6 Makeup Brands with 40 Or More Foundation Shades

40 or more foundation shades

On Friday Fenty Beauty launched with 40 foundation shades. Imagine if all beauty brand launched with 40 or more shades of foundation?  The reception to Fenty Beauty has been positie from all skintones.  Despite the fact that it oxidises, people generally seem to think it is a good foundation.  Props to Rhianna for showing the beauty industry what can be done when your intention is to be reprasentative.  There is as much excitement about the shade range as there is about having a piece of Bad Girl RiRi in your hands and on your face. The joy of being able to go to counter and pick one or more shade to to fit your complexion needs is something special if you have spent years, searching mixing and blending to create your perfect shade.

40 or more foundation shades

The pro makeup artists amongst you are probably rolling your eyes.  Graftobian and other pro brands also make a plethora of shades.  True, but the majority of makeup wearers are consumers.  The expectation is that you will get your shade from the department store or high street shop.  Rhianna has done an amazing job.  I wish her all the success and I plan to buy her foundation once the furor has died down.  However, Fenty Beauty is not the only consumer makeup brand to have a truly representative shade range.  Forty seems to be a bit of a magic number with foundations – these brands have forty or more foundations too.

Cover FX

The Cover FX Pressed Mineral, Compact Cream and Natural Finish liquid foundation ranges  are availabel in 40 shades.  The brand creates shades with pink neutral gold and some olive undertones.  Cover FX are one of my favourite complexion brands. Why? Because they really focus on skin and do it well.  If you are struggling to find your shade in your preferred formula they are a brand to check out.

40 or more foundation shades


Lancome were one of the first ‘designer brand’ ranges to extend their shade range.  Then they made Lupita N’yongo a brand  ambassador.  Most recently their launched their Teint Idole range with 40 shades.  If you can get past the floral scent of the foundation, the finish of the skin is really lovely.


I am not a MAC head.  I have a problem with the fact that very many women of colour are told they are NW45 when many of them are not.  However, I have to give credit where it is due.   For a long time MAC was the only place  but, credit where it is due for a long time, MAC was the only place where I could go with my mates and all of us get colour matched for a foundation. Studio Fix Powder  has 53 shades and Studio Fix Fluid has 46. I’m not necessarioy a fan of the foundation textures, but  MAC know how to create a complexion colour.

40 or more foundation shades

Estee Lauder

When Eunice Johnson creator of Fashion Fair  approached Estee about making complexion products for women of colour she said no.  Clearly the brand reflected on this and many years Double wear is in the UK market with 50 shades.  Estee Lauder claim that Double Wear is the best selling foundation in the UK.  If the product was sold with a pump I would be more likely to try it!

Makeup Forever

Makeup Forever is another one of my favourite brands.  The Ultra HD Foundation is a product that I bought in the liquid and stick forms and whichever formula you prefer, it is available in 40 shades.   Before they were launched in Debenhams, I used to buy it from Guru Makeup Emporium but with Debenhams up and down the country they are an accessible option for complexion shades.

40 or more foundation shades

Some Observations

You will have noticed that none of the brands with 40 or more foundation shades are ‘affordable’ or ‘cheap’ or ‘drugstore’ or under £20.  If your skintone falls outside of the middle mainstream, you usually have to pay more for your foundation.  The other thing of interest is that Lancome is is part of the L’Oreal family and MAC is part of the Estee Lauder  family.  How can it be that only one  brand out the  portfolios of these ginormous cosmetics power houses make 40 or more shades of foundation?  Is it really the case that brands within the house of Lauder and L’Oreal don’t share formulas and expertise?  Hmmm.

Final thoughts

Fenty Beauty is not a completely independent brand.  It is part of the Kendo group which was previously affiliated with Sephora.  Fenty Beauty is a sister brand to Kat von D (30 shades in the UK) and Marc Jacobs (20 shades in the UK) beauty lines.  Kendo group is part of LVMH which is the parent of Makeup Forever and Benefit Cosmetics.  Defiinitely something to keep in mind next time a brand tells you that a your skintone is ‘difficult to make’ or doesn’t sell’.

Read more of my opinions about the beauty industry here and here.  Follow me on Instagram for mini beauty news and reviews.

  • Nay Mattis

    This is an interesting post! I love and use ELDW and Mac Studio Fix Fluid but they are pretty much the only matches that I can get for my skin tone. There is nothing more affordable which frustrates me. Interesting to see that Fenty Beauty is part of the same group as Marc Jacobs – which I refuse to buy as none of the foundation colours are even remotely suitable. Clearly it is possible to produce shades…

    I think the fact that so much fuss is beimg made about Fenty Beauty’s diversity reflects a really sad fact that even in 2017 women of colour are not fully represented in the beauty industry. I hope this changes before my daughters are old enough to notice this too.

    Great post!

    • Jo

      Hi Nay

      Glad you liked the post. I love how Fenty is making brands reassess their offer. I’m ‘lucky’ that the deepest shade from Marc Jacob works for me, but there is definitely room for his range to be significantly expanded and his undertones could be tweaked slightly too. I would really recommend Cover FX, I think that they are really underrated as a brand. I have not used Studio Fix for about 20 years but the shade range is impressive. Fingers crossed we see a change soon!



  • I love when brands release tons of shades as it means you can really get a shade that is true to you. This post was really helpful, thank you:)

    Emily xo

    • Jo

      Hi Emily

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with you! A slight difference in undertone can make a huge difference on the skin. Glad the post was helpful!


  • Jessica

    This was very helpful. It hurt bothers me when brands don’t cater for different skin tones. But I’m only supporting brands that do or creating my own.



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