The Problem with Drugstore Foundation


I'm picking up my fourth bottle of L'Oreal True Match, hoping that this will finally be The One. I tell myself I can just mix it. Surely some combination of the shades I have will give me the True Match I'm after? 

The mission was simple: find a drugstore foundation that I was happy to wear. It didn't have to be Holy Grail status, it didn't even need to be one I'd reach for over my high-end products; it just had to decent enough that I wouldn't feel self-conscious or uncomfortable wearing it. However it became something much bigger than that.

I've not really struggled much to find a match in high-end foundation and my only mishaps have really been with ordering online. I'm not saying my favourite brands will definitely cater for every single skin tone but they try. It's unfair as not everyone can afford to spend £30 on foundation every couple of months. I have a medium-warm skin tone but in the 50% of cases where drugstore foundations have a shade dark enough (I'm usually the deepest one they offer), they simply don't seem to understand the importance of undertones. Or they do with most shades but when it comes to darker shades it all goes out of the window. And don't forget: pale people have pink undertones. Always. They often tack on a shade miles darker than the next lightest that's invariably neutral or pinkish in tone as if that's adequate. 

The drugstore has come on a lot in recent years but they still don't seem to want to cater for me, as someone who is pretty much slap bang in the middle of the colour spectrum. Instead of developing yet another neutral eyeshadow palette, why not invest in researching how to create wearable foundation shades for more skin tones? The only way I can walk into Boots and buy a good foundation in the right colour is to head to the Estee Lauder counter and that sort of defeats the point! At best brands like Bourjois and Rimmel treat women of colour like an afterthought and at worst they treat us like we don't exist. 

The most annoying part is that in many cases the brands do have a wider selection in the US but it doesn't translate over here. Personally, the argument that they're 'the most popular shades' doesn't wash with me, as they've never even trialled anything else. The shades for caucasian skin (that's not too pale and doesn't have especially strong undertones, either warm or cool, obviously!) are inevitably going to sell because it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many women have long given up on the drugstore because it simply doesn't want to sell to them. Obviously if I could get a great foundation for less than £20, I would, but these brands have sent out the message that they don't want my custom. As you can see from my stash (bearing in mind these are the ones that looked ok-ish in the shop and didn't get passed on right away), it's not through lack of trying! 

I've decided once and for all to put my money where my mouth is. Buying products I know aren't right is rewarding these brands for only catering to a very narrow range of skin tones so from now on, I won't be doing that. The best way to vote is with your wallet and if brands start noticing their sales declining, they won't have much of a choice but to listen to people. As a bit of depressing fun, I've come up with this highly scientific chart to display the problem!


The OK

L'Oreal

I don't want to bash L'Oreal too much as they do seem to try a bit in their True Match range. However even within that range, the allegedly warm-toned 'w' shades stop being warm at all after around shade 4 and are pinkish or neutral colours from there onwards, which makes no sense whatsoever! I have W4 and N7 in the old range, N6 and W6.5 (as W6 doesn't seem to exist...) in the new range but none of them or any combination of them is quite right. The  The Lumi Magique foundation comes in just a handful of shades, all of which are quite yellow in tone. The darkest or second-to-darkest shades seemed the closest match to me. The Infallible Matte has to be the worst offender, however. I wear the darkest (30 Honey) of the tiny number of shades and it's so pink-toned and so much darker than the next one down that it looks extremely 'off' on my skin and mixing the shades isn't an option.

Revlon

This is a brand that does sort-of ok(ish) when it comes to light and dark shades but doesn't seem to 'get' undertones at all. All of their foundations are neutral and pinkish in tone. I have the Colourstay for Combination/Oily Skin in 330 Natural Tan and the formula is superb, perhaps the best in the drugstore but it's let down by the shades (bizarrely the colours in the Normal/Dry Skin version don't even match up to this range). Worryingly, I've also noticed my local Superdrug seems to now only carry the lightest 4 shades on the Revlon stand.

NYX

One of the rare US import brands whose shade selection has come across the Atlantic with it! It's not really a drugstore brand unless you live in Manchester (I believe this is currently the only place to have a NYX department in Boots) but I'm struggling here... All their products seem to come in an ok-ish number of shades and I was just a tad darker than the middle shade in the Stay Matte But Not Flat foundation (despite the name sounding very appealing, the formula was disappointing).

The Bad

Rimmel

Rimmel's shade selection varies wildly depending on which product you pick up. Many of them I never even gave a chance as I swatched the darkest shade only to see it was still too light. I only have the confidently-named Match Perfection, in 402 Bronze. Needless to say it is not 'perfection' for me as it's a too dark and the next shade down is miles lighter.

The Terrible!

Bourjois

Bourjois seems to churn out new foundation formulas that come in about 5 shades every other month. Their efforts would be better spent expanding the colours in the foundations they already have. A lot of people complain that Bourjois foundations are too warm. All the shades I have from them are either the darkest shade or second-to-darkest shade they do and they're always very neutral in tone and much darker than the next lightest colour. Air Mat is probably the worst offender (I wear 5 Golden Beige) as 3 of the 5 shades all look pretty much the same! They're also all quite orange in tone. Even the cult favourite Healthy Mix (I wear 56 Light Bronze) is pretty poor. It seems to come in a lot of shades but they're all clustered in a very narrow segment of the spectrum. Finally there's the CC cream, which I wouldn't expect to come in as many shades but again I'm the darkest out of a colour selection I could count on the fingers of one hand. Sorry to be repetitive but again 34 Bronze is too neutral and considerably darker than the next shade down.

