2016 not 1916: The Foundation Problem – When will cosmetics brands wake up?

Hi Guys,

Hope all is well and Happy Friday! Now, I was going to do a blog post today on my favourite ‘holy grail’ foundations today, but the plan has now changed… basically I was in Covent Garden fixing my iPhone yet again, (don’t ask) I took myself into the Charlotte Tilbury Flagship store in order to get some samples of her Light Wonder foundation to discuss on this planned blog post. Well….. that just changed the whole direction of today’s post!

I’m sure you all have, at some point wasted money on the wrong foundation- sold down the river by a bored sales assistant who can’t be bothered to properly colour match you. You let them put it on, take their word for it & eagerly pay for it, all excited-thinking how good your gonna look on your night out later on, yet when you get out into daylight and catch a glimpse of yourself in a passing shop window or mirror or worse still, when you get home (after walking round all day like either an ashy wannabe ghost or a perma tanned, Donald Trump look-a-like) you realise it- yep, you’ve just wasted £30 (odd) on the wrong foundation!

So upon entering Charlotte Tilbury today, I approached a member of ‘Team Tilbury’ and requested 2/3 samples of this foundation in or around my colour….The sales assistant looked at me pityingly, and mumbled something about needing to check the back for “darker” colours. She disappeared for some time, then came back and I was told… (yet again) sorry but they have NO deeper shades of foundation for samples… all of them gone! Only lighter shades left until further notice! Well…I felt like I saw Covent Garden in 360 degrees all at once, my eyes rolled so far back into my head, in fact, my eyebrows still hurt with how high I raised them. I was alienated from this brand entirely in that 15 second exchange of words. Now, let me just explain one thing about Charlotte Tilbury, I literally only went to get samples to swatch for this blog as I thought readers might like to see it. I know already, that NO Charlotte Tilbury foundations suit my skin complexion- they are all far too orange and there are only about 3 deeper shades anyway, this brand isn’t for me as far as foundation goes. This brand is designed (IMHO) for the caucasian, fair woman. Anyone who doesn’t fit in that very small box needs to look elsewhere (Below i will post a few recommendations for other brands who are more diverse in their range).

Through talking to other beauty lovers in my networks, I gleaned that the issue of a lack of foundations for the darker/deeper skins also exists at the other end of the scale… the very pale complexions too have problems getting the right match (the stunning, english rose, snow white, types). Hardly any brands actually carry foundations that go fair enough for some people! Crazy right? There was me thinking that fair people had it easy…no. They suffer the same problems we darker skinned beauties do. When there are light shades they are all seemingly very red or pinky undertones (actually, this is the similar issue with the deeper foundations). What about the very pale who have yellowish skin complexions?  What are they to do if they are lighter than the lightest shade a brand carries?

This is not the first time this has happened to me, I am quite often told by various brands, they have sold out of all darker shades (either that or I am told none suit me). This isn’t because they are more popular, this is because they don’t carry as much stock in these shades to start with. So not only are the darker shades limited in colour range and usually all red/orange based, they are also scarcely stocked. I am sure the problem is there for the very light shades too. Of the darker shades that do exist, it seems their formulations are often unstable and they just end up orange after being worn for more than a few hours, or some have complained they just go ashy- seems like no love is put in to making such colours.

Foundation Swatches for your comparison

Just so you can see, some differences I have swatched on my arm (which is a slightly different colour to my face but hey ho) some of my selection of foundations that have been colour matched to me by staff in store. What do you all think? Personally my favourites at the moment for me are M.A.C Face and Body in C7 and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in 8.5. The left picture is just slapped on and the right picture is lightly blended into the skin.


In order from top (wrist) to bottom (elbow):-

  • M.A.C NC45 and NW43 Studio Fix Fluid (Good all rounders, large range of colours and shades- nice medium to full coverage, good choice for MUA’s but still too orangey for me personally- 45 in the Studio Fix Fluid is a touch too light for me and 43 is a bit too dark and way to red/pink)
  • Dior Airflash in 600 (lovely application as its spray on, and build-able but bottle gets used up quick, requires lots of shaking and has slightly oxidised in the bottle so is now a bit too dark)
  • Lancome Teint Miracle in Praline (oxidises in the bottle pretty quickly tbh and ends up orange after only a few months, although started off a good summer colour for me)
  • Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk in 9.5 (currently a favourite, fairly expensive however, but great colour match and lovely and dewy)
  • MAC Face and Body in C7 (all round winner, also my current best match and good price point, nice and yellowy undertones for me, great for weddings and flash photography)
  • MAC Matchmaster in 7.5 (wayyyyy too orangey based for me, nice coverage however)

Foundations for different skin tones.

To cater more “unusual” skin tones (pffffttt), I have found a few good reliable and recommended brands which have a huge range with different undertones (pink, yellow and neutral) for you ladies to try:

UnknownM.A.C Face and Body – (£22.00 50ml and £29.50 120ml)

This Foundation works really well for me, and is used by lots of professional MUAs because it has clearly yellow or pink undertones (comes in different numbering system so only in N or C) because its so dewy and light it seems to absorb into the skin and takes on the skins natural colouring (current favourite) can be bought in and M.A.C store or www.maccosmetics.co.uk

Unknown-3Unknown-2NARS- Sheer Glow (£31.00) & All day Luminous Weightless Foundation (£32.00)

For those with deeper skins and yellow or olive undertones- I am recommended this time and time again- one even by sales staff on other counters. Can be bought in store or at www.narscosmetics.co.uk

Unknown-4 Illamasqua Skin Base (£32.50)

This foundation range is the most inclusive I’ve come across- because not only does it go from the very light shades for very pale people to very deep dark shades with a range of undertones it has a literally white foundation which you can add to colour to adjust them as you like (plus I know the guy who built & designed this and he made it clear to me that when he made it he really wanted to be inclusive to everyone  with every skin shade) this can can be found in store or online at http://www.illamasqua.com

I000032520_0.pngMake Up Forever HD Foundation (£29.00)

MUFE has an absolutely huge range of colours and is designed for HD TV (so is great coverage, feels list on the skin has no flashback other perks) the range is massive and goes from the very light to very dark definitely worth a try if you are very pale or deeper. This can be bought in store at Debenhams, Sephora (online for us in the uk) and also PAM London and Guru Make Up Emporium carry it too. http://www.sephora.com, http://www.debenhams.com, http://www.preciousaboutmakeup.com, www.gurumakeupemporium.com

Before I go……

It’s not the 1960s, black people wear make up too, and the world is now more and more diverse more make up brands need to keep up. Likewise they need to cater for the for the very pale. Why hasn’t there been a shift in the cosmetics industry? In my opinion because companies are worried that the darker (or very pale) shades just won’t sell. They will sit on the shelf and expire and will end up being binned at gloss to the company. They are probably right because people who have difficult skin to match, skin which doesn’t fit into the little neat square box cosmetics companies have us in, just don’t have faith in cosmetics brands and therefore they don’t bother to even look and subsequently sales are low. Ironically if they made more shades for deeper or lighter skin tones people would have more faith in and loyalty to the brands and it would sell. It’s a chicken and egg scenario and a sad state of affairs. One can only hope that in the future brands wake up and smell the coffee.

So, some food for thought guys? What are your experiences and thoughts on this topic? What brands do you use and why?

and with that I bid you all farewell for now…..


Mwah xxxx


*pictures from http://www.makeupforeverus.com, wwww.maccosmetics.co.uk, http://www.illamasqua.com, http://www.narscosmetics.co.uk