Finding a foundation match for my medium-dark skin is HARD. If you're a shade deeper than Selena Gomez, good luck finding a product that matches at first swatch. To help out all my NC40+ beauties, I'm embarking on a quest to find the best foundations for medium-dark skin.
If you've seen my makeup bag, then you might recognize this Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick (mine's in Warm Honey). This stick is all-around awesome, meeting 3.5 out of my four Holy Grail foundation criteria.
What criteria is that, you ask? Let me explain...
1. The Shade Match
Obviously, the number one foundation crime is when the shade doesn't match your skin tone. Unless it's matching perfectly, there is no point in buying it, because your Eagle sitch (or reverse Eagle) will be too distracting.
The biggest issue with foundation for medium-dark skin tones, including Indian skin like mine, is finding a product with enough yellow in it. That, and finding a shade that's even dark enough. (I won't get into the inherent political and socio-cultural problems associated with this, but if you want to, read Taryn Charles' amazing piece on xoJane.)
The Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Warm Honey is an impeccable colour match to my NC45 skin. I've been wearing it since April, and it's been a consistent perfect match through spring, summer, fall and winter—a Sephora employee even told me she thought I wasn't wearing foundation (score!).
There are 10 shades that are darker than Warm Honey (and 13 lighter), so this foundation will suit a huge range of skin tones—not just my Indian skin but also Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, African and Asian.
Bonus: My girl crush Mindy Kaling wears it in Warm Almond!
2. The Coverage
I'm obsessed with full-coverage foundations that can conceal my hated hyperpigmentation (because acne isn't bad enough, amirite?). Buildable full coverage gives me the flexibility to cover or to let my freckles show on good skin day.
I know this is asking a lot, but hey, we're talking Holy Grail status here. And you know what? The Skin Foundation Stick comes pretty damn close.
It's a cream formula that buffs easily into my skin, and looks great with one or many layers. I get about 85 percent of the coverage I'm seeking... but as you can see, dark circles and recent post-breakout dark spots still show through a bit.
3. The Longevity
My combination skin has a tendency to dissolve my makeup before my workday is up—yuck. I need a foundation that won't fade (or ideally, crease) within eight hours.
The Skin Foundation Stick lasts for a workday (yay!), but after the eight-hour mark, it does begin to fade. The cream format is great for quick touch-ups, but it moves so easily that I have to be careful not to touch my face to anything, or it will wipe right off.
Like most foundations, this does crease into my smile lines. A trick to reduce the creasing is to apply product around the crease but not actually ON the creases, and then buff (see here for my buffing tips).
4. The Packaging
I insist on portable foundation packaging because that shiz needs to come with me from the gym to work to dinner out. In its sleek black tube with a brilliantly designed stay-on cap, the Skin Foundation Stick can tuck into a purse (or even a pocket). Since it's a stick format, you don't have to worry about it breaking or spilling.
The twist-up stick format also makes it easy to "draw on" your foundation and then buff in with a brush (I use the Real Techniques Buffing Brush). If you're on the go, the cream texture allows for easy finger buffing.
I find the product quantity is very reasonable—my first tube lasted six months. However, once it gets below the twist-up, you'll need to find a blunt tool to scoop out the three weeks' worth of product packed below (I used the back of my tweezers).
The Bottom Line
Now you know my four foundation criteria! Bobbi Brown's Skin Foundation Stick gets an A for offering an excellent shade match, buildable medium coverage, a full day's wear without fading, and outstanding packaging. Really, it might be the perfect foundation if you're not as insanely picky as I am.
But since no beauty product is perfect... here's what I'd change:
The price. This is definitely one of the highest-priced foundations out there. After Nova Scotia's extortionate 15 percent HST, I paid $61.95 (!!). But then I did the math, and it works out to $10 per month or 31 cents a day... which is totally worth it for flawless skin, IMO. So I will continue to repurchase, but I do wish the cost was more reasonable for someone on a budget (because who isn't in this economy?).
Where To Buy
Find the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick at:
- Canada: Sephora, Holt Renfrew, select Hudson's Bay stores
- US: Sephora, Nordstrom, Amazon.com, Neiman Marcus, Bobbi Brown, Bloomingdale's, Macy's
Have Your Say
Have you tried this foundation? Do you, too, struggle with finding foundations that are warm and/or dark enough? Got any other recos?