From Natural to Shiny: 15 Best Foundations for Dark Skin

Finding the best foundations for dark skin tones requires having a keen eye for details. Often, dark skins struggle when it comes to finding the right foundation to complement their makeup.

Dark skin is rich in shades, and an array of brands offer different shades of foundations for dark skin. You don’t know what brand to trust your skin with, and you need a foundation that would match perfectly. So the dilemma of finding the right foundation arises.

If you want to buy a foundation but don’t know what to get, then you are in the right place.

I have rounded up the best makeup foundations for dark skin that cater to different shades of black skin, even the deepest of shades.

foundations for dark skin

Best Foundations for Dark Skin

Finding your perfect foundation is a blessing you should count on. Not many get lucky. And some, like me, try their luck until finally, they get it right.

This is why you need a guide. If you are looking for the best foundations for dark skin, you can start with this list. They offer an array of features that would benefit your makeup and skin goals.

1. Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation

This foundation provides a natural finish after application. The product is one of the best foundations for dark skin tones because it offers medium coverage and a matte finish.

Also, it is buildable, but it is non-restrictive and frees up the pores. The foundation gives a natural ‘I woke up like this’ finish that is perfect for oily to normal skin types.

The shades are also varying. Out of the 40 shades available, you will definitely find the right one for you. And you won’t have to cash out your saving because it is inexpensive.

2. NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation

This foundation by NARS is also one of the best foundations for dark skin tones because it offers a buildable longwear foundation that is lightweight, fade-resistant, and natural.

The foundation also offers an array of shades for dark skin. This particular shade is one of the deepest shades, which is called Mali. The rich colors are true to the skin and won’t clog the pores.

You can apply it to your moisturized face without a primer. The lightweight foundation won’t clog the pores.

3. Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation

Dark and colored-skinned women thank Rihanna for this innovative foundation. It easily falls into any foundations for dark skin list because there are original varying shades to choose from.

Also, the soft matte finish makes the foundation natural-looking and still creamy enough to glow.

Furthermore, it’s a longwear makeup you might not need to touch up for hours. It’s the best for active days, and you can easily remove the foundation when you are done for the day.

If you want a natural-looking finish if you have oily skin, then this is the brand for you to try out. The only con about this foundation is its price. It’s expensive but worth the money.

4. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation

The name of the foundation already suggests it’s a longwear foundation. The foundation can last for up to 15 hours without needing a touch-up. That is an impressive staying power.

Also, it is resistant to humidity. Even when active or through heat, it sticks to the face. Furthermore, it won’t oxidize on your skin or smudge on clothes.

You can enjoy the lightweight foundation and feel comfortable all day. Asides from this, it is the perfect foundation for all skin types with its semi-matte finish.

5. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24h Wear Foundation

What makes this part of the foundations for dark skin tones is its undertone-defining formula. The foundation is made with considerations of skin undertones.

Also, it contains an SPF of 15. Though this is less than the recommended number a day, it would still provide protection.

Moreover, the foundation is longwear, with an almost perfect finish. Furthermore, it is oil-free, fragrance-free, and transfer-free, and it is non-comedogenic. This makes it the perfect foundation for all skin types, including sensitive skin.

6. Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation

This foundation is meant for full coverage on the face. The thick cream is the perfect foundation for dry dark skins. It is also rich in shades for dark skin tones.

The luminous matte finish is waterproof and won’t clog the pores. You can wear it for a long-lasting period.

Furthermore, it is fragrance-free and organic. It is easy to use on the skin, and you wouldn’t experience any transfer when wearing it.

7. IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation

This is another worthy product under foundations for dark skin tones because it has varying shade options. Also, it considers the skin undertones, providing the same shades with different undertones.

Also, the foundation is fortified with active skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamins E and B5 to hydrate the skin and keep it moist. Furthermore, it clears skin imperfections and minimizes pores with its lightweight formula.

The true-to-skin shades are buildable medium coverage with a radiant finish. You can choose this foundation if you want a natural glow after applying your foundation.

8. Iman Cosmetics Concealing Foundation

This is another top in the list of foundations for dark skin tones. The foundation is highly pigmented and works as a double makeup, acting as a foundation and concealer.

The creamy foundation helps in spot coverage, under-eye dark circles, unevenness, and hyperpigmentation. Also, it offers full all-over coverage, keeping the skin flawless.

The high-definition foundation is soft on the skin. It is a satin finish that gives the skin a shiny look. You can wear it if you want your skin shiny and luminous.

9. L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Liquid Foundation

This foundation is popular for having a wide range of shades for all skin tones, including undertones. It provides medium coverage with a natural finish. Also, it is blendable, making it easy to apply and work on the corners of the face.

