Brown Girl Issues: Finding the Right Foundation


There is no doubt that finding the right foundation can be a real chore especially when you are a Woman of Colour. According to a report by Mintel WoC spend over £70 million on beauty products but sadly that is not reflected in the offering in the shops or online. Jane Akodu is a pharmacist by profession and self confessed product junkie by night. She is also the founder of Absolute Kolor which is an online store that holds beauty products for WoC. She talks about her brown girl issues in finding the right foundation and offers some tips to finding the perfect product. As a self confessed makeup junkie, I'm always on the hunt for the right foundation. My first experience of shopping for a foundation was at the MAC store many moons ago. At the time I hadn't a clue as to what I wanted in a foundation. MAC was the popular brand besides Fashion Fair that catered to women of medium to darker skin tones. And I remember the MAC makeup artist picking a shade which she felt could work for my skin tone, demonstrated how to apply the foundation and with that the sale was complete. After a few wears I noticed that it didn't work for my skin tone. The colour on my face didn't match my neck as it had gotten darker, my skin felt oily and overall I did not like the look and discontinued use of the product.

Over the years I have gotten to experiment with drugstore brands from L'Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon to high end brands - Bobbi Brown, Chanel and Illamasqua. And in my quest I have learnt that selecting the right foundation is not just about finding the right shade. There are other factors to take into consideration when it comes to selecting the right foundation:

Skin Type Get to know if you have dry, oily, combination or sensitive skin. I have very oily skin so I know a product that is cream or emollient based is not a suitable choice for me. As a general rule I go for products that are oil free or water based.

Different Seasons In the summer months or I've been away to a sunny destination, my skin goes darker as I develop a tan, and in the winter months I lose the tan. So depending on the amount of sun exposure or lack of it to my skin, I alternate between lighter and darker shades of foundations containing SPF.

Formulations Foundations come in different formulations. There's liquids, powder, cream and cream to powder. The type of formulation you go for is down to your skin type as well as individual preference.

Coverage This is also down to individual preference. Foundations provide different level of coverage from light to heavy. I always opt for a light to medium coverage foundation. Depending on the look I'm going for I can build it up by applying layers or tone it down by mixing it with my facial moisturiser if I'm going for a more natural look.

Undertones This is the key to finding your perfect match. Foundations come recommended for cool, neutral and warm undertones. Once you've figured out your undertone, select foundations with the same undertone as your skin and test test test! When testing, swatch the foundation on your cheek or on the side of your neck and make sure you test your foundation in good lighting both indoor and outdoor.

Once I've selected a suitable foundation in my shade and for my skin type, I usually ask for a sample or I ask the makeup counter assistant to apply the product to my face so I can wear it for a few hours to see how it fits my skin. At the end of the day, if I am still happy with the look only then do I return to the store to make a purchase.

My advice when it comes to selecting the right foundation, is to know what you want in a foundation and to not be afraid to ask or find out as much information about the product before making a purchase.

You can follow Jane on Twitter.