The Foundation Fiasco

Anyone ever try to buy foundation at a Sephora or Ulta or worse yet, a drug store and find themselves constantly bombarded with hundreds of options. Matte, dewy, undertones, coverage levels. I have multiple degrees and still feel like I need a translator to deal with this nonsense. Understanding how to color match foundation requires the blood of 3 virgins under a full moon on the leap year. At least that’s how it feels.

Enter the beauty gurus. The YouTube set has gone to work testing foundations on our behalf, explaining what undertones are, doing wear tests and more so we can have a clue but why does the industry make it so difficult to find a match. And that’s without covering the politics of shade range (or lack thereof) that most companies carry.

The debacle of Beauty Blender Bounce foundation of 2018 taught us a valuable lesson. No matter how revered you are in the industry for other products, if you dip your toes into the foundation world. Keep up or get out. The Fenty Forty has become the new standard as to what is expected as a baseline shade range offering with a wide variety of undertones and of course by our beloved Rihanna from Barbados.

Caribbean women more than others come from a huge range of multicultural underpinnings and often to do not fit into the standard shade ranges offered by most companies. The Fenty dynamic as changed our world because it has forced other companies to catch up. My daughter is a mix of Spanish and Indian and will have a challenge finding something in the future because she doesn’t fit into the typical shade range options.

2019 holds some promise. We have seen Beauty Blender announce a range expansion, Morphe just launched 60 (yes that’s not a typo) shade range line with concealer and setting powder to match. And Fenty the innovator has just added powders, concealers and even more to their shade range.

Special mention here to Beauty Bakerie, an innovator in her own right that reversed the typical naming of shades with darkest being the primary listed shade and moving towards lighter instead of the other way around. I have not yet had the good fortune to try the product myself but look forward to making it a part of my testing going forward.

As a result, inspired by @thataylor of YouTube who does phenomenal series called foundation Friday (the woman is a foundation testing machine) I will be starting a series of foundation reviews that keep in mind the unique usage that most Caribbean wearers will be accustomed to but no YouTube guru could begin to test for. How on earth do we explain to them what a breakfast party is (starts at 4 am and ends at 10am) or a Carnival Monday – that’s a true test. So stay tuned.

I think if nothing else, what last year taught many companies is if you are getting into the game, make sure you can at least keep up with Rihanna or step out of the lane, you will get run over.

Minor update Jan 8th – just saw the Alissa Ashley review of these foundations, concealers and powders by Morphe. A must view for an honest opinion and a confirmation of everything written above. I will still source my own for testing and will keep you updated.

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Categories: The Battle for Beauty

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