Collection

I've never been able to buy any of their bases as they're all miles and miles too light. I did get the Lasting Perfection Concealer though (the darkest shade, of course...) and it's way too pinkish in tone for me.

Although I've included options from Soap & Glory and Sleek in the image, they don't really do many base products so I felt like I couldn't make a reasonable judgement on them. Soap & Glory does one foundation that comes in a disappointing 5 shades, however it only came out a couple of months ago so I sincerely hope this is going to change. I have the shade Caramel, which is ok on me. Sleek no longer do a proper foundation, just a CC cream, which has an ok colour match for me (Light). It doesn't come in that many shades but seems to cover a decent amount of the spectrum within that. Maybelline and Max Factor seem to have ok selections in terms of light to dark in most of their products. However, the undertones of their bases are erratic. You can pick up one shade that's a bit too light but has the right undertones, go up a shade and it will have completely different tones to it. For that reason I've never found a decent foundation from either of them that even looked ok enough in the shop to give a try.

I feel as though the situation hardly ever gets talked about, it just seems to be something we accept. This was a topic close to my heart but it still took a lot for me to post my thoughts. At the end of the day though, being true to myself and sharing these experiences is far more important that 'brand relationships'. 

So now it's over to you. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments but I'd also love you to tweet me your experiences of trying to find an affordable foundation that matches (whether you're pale with yellow undertones, brown-skinned with reddish tones or anything in-between!) Make sure you use the hashtag #DrugstoreProblems so I can go back and read through it all in one place.

I wouldn't normally say this but given the pretty damning findings in this post, if Boots, Superdrug or any of the UK arms of specific brands highlighted in this post would like to respond then please do. My email address is jasminestewart1193@gmail.com and I'm more than happy to share your responses with my readers.


What's been your experience finding a decent drugstore foundation?

 


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147 comments

  1. I love your post, your chart is my favorite haha :) I agree that drugstore brands don't really improve their formulas and it seems like they either want you to look pink or orange. I'm very pale and I have only found 2 drugstores foundations that match me, to my surprise they are both low budget. One is the Essence Pure Nude Makeup Foundation nr 10 and the other is the 2B Colours CC cream in 01 Nude :) Have a nice day! Xxx

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    1. Yeah they have very odd ideas on human skin tones haha xx

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  2. It is so true. Drugstore brands have the worst colour selection. I am by no means dark, but I am not light either. I can never find a good drugstore foundation that I wear on an average day. Most days I find they are too red undertoned or sickly yellow. I am not a neutral undertone, I have yellow, but I am not jaundice! Often I have to reach for the darkest shade, but even then, I am left wanting.

    Angie | Chocolate & Lipstick | Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle Blog

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    1. I feel like I need some of the sickly yellow ones you've picked up :') I can never seem to find anything that's not neutral, pink or orange. Though I can sort of 'get away' with an orange base it's not ideal! xx

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  3. I completely agree. My friend is Jamaican and told me about her struggles buying foundation, and I ended up taking her to the Estée Lauder counter. The assistant was of similar colouring and found her a match straight away, and my friend loves it! She shouldn't have had to spend £30 just to find a foundation that matches her skin tone though. Thanks for referencing pale people too; I have very fair skin, but with yellow undertones. I find it such a struggle to buy drugstore foundations, as they're too pink! The only two I've had any lucky with are the Revlon Colourstay one and Vichy Dermablend xx

    Laura | Lala London: Beauty & Lifestyle

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    1. Yeah Estee Lauder really seem to have it down, drugstore brands need to watch and learn! I did actually find a decent match in Vichy Dermablend, though I don't even really consider it drugstore I feel like I need to start counting it so I can have one to include in drugstore posts! xx

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  4. This is so true! It's so annoying :(
    Could you pleaseeeee check out my blog
    http://allthingsbeautyfulxo.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1
    I only started yesterday, let me know what you think xx

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  5. I couldn't agree more. I must have purchased SO many drugstore foundations over the years and I only ever found one that came close before giving in to MAC foundation. I know it's twice the price but it does the job and I never have to reapply - I still get drugstore mascara and eyeliner though! Awesome post, thanks for sharing your thoughts xx

    Sophie Elizabeth
    www.popcornandglitter.co.uk

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    1. I agree, by the time you've spend £10 on 3 ropey-looking drugstore foundations, you may as well have found your perfect match in a more expensive one! I do like the drugstore for stuff like eyeshadow, mascara etc. but I will be steering clear of their bases going forwards xx

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  6. I love this post! I have been screaming this from the roof tops and nobody ever seems to hear me, the drugstore does not cater to every woman of every skin tone and colour as it should and in this day and age it is absolutely unacceptable.

    I've never been able to get a match in the drugstore and it is actually so sad, I'm not that dark and I feel as if the drugstore completely excludes women of colour, it shouldn't be allowed at all

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    1. I know - it's almost as though we're so used to it that we don't kick up enough of a fuss about the issue. And I agree, I always think 'if I can't find a match, what about everyone else with a deeper skin tone?' :( xx

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  7. Completely agree with this post! I have, however, found 2 foundations that are a pretty good match for me, and I'm NC42 if this helps anyone. Bourjois City Radiance and L'Oreal True Match.

