Ask Steph: Best Brown Girl Foundation


What's the best foundation for women with darker complexions?

Where are my sistas at? (Yes, I laughed writing that!) I know we all know that, up until recently, most drugstore makeups weren't made with us in mind. I vividly remember being a teenager and picking out a shade that I thought would be perfect for me; but when I got home and put it on, my face looked so ashy. So there I was, really wanting to wear makeup, walking around with an ashy looking face, thinking I looked cute. So tragic. I've come a long way. I love makeup. From picking out new products, to trying new lipstick shades, to attempting a contour for the first time … I live for it. But what I don't live for, is the hunt to find the best products for my skin type. Today I want to share the tea, or as we call it here at STJ … "the C" (champagne only please) … on the best foundations for women of color. 

Melanin is a beautiful thing, and the last thing we want to do is enhance it with the wrong foundation. I rounded up a few of my favorites to share with you, some are new to my makeup family, and others have been around a long time. 

What I Use: 

The Oldie but Goodie

MAC - NC45. I love her. I truly love her. She was my first real makeup purchase and has been a staple in my bag of tricks ever since. I wore Studio Tech for years, but recently, a lovely lady at the MAC counter suggested I try a liquid foundation, since my skin isn't oily or dry. I've been a liquid foundation girl ever since. For concealer, I always go a couple of shades lighter than my foundation. Why? Because I want to shine, honey! I like for the area under my eyes to look bright and the perfect way to achieve this is to use a lighter color concealer under the eye. I always set the area under my eye with a matching powder, so technically I use two shades of foundation on my face. Would you watch if I did a YouTube video? I'm no makeup expert, but I know a thing or two for the every day girl. 

The Natural Look

BareMinerals Tinted Moisturizer/Foundation. I've posted about this before, and I'll post about it 100 times more. You can thank me later. Wear it by itself or as a beautiful, lightweight base for your foundation. This. Is. Bae. (Is bae still a thing?) Anyway, you get it. I love this product, probably a little bit more than my MAC NC45. It's so light! When I'm feeling like I don't want to wear a lot of makeup but need to put on a little something for coverage, this is my go to. For under $30, you can't really beat it. 

The OH Hey, Boo Boo!

black | UP cosmetics. I came  across this brand by chance. I wasn't looking for it, it literally just fell in my lap while surfing the internet one day. And I literally said "Oh hey, boo boo!" Instant love. Mad love. Can't get enough love. Made in Paris, you so fancy, love. No but really, they're a brand from Paris, made especially for women of color. I was instantly intrigued. Tell me more, I said, as I emailed the company to find out everything I could about the brand and get connected with their marketing team. (Yes, I don't play … When I love something, I need it! Ha!) I am currently using the contour pallet (ask me if I know what the hell I'm doing) and their tinted moisturizer. Both products are highly recommended. You can find them exclusively at Sephora, which was another pleasant surprise for me. I'm in there every other month replenishing my BareMinerals, HOW did I miss this? Anyway, I'm so glad I found them now! Try them out, especially the bold lippys, you won't be disappointed. 

Many brands and entrepreneurs have paved the way, seeking to create products for women of color, and I salute them. I put together a list of top beauty products that I've seen beauty gurus use who look like me (...African American). I haven't tried them all, but based on the tutorials and images I've seen, they WORK! Enjoy. 


1. Cover FX (liquid foundation)

2. MAC (foundations + highlighters)

3. black | UP (I love the matifying fluid foundation)

4. NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation

5. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

Let's Talk Primers:

I use this one from MAC. It comes in two colors. With my skin color being warmer with gold undertones, I chose the yellow, but there is another color available too. 

With me using my tinted moisturizer as a base, I don't always use a primer, but if you choose to, here is another one I've heard is great!

Thanks so much for stopping the blog today! And WELCOME to the first #AskSteph post of the year! I'm excited to start this series and will be talking about everything from beauty products, love & marriage, life as a woman, friends, family … you name it, it's probably coming. And I can't wait. I appreciate you guys so much!