It’s not often that a niche brand reshapes a market, but when songstress-turned-beauty-queen Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty a year ago with a groundbreaking 40 shades of foundation, cosmetics brands took note. These days there’s a shade for just about every skin colour. This month, Fenty’s shade tally has been boosted to 50, while beauty labels are extending their shade ranges into the 40s, 50s and beyond.
Get your perfect match by “testing a minimum of two shades of foundation and a maximum of three,” says Nica Marcello, national education manager at Estée Lauder. And test along the jawline and nasolabial fold. “It’s were most of us need to conceal,” says Marcello.
For a perfect finish, the pros encourage us to enlist a brush or sponge instead of fingers. “We hold oils in our fingers, so depending on the formulation and your skin type, this can mess with the application of your foundation,” says Marcello. “Brushes allow more precise application and less product wastage. It will also allow you to create different finishes, from sheer to medium to full coverage.”
Another tip: “Sponges are great to use afterwards, as they work foundation into the skin, making it flawless,” advises Marcello.
Also, get into the habit of buffing your foundation. “Use a fluffy brush to buff your foundation into the skin,” says Nicole Thompson, global senior artist at M.A.C. “It gives a really nice freshness to the skin while you’re building up the coverage.”
BACK TO SKIN
After seemingly years of full-coverage foundation, we’re starting to see skin shine through again. “We’ve seen so much baking and piling on make-up over Instagram, [it’s refreshing to see] girls with fresh skin,” says Priscilla Ono, global make-up artist for Fenty Beauty. The way to natural flawlessness? Look to the labelling. Descriptors such “natural finish”, “radiant” or “satin” will give you the look and feel of skin. You also want a formulation that doesn’t require too much powder, says Ono. “It means you don’t get that over-powdery, cakey look,” she says.
If once you couldn’t FInd your perfect match, you certainly can now. With brands oFFering up bigger shade selections than ever before, this is your moment to get a re-match.
“It’s weird that it took this long for people to think ‘oh yeah, there are more people out there’," says Ono. "For Rihanna, it’s about making sure every person has their tone, so she’s going to keep adding shades.”
Here are six leading the shade polls:
61 shades - Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation, $58.
50 shades - M.A.C Studio Fix Fluid foundation, $54.
40 shades - Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear foundation, $60.
40 shades - L'Oréal Paris True Match foundation, $29.95.