    Nikita | nikitabatavia.com

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    1. Wah I've tried both of those and had no luck - thanks for the suggestion though! I think it's as I'm NC40, the NC42 equivalent would be a tad dark but the next one down way too light. The struggle! xx

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  8. Your little chart give me a giggle but is so true! Bourjois are the worst! I'm not even that tanned and some times I'm the second to darkest shade! I'm fortunate that I don't often run into trouble colour matching in the drugstore. But the definitely need to sort it. They cant just sell the most 'popular' shades! xx

    www.lpagebeauty.com

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    1. Bourjois are just delusional about the range of human colours :') I swear they're release a new foundation in like 5 shades and 3 of them will all look the same...xx

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  9. I have a similar post coming up towards the end of the week (but more about that later). I have since given up hope on finding good drug store foundations because they can be very awful at shade matching. I do have to admit a few brands are waking up to smell the damn coffee but I think they need to put in more effort!! I love this post and I can only imagine the difficulty you would face for your beautiful complexion. Have you tried MaxFactor? I spied that they had somewhat expanded their range!!..xx

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    1. I will definitely be reading that one! I've tried with Max Factor but never reached the point of purchase as their undertones and shade number don't seem to make much sense. Maybe I'll revisit them as that was a good month or so ago! xx

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  10. It annoys the hell out of me how drugstores in different countries only import certain shades of the range. Over here in Belgium, it is quite impossible to find a drugstore foundation that's pale enough for the palest people in town, even I have quite some trouble with that and I'm not even the palest person, but I have no clue how they are so ignorant for the "porcelain" shades that literally just don't exist in Belgium. It annoys me so much, when I know these shades DO exist in other countries not even that far away. Kind of the opposite problem but again, they don't know a thing about undertones. Bourjois foundation are always too dark and too orange for me, I bought the Air Mat in the lightest shade they had over here which is 02 Vanilla, which is so super dark for most people over here, It's crazy. I'm more of a neutral undertone so some can also be too pink toned as well (l'Oréal Infallible Matte is right on the border, their shade 11 Vanilla is slightly too pink for me but I can work with it). It's such a struggle to find a good colour match! I feel you!

    Love, Charline | Charline Has a Blog

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    1. I feel exactly the same - if they have the full range in one country I don't see why they can't have them in all countries! It's so frustrating! xx

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  11. I am normally the palest shade available but I have a yellow undertone to my skin which most drugstore brands don't class as 'pale' so I find it quite difficult to find the appropriate shade! I must admit though that I haven't tried hard enough to look because Nars Sheer Glow do the perfect shade for me and I'm in love with it so I can't see myself wearing anything different for a long time haha! It would definitely be interesting to know if you do eventually manage to find a shade from the drugstore that does suit your skin tone :) xo

    Char | www.charslittleblog.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Charlotte do wear gobi in sheer glow? I really want try them but not near a NARS counter :)

      http://www.makeerinover.co.uk

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    2. Yeah Nars always seems to get it right with bases :) I hope drugstore brands wake up and realise that undertones are just as important to how light/dark a base is xx

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  12. I'm lucky enough to be able to find match with drugstore foundations but I agree that their undertones are so erratic, that even for me can be a challenge to find something that matches me perfectly. I can only imagine the struggle for women with darker or very pale complexions! x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

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    1. It's so hard to tell what the tones are in Boots/Superdrug too, I kind of wish it was like the US and instead of testers you can buy the product, try it at home and return it if it's not right xx

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  13. While i am lucky enough that i do find a decent enough colour match in the drugstore i still fully agree with you. When i enter my work place or take a stroll through the city i see women of all colours on a daily basis, so drugstores should stop pretending that they would not be able to sell a higher variety of colours. It is also a way of making people feel like they do not fit in. I fully agree also with a previous poster which said that its even worst in Belgium. If you enter a drugstore here you could think all of Belgians have exactly one skin tone. In Germany the range is a bit better and in the UK its still the best i have seen within europe, and still my UK based indian friends can barely ever find a decent foundation.
    I think that first of all brands should become more inclusive and a second idea would be to bring out more of shade adjusting drops like body shop released recently, that way atleast everyone can mix their own foundation. I would love even more if some brands would get to the idea to do it like when you buy paint. Get your shade matched and then get it mixed freshly at the counter (then again i guess that has hygiene issues). But well any idea is better than the current situation.
    Until the brands get their shit together i can recommend Kiko for darker skin tones. They are not so amazing with lighter skin tones but since they are italy based i guess they have more experience with the medium and darker skin spectrum and they are very good quality and very affordable.

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    1. It's so bizarre - I do sometimes wonder if the people making these decisions have ever stepped out of their offices and looked around! It's depressing that the UK is the best as it's still so poor :/
      I love the idea of getting a shade custom-mixed - you should make that a business haha. I will definitely check out KIKO - I love their products but their closest store is a little away from me so I order online a lot (and as a result don't buy many base products) but I definitely will do when I'm next there! Thanks xx

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  14. I am so happy someone finally wrote about this problem. We bloggers comment about this all the time, but never make a proper post out of it. I have the opposite problem of being pale and all the lighter drugstore foundations have pink undertone. Gosh! It's like they've never heard of neutral and warm light undertones. I'm actually warm and all foundations in our local drugstores are too dark for me. Literally all. I can make some work, but I generally always have a bit darker foundation. It's so annoying. I know how it must be for women of color, since they don't offer anything over a usual medium Mediterranean skin tone. And again with the undertones. You would think that companies that have been on the beauty market since 19th century would actually take time and learn about consumers... I also think it's distributors fault, because I don't get why we have so dark foundations in our drugstores, when most of the people are a lot paler in our country. It seems like they didn't research it at all. Such a shame..

    Love your post! I hope it reaches all the people that it should and that it finally gets for the better.

