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Drugstore Foundation Inequality

             When you walk into the drugstore, specifically the makeup section, aside from an array of shiny plastic wrapped lipsticks, and flashy displays, flesh-toned shades pop out, and say, “choose me!” The problem is everyone has a different undertone and a different lightness/darkness to their skin. This makes finding a foundation difficult…especially if you’re near Elsa fair, or darker than Tiana. I wanted to bring attention to my experience in the drugstore, and how shade ranges could be improved!

My Skin

I have fair skin with purple/blue and green veins. Basically fair-neutral! Most brands get this wrong by making foundation(s) too yellow, or too pink, but I really seek lightness over undertone, since a SUPER fair shade is hard to come by! While walking through the different displays, I put my arm up against the shade ranges of several brands, even the ones not cruelty-free, which I point out. Please be aware that the TRUEST way to test a color is by swatching it on your jawline, but I don’t have the luxury of spending $200.00 on products I won’t ever use (hehe), instead use this as a guide to my predicament!

Burt’s Bees

I was excited to try out the brand Burts Bees, but I thought the shade range was a little off. The darkest color is literally a natural tan, and the lightest color is more of a yellow/tan color. I actually felt bad, because of COURSE, I want to find something that matches me…but no way am I spending on a product that will be way too dark! Vice versa, I can see how someone who is darker, would have the same upsetting experience. WE HAVE NEEDS TOO!

Above is their liquid foundation shade range. Honestly, if I didn’t know about undertones, all of these colors look the same to me. Yikes.

Physicians Formula

From the left to where I pull out a “match”, you are looking at LC1, and Lw2, which is Light cool 1, and Light Warm 1. This foundation is supposed to be “healthy” as it’s paraben free, vegan, gluten-free…but it does contain a chemical sunscreen ingredient which would blow me up like a big hive :). Aside from that, online they have a BETTER shade range, than I saw in the store, which is problematic because why were only 5 shades displayed…huh? See the shade range here: https://www.physiciansformula.com/catalog/product/view/id/6457/s/the-healthy-foundation-spf-20/ — if you have SUPER dark skin, I actually would check this brand out being their online range goes pretty DEEP (not dark)!

Maybelline New York

Maybelline, although they test on animals, does have a decent shade range with their “Fit Me!” product line. With over 40+ shades, this was at least more “decent” to pick and choose from! I could see how someone dark would find a shade, and how someone light could find a shade, compared to other brands. This, however, begs the question of WHY do some brands have 40+ shades, and other brands only carry average “in-between” color ranges? I suppose this has to do with funding, how much money a brand has, but to be frank, shade range is what helps people identify, thus it would bring more customers in.


Nyx Cosmetics

This…might actually fit! The Nyx Cosmetics display features a VERY light alabaster like shade, and a deep cocoa like shade (they have deeper on their website). I consider this a GREAT shade range since their Total Cover Drops have several undertones. From the fairest of the fair to the deepest of the deep. The only unfortunate part is that NOT ALL colors were displayed — it’s sorta’ like from the 60’s on Mattel created African American versions of different Barbie dolls, but not many people know this because they weren’t actively on shelves. The same premise follows here. If a product is not on the shelf, how does anyone know it’s there? Total inequality, and a saddening experience. Although, I do understand how some stores cater to the area. For example, if an area is primarily African American, more tan-dark shades will be on display, compared to fairier shades.


I know at some point CG had a Queen line for darker skinned women…and they should have KEPT IT. This is not shade range, Jeaniez. I could not find ON MATCH for me, nor one match for anyone darker than tan, albeit 2 shades were present…but far too less. On their website there is a better shade range present, like the other brands mentioned in this post, however, the “fair” shades are LIGHT, and the “dark” shades are MEDIUM.


There will be a lot of Mulan moments for people darker than the color of paper.


When I need a new foundation and I don’t want to spend a lot of money I go to the drugstore. This process is becoming tedious, however, as brands are not adhering to ALL crowds, the dark, and the extra light, and brands are using ingredients that are NOT GOOD for us sensitive gals. Plus the fact, $14.00 for a foundation to me is no longer drugstore. At this point, it really is worth it to invest in a brand that works for you, in my case Cover Fx, because it is NOT worth it to be upset by shade inequality represented in the drgustore. CYA crappy shade ranges!

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