The beauty industry is not what it once was. With the launch of Fenty Beauty, so many other makeup brands have stepped up their game and finally released decent shade ranges. But for the longest time, this was only something happening at the department stores. You could head to Mac or Sephora and see 40+ shades to choose from when hunting for the perfect foundation.
But what about those looking for a more affordable alternative? At the drugstore, it was common practice to see no more than 15 shades of foundation on display. And even when a brand expanded its range, not every drugstore stocked the entire range. That made it nearly impossible for women of deeper complexions to find their shade match. Buying two foundations to mix is not right or fair when lighter-skinned women can do one and done.
This is not to say that the drugstore has always been a complete flop for inclusivity in shade ranges. Brands like L’Oreal have always had a huge selection of its bestselling True Match foundation (Shop here). But like most brands, that only goes for the most popular products. When launching a new foundation, it starts with a few light to medium shades, and sales determine where it goes from there. As if deeper skinned women are not in the market for a new foundation.
And yes, it is lovely to have always been able to head to your local CVS or Walgreens and see 45 shades of L’Oreal True Match and even 40 of Maybelline Fit Me (Shop here), but it is about time the drugstore amps it up inclusivity across the board.
It is not as if these are smaller or newer indie brands without the resources to expand their ranges. These are major household brands that everyone and their sister have heard of, so it is nice to see some growth from such brands. It is still frustrating that it took this long to see this become a regular occurrence.
When COVERGIRL released its Tru Blend Matte Made Foundation (Shop here), it had 40 shades available. And it is not just a bunch of light to medium with a few darker shades thrown in at the end. At least half the shades in the line are meant for more olive or deep skin tones. This is a big step for the world of affordable cosmetics.
What is frustrating, however, is that if these formulas don’t happen to work for your skin type, other lines from COVERGIRL contain only 12 shades and from Maybelline 16. At least L’Oreal offers 21+ shades in different ranges. Now, what about the other brands at the drugstore? Are they lacking or trying to compete with the bigger names?
NYX Cosmetics has always been a go-getter. Being cruelty-free and having one of the largest makeup selections at the drugstore, it still seems to fly under the radar. Not only does NYX have 45 shades available in the Born To Glow Foundation (Shop here), but it has at least 30 shades in the others. Plus, to improve upon the lines that need more expansion, NYX offers Foundation Mixers so that you can create your perfect shade in any foundation. Unfortunately, someone who can’t find their shade again would have to buy a second product to make it work, but that is better than some brands offer.
As for Revlon, such a classic brand is coming up the rear with 43 shades of its long-loved Colorstay foundation (Shop here) and about 15 in other formulas. The brand recently launched its Live Boldly campaign to empower women from all walks of life, but their shade ranges do not offer as much as others.
Then, Physicians Formula and Wet n Wild, the cruelty-free drugstore brands, are not as inclusive as you might hope. Wet n Wild has 20 shades in its foundation, but Physicians Formula only has 16 in its latest launch, its most extensive range yet. Before this, PF usually offered 2-5 shades which is just unacceptable. So its growth is something to appreciate, but there is a way to go. And of the drugstore brands most stores carry, Neutrogena comes in last place. Not one of its foundations comes in more than 14 shades. With only about 3 of them being even remotely deep, it is not impressive.
Most of these brands still need to increase their concealer shades selection, but if you are looking for a beautiful foundation, concealer, and powder with a great shade selection for an affordable price, look no further than Colourpop. Although these products are only available online now, the vegan and the cruelty-free formula is well-loved by many. Their Hyaluronic Hydrating Foundation (Shop here) comes in 42 shades, the matching concealer in 30. It even has options in pressed and loose powders. And to top it off, the brand makes it easy to find your perfect shade on the website by organizing them by undertone. Now we can cross our fingers that this is just the beginning of a makeup revolution.
A big thank you to brands like Fenty Beauty, Mac, and Cover FX for leading the way for more brands to finally realize that all women of all skin colors want to wear makeup. And if they didn’t realize it before, expanding shade ranges makes everyone happy, including their profits.