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    1. Yeah we've sort of got into the habit of saying 'the shade selection is a bit rubbish but anyway...' when we really shouldn't have to! It's depressing that the world has changed so much in the past 10-20 years but I have a hard time believing that affordable foundation shades have! xx

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  15. Great post, Jasmine! As a very pale person, my own personal experiences are of foundations being too dark, but hey, at least there are shades being produced en masse that are close to my own skin tone! I remember one time when I went shopping with a friend of a similar skin colour to you and everything was either orange, too light or too dark (you know, the one size fits all token dark shade) and it was really eye opening.

    Thank you for calling companies out about this - everyone deserves to feel beautiful, not just people with a handfuk of skintones x

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    1. I completely agree :( it sucks for anyone who can't afford that £30 for a high-end foundation and teenagers buying makeup with their pocket money xx

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  16. GIRL PREACH!!! this is so sad but true. I live in manchester too and I will go to boots/superdrug and walk out disappointed. Why?? because they do not cater for dark skinned girls like me!! And if they do, their shades never seem to work with my undertone & make me look a bit red! Its just annoying, in america they have a large spectrum of shades to choose from but the uk is truly slacking & needs to up their game. Overall effort is just poor! So glad someone is finally talking about this!!!!

    hope xox // B'BB

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    1. It's so poor, I agree, and it's important we kick up a fuss a bit on these things as unfortunately I don't it changing otherwise xx

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  17. I couldn't agree more with you, so well put! I'm extremely pale and even the high end ones I struggle finding the right shade. My problem is with the undertones too. The companies presume all pale skin is pink in tone, especially the awful drugstore brands. I'm actually neutral to warm, and that's a struggle. Nars do some great pale ones but they're either too pink or too yellow. Plus I have a nightmare with the formulas from most places because I have extremely dry and sensitive skin (it's a result of having Fibromyalgia- it's messed up my skin). So foundation buying for me is just a nightmare. I've been using Mac studio fix fluid for years now. The colour isn't perfect but it's the best I've found, same with the formula. It's not great but it has to do as all the others I've tried (and there's alot) are much worse. It's about £22 I think but lasts me a very long time so I don't mind. Drug store brands really need to sort their colour range out though. Katie xx

    www.thestyleblossom.com

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    1. Oh dear, I generally find MAC and Nars fairly good, though I can imagine how hard it is to find a base that's a) the right shade and b) doesn't irritate your skin :( xx

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  18. That is a great post and I couldn't agree more, especially for Bourjois, for which I'm the most frustrated as their formulas are awesome! As a very pale girl ( yet I want to add that I know a lot of people paler than me, how do they do? ) it must have been two years now that I haven't purchased a drugstore foundation! A French blogger once explains in a post that this problem was all due to the actual room on the counters and displays!

    http://fannyanddailybeauty.com

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    1. I know right, I always hear how great the formula is but never get to try it myself xx

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  19. Finally someone has said it! I make do with the drugstore purely because I don't have the money for high end, but the undertone situation is the most ridiculous thing ever. It's like the drugstore brands don't even really think they exist. I'm a pretty pale person so I don't have it too bad, but if a brand released a whole line up of every shade of foundation possible, can you imagine how well it would do? x

    Jodie // Jodie Loue

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    1. It really sucks to have to make do :( and I know! Setting up a Kickstarter so I can release that foundation haha xx

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  20. I am actually so chuffed to see so many people agree, I actually already have a post scheduled next week based around this but from the pale end, I am going to tweet you a picture from it!

    My problem is I am pale, but not pink and not orange. I am definitely yellow in undertone, but for some reason drugstores do not get this in any way. They are either pink or orange, so I have given up.

    The pic I will tweet you is the standard palest shades from the drugstore, most of them "Ivory"

    The worst offenders for me are Rimmel, Maybelline and soap & Glory. Some high end ones are shocking for shade range too (Chanel & YSL are not pale enough)

    Basically if you are not Beige,they are never going to suit you!

    http://www.makeerinover.co.uk

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    1. I saw your picture! I think it's ridiculous that they all are allegedly 'Ivory' lol - I would much prefer numbered shades (like NC40 etc.) that actually tell you what the shade is supposed to be over flowery, descriptive, misleading shade names xx

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  21. I do agree with you and although I have been quite lucky as I am pale I can only imagine how hard it can be. I guess the worse thing that when buying drugstore you can't really get a sample or get it tried on your face like you can with the higher end foundations. Great post though!

    Pams Stuff and Things

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    1. I wish you could try them at home and return them like in the US! xx

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  22. It's so hard to find a match foundation so true...

    www.brooklynglam.com

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  23. This couldn't be more true, love the diagram! Im really fair so I am usually one of the two lightest colors, some are yellow though which doesn't work out! The only one that has been alright for me is true match, since with the lighter shades they do have them with pink undertones.

    Side note, I have never seen true match in a pump, only the lumi!? Im in the US.

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    1. Must be another random regional difference haha it's always had a pump in the UK as far as I know xx

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  24. For sure we have a big choice in drugstores, but the choice is hard!!! I tried so many drugstores' foundations .. I upgrade my choice every time, as I never find the perfect tone to me. So sometimes, i go with one and mix it to my day cream to give it a lighter effect or sometimes, i mix it with another one foundation to have a warm result. Well When I have the foundation that fits me one day, I find it is hard to match the concealer to it!
    I hesitate to buy something more expensive as I am afraid that few days after trying it, I will be disappointed!! and I agree that we can not put 50 $ each couple of month in just a foundation.
    I am trying the Revlon foundation for pics, and it is not so bad but a little too light for me!