Furthermore, the formula is oil-free and fortified with SPF. It is smooth on the skin without feeling pasty or heavy. And you won’t feel your pores clogging.

Asides from this, it illuminates and highlights the face. You can apply with a brush, beauty blender, or your fingers. The foundation is truly a true-to-skin formula that would fit your shade perfectly.

10. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

This foundation is one of the best foundations for dark skin tones because it is a super light and oil-free foundation with a sheer finish. The medium coverage isn’t too heavy on the skin too.

The foundation is known for being easy and fluid to apply. It glides seamlessly on the skin, covering the corners of the skin with perfection. You can also build on the coverage if you want a perfectly even skin tone.

The silky feel of the foundation makes it wearable for all skin types.

11. COVERGIRL TruBlend Matte Made Liquid Foundation

This foundation for dark skin is meant to provide a matte surface with a highly pigmented formula and a flawless-looking finish.

The foundation is long-lasting. You can wear it for up to 12 hours without needing a touch-up. Also, it has a mattifying characteristic that absorbs excess oil and minimizes the appearance of pores.

The product is cruelty-free and safe to use on the skin. You can wear it for a polished look, blending well with your other makeup products.

12. Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation

Stick foundations are easy to apply and carry around. Bobbi Brown Stick Foundation is one of the best foundations for dark skin tones because it is smooth to the face with a natural finish.

The foundation offers full coverage, covering up blemishes and evening out the skin tone. Also, it doesn’t clog the pores or break into patches. The foundation glides easily across the skin surface.

You can wear the foundation if you want a natural-looking full coverage. Furthermore, the foundation is buildable. You can create the kind of illusion you want with it.

13. Iman Luminous Foundation

Iman Cosmetics is one of the best makeup brands for black and colored skin. This is why its Luminous Powder Foundation falls under the best foundations for dark skin.

The highly pigmented product is easy to wear, and you can customize the coverage from sheer to full. However, it offers a sheer finish, looking natural on the skin.

The oil-controlling foundation is great for oily/acne-prone skin types. Also, it can be switched up to a wet formula, depending on the type of coverage and finish you want.

The foundation is lightweight. Furthermore, the texture is fine and thin on the skin. You can get a natural finish with a youthful glow when applied properly.

14. Black Opal True Color Liquid Foundation

The foundation provides a sheer to medium coverage with a natural finish. It is made for pore-perfecting, that is, making the pores look smaller than they seem. The foundation is also lightweight and wouldn’t clog the pores.

The foundation formula is alcohol-free. Therefore, it’s suitable for sensitive skin types. You can wear the liquid foundation if you want a dewy or shiny makeup look. The natural finish makes it easy to blend with other pigmented products.

15. BECCA Radiant Skin Satin Finish Foundation

The radiant foundation is meant to provide buildable medium coverage with a satin finish. It is lightweight and would not clog the pores.

Also, the foundation has antioxidant protection on the skin. It is a silicone emulsion that contains sebum-absorbing components. It would stick to the face and not smudge or transfer.

Furthermore, it has a relatable texture that glides on the face and blends easily. You can close up imperfections as you work on your face with the foundation. It is suitable for all skin types who want a shiny makeup glow.

foundations for dark skin

How to Choose the Right Foundation for Dark Skin

Foundations are not something you pick off a shelf, getting exactly what you want. You have to look closely at many features and characteristics of the foundation you are buying.

These characteristics also have to match your own needs, creating a criteria.

The criteria your foundations have to match varies. However, they are still the same for everyone. You can choose the best foundations for dark skin tones through the following ways:

1. Skin Type

Pick a foundation that complements your skin type. We have dry, oily, combination, sensitive, and normal skin types.

When you want to buy a foundation, but the description is confusing, you should look for the skin type the foundation suits.

For instance, if a foundation is a powder form, it’s most likely meant for oily and combination skin. Also, foundations that are dewy or thick crème are mostly meant for dry skin types. On the other hand, matte finishes are meant for oily, combination, and normal skins.

Buying a foundation requires you to match the product characteristics with yours. And when you match a foundation with your skin type, you have chosen the right foundation.

2. Undertone

Your skin has a natural undertone. You can be warm (yellow, gold), cool (red, blue, pink), or neutral (both warm and cool).

When you have a warm undertone, choose yellow undertone foundations. A cool undertone will go for pink or blueish foundations. And neutral undertones should go for olive foundation undertones.

Going for foundations with your right undertone means you wouldn’t be looking ashy or white. Some brands provide the right foundations for your dark skin, so you don’t have to worry about this.

3. Coverage

This has to do with your choice of coverage and what you want to cover. Some like full coverage, some medium, and other love sheer coverage.

Full coverage may be heavy, so the best is to choose between sheer to medium coverage. However, if you are looking for long-wear foundations, it’s best to use full coverage foundations.

