal herbs blend, antioxidant blend

When Haus Lab introduced their foundation in September 2022, it went viral immediately for its impeccable coverage and 51 shades. Fans appreciate the lightweight formula, which features fermented arnica, a plant filled with antioxidants to reduce redness and irritation. “This is the best foundation I’ve ever used! [I] was able to obtain full coverage with two pumps of the product and it went on very smoothly. [Plus] color match is spot on and it feels like skin,” adds one shopper.

Best for Dry Skin

13. Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Foundation

Rare Beauty

  • Why We Like It: natural finish, medium coverage, great for oily and combination skin
  • Shade Range: 48
  • Key Ingredients: lotus extract, gardenia extract, water lily extract

This lightweight foundation is a great pick for dry skin. It uses a botanical blend (aka lotus, gardenia and water lily) to nourish and soothe any dry patches. “When I was looking for a lightweight foundation, this became my go-to. [It] blends really well with my skin tone [and] looks natural. For days I want fuller coverage, the formula delivers on buildability,” says Stephanie Sengwe, features editors at People.

  • Why We Like It: 24-hour wear, full coverage, waterproof formula
  • Shade Range: 37
  • Key Ingredients: vitamin E

There’s no need to spend loads on foundation with NYX right in front of you. Shoppers can’t stop talking about the full coverage, which is waterproof, transfer-proof and comfortable to wear all day long. The key ingredient—vitamin E—protects the skin, while the pigmented formula covers any blemishes and dark spots for a seamless finish. “The color of this foundation is spot on. The color and undertone match my skin completely. [It’s] full coverage and isn’t blotchy. This [foundation] doesn’t have me looking oily and it doesn’t dry out my skin. Overall, I’d recommend this foundation for anyone because the price and quality is out of this world,” shares one reviewer.

Great for Dull Skin

15. NARS Natural Radiance Foundation


  • Why We Like It: 16-hour wear, radiant finish, full coverage
  • Shade Range: 34
  • Key Ingredients: raspberry, apple and watermelon extract

Are you dealing with dark spots, redness or uneven skin tone? This foundation promises to conceal and improve your texture over time. It’s infused with a blend of fruit extracts (like raspberry, apple and watermelon) to smooth and brighten the skin. "My first impression was that the shade looked like it didn't match [my skin tone], but once the color settled in my skin, it was perfection!" says Monica Veloz, a beauty YouTuber and content creator. “I love how I can wear it as a full coverage moment or build it up to give me variety [for any look]."

Suitable for Travel

16. Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation


  • Why We Like It: 12-hour wear, waterproof, full coverage
  • Shade Range: 32
  • Key Ingredients: candelilla wax

This stick foundation checks off all the boxes: long-wear, coverage and its waterproof formula. However, it's the unique design that sets it apart from the others on the list. The triangular and compact design makes it easy to glide onto the skin and pack the foundation away for any touch-ups on the go. "I love the Hourglass foundation. It's so smooth and looks like perfect skin after it's applied, especially for deep rich skin tones," says Brandy Allen, celebrity makeup artist and Black Beauty Roster expert.

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Chelsea Candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...
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