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    1. I would definitely recommend investing in something high-end if you can! xx

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  25. Glad someone spoke on this! Being a woman of colour makes it worse, I've just given up on the drugstore. However, although L'oreal and Revlon are so biased with their shades here in the UK, they have such a wide variety of shades in the US :( They defo need to step it up here! Just gonna have to stick with higher end brands for now sigh xx

    www.pamelahoney.com

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    1. Yeah it's beyond annoying seeing they do have those shades they just don't let us have access to them! xx

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  26. This is always my problem I'm pale skinned and I just never seem to fit a shade to match, it doesn't help with the lighting half the time in the shops! Like you say there seems to be such a big jump between shade colours, true match is the only one which I find does work for me! It's really hard to actually know your own skintone half the time as there's never actually anything which matches! The beauty market is so big now you think they would take it on board and realise the potential for sales if they had a wider range. Your on to something here, maybe bloggers should unite, we would make such a fab line of makeup through all out trailing!

    Lucy | lucyalana.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I know right - if I could find a good drugstore foundation I would be in a monogamous relationship with it and repurchase forever! xx

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  27. Preach it sister!!! This is a fantastic post. Seriously though, how is it so hard to branch out the shades?!? I LOVE LOVE LOVE your diagram ;) and I agree. I always waste my money on 'trying' out products and thats just gambling to see if the shade will work before we even get to the formula. And alongside that, I think I often overlook a bad match (Bourjois 54 in Healthy Mix) just because I spent the money on it and I like using it rather than it being truly made with someone like me in mind. We definitely need to make a united stand against this obvious and ridiculous discrimination, on both the lighter and darker ends of the spectrum.
    Sal UmmBabyBeauty | @ummbaby

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    1. Yeah I feel like I've wasted so much money on bad matches too :( it's so frustrating xx

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  28. Oh wow this post is so on point! Even though I have a paler skin tone, as an Asian I certainly do have different undertone to Caucasians. Sometimes I just give up and end up wearing shades which make me look 'white' - if you know what I mean? I live in Manchester and the NYX counter is always a mess so I usually shop online after swatches in shop - if I could find any left to swatch that is! Your chart is just the cutest I love how creative and original your posts are! Love every bit of this.

    https://beautifulappreciations.wordpress.com

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    1. Thank you lovely! I know what you mean, it's probably a more yellow base you need, like me, but the drugstore is useless at that :( xx

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  29. Fantastic post. I love that chart, it's funny but harsh reality as well. I too struggle with the drugstore foundation, either the shade is too dark or the collections darkest shade will be too light for me. I hate that I am left with nothing but creating my custom shades with the foundation I have :/ And Bourjois, I dont have any hope for that brand!! Loved the post :) :*

    Makeup Revolution Concealer review | Curious And Confused Me

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    1. It's been said time and time again about Bourjois by much bigger bloggers than I and it seems it falls on deaf ears every time :( xx

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  30. Hi Jasmine,

    I always wonder everytime I read your foundation post, why you opt for dark shades while (based on your profile photo) you appear way lighter than your foundation shade. I was guessing you're around NC25-NC20 in Mac, but turns out you're wearing much darker foundation shades XD

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    1. Hi, I'm not really sure whether to be offended by this... I think that, as someone who looks at their face everyday, I know what colour I am better than people who haven't met me looking at one photo of me. A photo in which I definitely look nowhere near NC25 (never mind NC20!) regardless of lighting or whatever else, which makes this comment quite odd. I wear foundation that matches the colour of my face/neck (I am half black, by the way) and no one online or in real life has ever suggested it looked the be the incorrect (let alone that dramatically) so I don't see what this comment is trying to get at.

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  31. I have a similar issue with drugstore foundations. I'm super pale and I find that the drugstore just doesn't go light enough for me, mostly the lightest shade will just look orangey and completely wrong. As much as I want to save money, the cheapest option for me is buying high end foundations that actually look good on my skin rather than trying loads of different shades of drugstore options

    Emily xx | emilyclairewrites.com

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    1. I agree, by the time you've tried 3 dodgy drugstore foundations, you may as well have invested in high-end :/ xx

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  32. I felt quite sad reading this post as I can only imagine how frustrating it can be. I've never had much problem with finding a foundation to suit my skin tone, although sometimes they can be too pinky or too orangey. I hope someone from a drug store brand see's this and can give you some answers. Something definitely clearly need's to be done x

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

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    Replies
    1. I felt quite sad writing it to be honest and even more so reading everyone's comments :( xx

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  33. What a nice point of view! Very well said dear! :)

    Www.mommyrockininstyle.com

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  34. I can't remember the last time that I tried a drugstore foundation. I don't think I've ever found one to even remotely match my high end so I would rather buy a foundation that I know will deliver good results & save money elsewhere! Really great post! xx

    Beautylymin

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    Replies
    1. I know what you mean, it sucks that so many of us have had to completely rule it out as an option :( xx

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  35. I always struggle finding the right drugstore foundations because I'm always the palest shade and they almost never do the pale shade with yellow undertones which is what I need! I've just bought a new one from Boots No7 range and I'm hoping it turns out to be my new holy grail drugstore foundation :)

    Just Little Things xo

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    Replies
    1. I've never tried No7, maybe I'll have better luck there as they're slightly more premium xx