Also, you are to buy your foundations that can be layered or buildable when applied. This allows you to control the coverage.

4. Finish

This is how you want the foundation to look after the application. Foundations can have a dewy, matte, or satin finish.

Your skin type also determines the finish you opt for. For instance, a matte finish is best suited for oily/acne-prone skins. It would stick to the skin without clogging it.

On the other hand, a dewy finish leaves a natural glow, and it’s moist on the face. Therefore, it’s a natural option for dry skins. And a satin finish is in-between. It leaves a smooth and shiny finish.

When choosing your finish, you can opt for the one that would make your makeup look natural and last long on your face.

5. Oxidation

This has to do with how your makeup reacts when exposed to oxygen. It can be caused by a reaction to other skincare products, natural oils, dirt, or oxygen.

It is best to go for water-based formulas so that they would not change colors when oxidized. Consistency is important in picking your foundation. And this would also help your skin stay healthy.

6. Shade

A pro tip: patch test the foundation before buying.

There are several ways to check if you are buying the right foundation shade. But I recommend you swatch on your chest because it is also the color of the rest of your body. If the shade matches your chest shade, then it is the right one for you.

As you all know, dark skin has different shades, even on the body. So, you might have to mix colors to get the perfect shade. Or you can confidently get a foundation shade for your dark skin with a brand that offers a wide range of dark skin shades.

It is imperative to always go for shades that are closest to your skin tone. Not above or below. This way, your makeup will look and feel natural.

foundations for dark skin

How to Apply a Foundation

You can apply your foundation in four simple steps:

  • Paste a sizeable amount of foundation at the back of your hand.
  • Then with your foundation brush or beauty blender, swab the foundation and apply it to your face.
  • Dab lightly, focusing on the corners of your face.
  • Keep layering the foundation until you have the perfect coverage. Then you can move on to other makeup.

For those who would love a tutorial. Here is a YouTube video on how to apply the foundation properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

foundations for dark skin

Do I need a foundation?

No, you don’t need to have one. If you have clear spotless skin, you don’t need to wear foundation.

However, foundations help to improve your overall makeup, giving you a natural look. It improves your face by covering blemishes and blending your skin tone, evening it out.

Can I wear my foundation to bed?

No, you can’t. You cannot wear foundation and makeup to bed.

Makeup generally clogs your pores when worn overnight. This could lead to breakouts or acne.

This is why you should clear your makeup with a cleanser, a wet wipe, or makeup remover before going to bed.

You follow this up by cleansing and using a toner to clear your pores of any grime or makeup still in your pores.

What is the difference between a foundation and BB Cream?

Foundations and BB Creams are quite different. Foundations are pigmented to give your face a natural finish.

On the other hand, BB creams are a beauty blender meant to cover simple blemishes and blend the skin. The formula is usually lighter than the foundation. And they are tinted and hydrating, unlike foundations.

BB creams are meant for simple days where you would prefer simple makeup without wanting to look cakey.

Can I use a foundation as a concealer?

Yes, you can. A full-coverage or liquid foundation can work as a concealer, especially for your under-eye area.

Concealers are great for covering dark circles, but foundations are an excellent substitute. All you have to do is dab lightly the under-eye or spot areas with your pinky finger.

Can I used expired foundation?

No, you shouldn’t. It is recommended you throw your expired makeup out.

Most skincare and beauty products do not have an expiry date. However, they have PAO (period after opening), which is a timeframe for when you can use the product.

Once the PAO has passed, you should throw the foundation away. It could harm your skin if you continue using an expired foundation.

Also, for products that do not have expiry dates and PAOs, once you notice the products are performing less than before, it means they are at the end of their shelf life.  

Will my foundation cause acne?

No, it doesn’t. Foundations do not cause acne.

However, if used incorrectly or not taken off at the elapsed time, it could cause breakout due to your pores being clogged.

Also, acne-prone skins should cultivate the habit of using primers before adding foundations. A primer acts as a barrier to the skin.

Furthermore, using the wrong foundation formula could cause a breakout. So make sure you are using the right foundation for your skin type.

foundations for dark skin


Makeup is important in some people’s daily lives. This is why they need the best makeup foundations for dark skin.

I have provided a list of the best foundations for dark skin tones, but Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Foundation is my recommendation. This is because it offers a perfectly natural finish, and it is longwear.

Also, it doesn’t clog the pores because of its lightweight properties. And it is the perfect price for a great product. You can wear it without having to touch up regularly.

However, all the products in this list can hold their own, so you don’t have to worry if your foundation soulmate is not this.

If you keep in mind your shade, skin undertone, skin type, and the finish you want, you will obtain the best foundation. You need to find a matching product with these factors. Every other thing is secondary.

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