when i was a teenager and i wanted to wear makeup, i remember going to the supermarket and picking up some cover girl or maybelline, doing the best i could to make my skintone. a few months later, i was having some skin issues, so my mom took me to macy’s and specifically two counters: clinique for their 3-step skincare program and fashion fair for foundation. fashion fair was created in the early 70s by eunice johnson, founder of the ebony fashion fair (and co-founder with her husband of the johnson publishing company), an annual fashion tour. backstage at the show, she noticed that makeup artists were custom mixing shades because cosmetic lines did not come in colors for the models, so she started fashion fair to address the needs of women of color. as i got older, i continued to use fashion fair, but many other cosmetic lines, like revlon and l’oreal were signing ethnic models and expanding their lines to include more shades. then in the eighties and nineties, prestige lines like nars, mac, and bobbi brown came along, and because they were started by makeup artists who had long worked with all skin shades, their collections were inclusive from the start.
while fashion is passion of mine, i am fascinated by beauty and advances in makeup. i love reading violet grey, the beauty lookbook, makeup and beauty blog, and into the gloss to keep up with new releases and must-have products. because i have combination skin that skews on the oily side, i’m constantly on the hunt for a good luminous yet mattifying foundation (yes, this sounds like an oxymoron). i also have quite a collection of mascara and love trying out new lip products. more and more makeup artists and skincare aficionados are coming out with new lines, my standby’s are changing formulas for the better, and i’m also into discovering smaller companies (like from my recent trip to veer and wander in hayes valley, that carries rms beauty and ilia). however, it bothers me that many of these newer lines and some of my old favorites have cut their color ranges. for example, my holy grail of foundation, chanel mat lumiére, was recently replaced by perfection lumiére velvet, and the latter only comes in nine shades compared to 12 for the former and 20 shades for perfection lumiére, the non-matte version. a trip to space nk to try a few more unique brands yielding a salesperson saying “the shades don’t go deep enough for your skin.” in the collage above, i’ve featured a few makeup lines’ darkest shades and clearly they aren’t deep enough. how frustrating when you have money to spend and you’re told, sorry the colors only go to here. haven’t we gotten to the point where it’s clear that a multitude of skintones is here to stay?
do you have issues finding makeup shades that are deep enough—or light enough—for your skintone?
product photos via veer and wander, barneys.com, bergdorf goodman, space nk, eve lom; collage by me