      Delete
  36. I have to agree with you and everyone else! I'm one of those 'lucky so and sos' that has a really generic skin colour and tone but many of my friends have such trouble finding darker or lighter but yellow toned foundations. You'd think it'd make sense for at least one drugstore brand to come up with a comprehensive shade and undertone range (I'm looking at you loreal, not like you can't afford it..) as we'd all go flocking! Great post lovely

    Barely There Beauty

    xx


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    1. Yeah I'd be so on that if they did! (and totally agree L'Oreal have more than enough funds to do a little research...) xx

      Delete
  37. Very interesting thing to highlight - i have the opposite problem as i'm too fair!
    www.theforeveredit.com

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  38. This is definitely a good point you make here. The shades that they offer are always 50 shades of pale, it seems, but most of the time, I can't even find a pale one to match me! I can't imagine what it's like to have deeper skintones, that just must be a pain.

    brooke | brooke elise

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  39. I love this post so much. I'm in America, and it's no walk in the park at our drugstores either for women with dark skin or pale skin (like me). I am like super super pale, plus I have a pink undertone. I don't exist to some brands, and it's so frustrating. It's not just at the drugstore either. Too Faced doesn't even make a shade for me in their Born This Way foundation. I love using that one on clients, but when it comes to pale and dark skin, it sucks that I can't use it.

    Xo,
    Emily | EMBUR.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I can't find a shade in that one either :( especially unacceptable as it's high-end xx

      Delete
  40. Preach! The only drugstore foundation I am completely happy with is Revlon ColourStay and I wear Buff the second lightest shade! Totally agree, brands don't cater for darker skinned girls at all and even the lighter shades I swatch are usually so pink or orange toned they are unwearable for me!

    Danielle's Beauty Blog

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    1. It's such a good formula, it kills me I can't wear it :( xx

      Delete
  41. I find it completely bizarre that we're still having the same conversations about a lack of decent foundations for black, mixed race etc women as me and my school friends were having back in the 1980's. It's 2016! Well done for raising this, I hope it makes a difference. I don't want my daughter having the same conversation with her mates in a few years time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Completely agree! This is exactly how I feel - I remember that as soon as I started wanting to wear makeup my mum marched me straight to MAC as the shades from the high street were so unsuitable. I can see myself having to do the same if I ever have a daughter in another decade or so :( xx

      Delete
  42. I've been so frustrated with drugstore foundations lately! I'm the palest person ever, I've got oily skin and yellow undertones and I've just come to realise that the drugstore has got nothing to offer me. It seems as if all foundations have red undertones in them and the ones that have got yellow undertones are way too dark/orange for me. I don't know what kind of people the drugstore foundations are for. There are hundreds of shades for basic caucasian skin tones yet I and so many others can't find a match. And there are none for deeper/darker skin tones, literally none! Who are they making these foundations for?

    www.saarasofia.com

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    1. I often wonder how many people can say they walk into the drugstore and can wear most brands xx

      Delete
  43. Unfortunately it's a problem for us pale girls too! I have very, very pale skin - but it's olive toned (yep, don't ask me how that's happened!). Even high-end is difficult, and I've had makeup professionally done where SIX foundations have been mixed to make a colour match. Unfortunately I just don't think there will ever be something for everyone, though they do need to be made more accessible! x

    NINEGRANDSTUDENT: A Student Lifestyle Blog

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    1. I feel like if companies can invest in a million different shades of brown eyeshadow they should be able to do the same for human skin tones xx

      Delete
  44. I was lucky enough to find my perfect match with the Cover Girl 3in1 Outlast Stay Fabulous foundation. No other has matched me quite like that one. Give their range a go! <3

    Tahana

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    Replies
    1. Sadly they aren't available in the UK, though I think Max Factor is similar I'm not sure they have that product xx

      Delete
  45. Great post! I hate that the selection of shades in the drugstore consists of about 5 up to 10 shades only that are always pink based especially here in Aus. When I've asked why because they think that we are all have a pink undertone. These drug store companies need to pick up their game.

    Ang xx |www.alleluiatobeauty.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. I've wasted so much money on bad matches over the years. Most of the time the drugstores don't even put out testers. If they do, it's often just one of the "medium" shade. And I am actually in the demographic that is catered to, being a fair/light neutral skin tone. There's no consistency within a brand, either. You may be an ivory in one type but a classic ivory or a fairly light in another formula.

    I think it also comes down to what the cosmetic department decide to stock and that is often baffling. I'm in Canada and my neighborhood is very ethnically diverse. Yet at my nearest supermarket, which carries only Cover Girl and onlyba limited stock of that, they don't stock any of the Queen collection. They have a very fair-centric assortment of lip and cheek shades as well. It's the same story at my closest Shopper's as well, 85% of the product is catered to 15% of the customers. This is an issue that touches on many broader social problems. So, yes, good for you for drawing attention to this. It's time for change.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I almost prefer the North American system of being able to try the products at home then return them if they're wrong as so many times I've swatched foundations in-store and they've looked ok then been awful when I tried them later :(

      And totally agree, even within the same brand the shade names are confusing and inconsistent xx

      Delete
  47. Reading your post I realise how true this is...I have spent my life trying to find the perfect drugstore foundation, I tryed every single brand, in many colors and didn't found any match. If the colors seem to be close sometimes, the formula is not for my skin and the other way arround, if the formula is great, you won't find the perfect color. I can only wear the L'Oreal True Match 5N, but only in a good skin day, this foundation accentuates dry patches.
    Thank you for your post. It feels good to know I'm not the only one haveing this problem.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I'm exactly the same - it's like searching for something that doesn't exist in reality. And totally - the one or two times there's been an ok shade the formula has been rubbish! xx

      Delete
  48. I always seemed to have a similar problem with concealer, I spend tons of money trying to find the perfect drugstore concealer, but would never go high end as I couldn't justify the price. But I realised I'd spent about 10x more trying to avoid high end! Surely that defeats the point of being drugstore and affordable? I have pale, cool toned skin and I find Bourjois are always the worst. I can't believe they think 5 shades can suit the whole population!

    Kirstie | Behind The Scent

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    1. I completely agree! I've learnt the hard way just to stump up the cash for my perfect shade. And I know, the more you think about it the more ridiculous it is! xx

      Delete
  49. I completely get what you mean I feel like I have a really awkward skin tone to match with foundations and usually only high end brands have the widest range of shades with one that works for me!

    Lauren Ashleigh xx

    ReplyDelete
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    1. That's what I think - I just don't think that perfect drugstore base exists for me xx

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  50. I completely agree with you. I don't want to splash out £30+ on my foundations, especially when I'd have to wear it everyday for uni and that. But L'oreal's true match rose ivory is still too orange for me and it is the lightest shade and I am pale as hell! Hopefully I'll find a better one soon. Great post!

    Anything & Everything | Bloglovin'

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  51. I love the chart you showed and "the world according to bourjois" made me chuckle! The drugstore shade ranges are never the best. Being a pale girl they never go to light enough and I don't feel I should have to splash more cash on a high end foundation just because my skin is lighter. I actually did a whole post on this a while back because while I understand it's a money making business, they should cater for more people!
    Sarah x
    http://www.saraheliza.co.uk/2014/07/too-pale-for-beauty.html

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    1. I agree - we're their customers and we're sending a pretty clear message, I don't see why they don't change their ways xx

      Delete
  52. Fortunately I'm one of the pale-skinned people the drugstore seems to cater to, but I do notice a lack of darker shades in the foundations! While many seem to have every pale skin shade possible, their medium and deep skin tones are definitely lacking. I really like your idea of boycotting drugstore foundations. I've never found one I like, anyway!

    www.beautyfromkatie.blogspot.com

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    1. Yeah it's time to stop 'settling' I think! xx

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  53. I seem to fair okay with drugstore products, but that is mainly because I fake tan and dont match to my true skin tone which would be so pale a shade for me wouldnt exist!

    The amount of shades a drugstore brand offers varies, but you can see as soon as you walk into Boots or Superdrug that mixing shades is going to have to be an option.

    I definitely think some investment needs to be made in creating more shades!

    Lauren | Shynature.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. To be honest, not even mixing shades works even if you're within the range they cater for, never mind the huge % of women who are completely invisible to these brands xx

      Delete
  54. That is a lot of foundation!!
    My suggestion is to stop buying drugstore brands. Go to a make-up counter and get an expert to colour match you. Considering all the money you have spent on cheap ones that you can't wear, you'll be saving money by buying one perfect one for you.

    http://a-woman-of-a-certain-age.com/2016/01/chanel-2/

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    1. That is what I have been doing. As I said in the post I've got several high end foundations that are perfect matches. My point is that I shouldn't have to pay £30+ to have something I can wear and not everyone can afford to do that

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  55. I love your blog Jasmine but this has been my favourite post I have read. I think it's terrible the way drugstore/high street brands do not cater to other skin tones, in this day and age it should be changed. Personally, as my budget has grown I have realised how much I dislike the formula of drugstore foundations and whilst I have a lot of them in my collection I very rarely gravitate towards them because I much prefer the finish of Nars and CT! I hope that 2016 will be the year drugstore brands change.

    A lovely read and very insightful. Thanks for sharing.

    www.kirstyjennifer.com

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    1. Yeah I know what you mean, foundation has been the one investment |i've just gritted my teeth and put up with, even when I was 15! Here's to hoping xx

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  56. I HATE that we can't even test out any drugstore items too. I am very very pale with neutral undertones (I hate pink and yellow undertones) and although I know it's not the same issue you have, I understand your struggle. I really like the formula of drugstore products, but they do need to work on their colors.

    Nereyda│ This Girl Is Obsessed

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    1. Yeah there have been so many where I've liked the formula so it's been gutting the shades were rubbish :( xx

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  57. This was a really interesting read! I really hope brands see articles like this and get their act together, I have a friend with dark skin and she says the exact same thing! Its terrible!
    Katherine Rosie | Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

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    1. Yeah :( when you've got a medium skin tone like me and you can't even find something you know the situation is bad...xx

      Delete
  58. You pretty much hit the nail on the head with this entire post! As someone who is super fair with yellow undertones, finding a shade in my exact color at the drugstore is pretty much impossible. Every single pale shade offered has a pink undertone, and doesn't start getting yellow until the 3rd or 4th shade in which is now too dark. So I either go with something too dark and try to fake a tan, or something that looks pink and incredibly weird against my yellow body :( It's very frustrating, I couldn't even imagine having a deep skintone!

    eightbitbeauty.blogspot.com

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    1. It seems they only get yellow around the middle (of the drugstore shade range) as the darkest and second darkest shades are never very warm either! xx

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  59. It's awful that drugstores don't cater for darker skin and get away with it!! Great post :) more people should be writing to the companies and demanding darker shades. Need a Twitter storm.

    I don't have dark skin but I do have a fairly yellowy undertone that I find hard to match. Oddly bourjous is one the few that does. Loreal is far too pink for me. So I really wish they'd research more about undertones too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. It's odd as most of their foundations are yellow-based but not the 'dark' ones xx

      Delete
  60. haha yes! as someone with pale pink toned skin, trying to find suitable foundations can be a nightmare. i can often find the right tone in a slightly darker foundation but for some reason the palest are always far too yellow toned. The best ive found are by GOSH (Superdrug) who also do darker shades and No7 in Boots
    the other issue i have is with oxidisation, where ill find a pale enough foundation and within 10 minutes of applying the colour oxidises with an orange tone! (NYX im looking at you!)
    ive actually found a solution to darker but right tone and that's using white drops by a company called Entropy Life cosmetics. They also do a yellow and brown mixer.

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    1. Yeah I do have some shade-adjusting drops though I do think they change the formula and coverage a little (and they cost £30 in themselves anyway!) xx

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  61. I've never really had this problem with foundations because I'm so pale there are normally ones which cover the right paleness for me!
    Charlotte // charlottespicks.blogspot.com

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  62. My problem with drugstore foundations is the same with high end, I h=can not find a foundation with an olive undertone (not yellow, green!) that is pale enough for me. I totally get you! My solution: Skip the foundation altogether, and wear concealer. Lol

    RachelShuchatMakeup

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    1. Haha I wish I could get away with that, you have lovely skin though! xx

      Delete
  63. Arrrrrrgh!!!! You killed me with this post! Friiiikin spot on!!! I don't particularly enjoy having to dish out £30+ on my foundation (no matter how much I love them) because the drugstore products assume WOC only come in 3 shades. I've bought so many drugstore foundations to only end up throwing them away or being dashed to the bottom pike because it's way off my skin tone or oxidise as hell. Thank you for raising this bugging problem for a lot of people, and I hope you do get a reply from some of the brands.xx

    Http://lauralivinglife.com

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    1. I love my high-end foundations but I agree, I can't help but resent the fact I have to spend so much, it's always a nasty surprise when it runs out and I know I have to stump up £30 right away! xx

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  64. You should have a look at The Body Shop Fresh Nude foundation, they have a big selection of shades with lots of different undertones ranging from pink to red and it's a beautiful foundation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had a look at that one but couldn't find a yellow-based option that was light enough xx

      Delete
  65. I understand your frustration! I am quite fair and even though my mom is Welsh I have Warm undertones because my dad is Spanish and Salvadorian. Drugstore shades are always too pink for me. In the US we don't even have testers to swatch. That is why I don't talk about drugstore foundations. It is so odd that brands like L'Oreal struggle when they are the parent company for so many high end brands that are so good.
    http://www.lipstickisalife.com/

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  66. What a wonderful post! I agree that it's incredibly difficult to find a good drugstore foundation. I do like a few L'Oreal and Maybelline products, but I totally agree that hi-end foundations work much better! My current favorite is Make Up For Ever HD Foundation. I also love pricey Giorgio Armani Foundation‎.

    http://stylesprinter.com/

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  67. I love this post,you really know what to say.
    People don't pay attention and sometimes the drugstore brends don't have the shade your skin needs,maybe 50% doesn't know what undertones are and that's where the problem starts.

    I like L'oreal and Maybelline,they try to hava a big offer of shades sometimes.
    xx

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    1. I completely agree, it's all about undertones, not just light/dark xx

      Delete
  68. LOVE this!!! You're so right! It's incredible how they don't seem to understand anything about skin undertones. And trust me, in Italy it's even worse. I have wasted a lot of money in either too pale and pink foundations or the opposite, too dark and orange for me just because I'm not a typical "pale and pink" skintone...
    Gyudy @ Gyudy's Notes Of Beauty

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    1. I feel like people have been saying this for years and it's just falling on deaf ears :( xx

      Delete
  69. Jas I couldn't agree more. I work for boots and get so embarrassed because we have so many customers with every skin tone you could think of but we only stock beige. It's just unbelievable and I can't help but think how much money do they miss out in by not catering at all? And why should these customers HAVE to spend 30+ at high end brands which they might not have the money for. I am really light in skin tone and also

    ReplyDelete
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    1. * struggle for matches at drugstore level but I really hope brands pick up this message and develop their colour ranges in the near future!
      Em x (emmasblog.co.uk)

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    2. I can imagine that's an uncomfortable position to be in :( I guess at least Boots stock some premium brands with inclusive shade selections, whereas in Superdrug you'd just have to show them the door... xx

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  70. I've never had that problem myself because I have a light skintone with neutral/warm-ish undertones, therefore most drugstore brands cater to me. I can see though why this is a huge problem for lots of women and I think that it's a shame that there isn't a wider range available over here in Europe. I think the shade range at Bourjois is laughable, since even these limited shades they offer have such minor differences between them- I've owned both 51 and 52 and I'm pretty sure no one had spotted the difference. I'm so sorry that this is happening to women of color and I believe we should all do what we can to force these drugstore brands to start catering to more diverse skin tones. Thank you for shedding light on this topic, it's very important!

    MY LATEST POST
    bloglovin
    Instagram

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    1. That's how I feel haha some of their foundations come in literally 5 shades but even Healthy Mix which seems to come in a lot of colours seems to have shades that are just extremely similar to each other. Bizarre xx

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  71. This post is so true! Even though I'm on the pale side of the skintone spectrum, the struggle is real. It gets even worse where I live, as the drugstores simply don't carry the lightest shades available. The funny thing is that I live in a country, whichis more on the pale side of things, so it is simply ridiculous that stores choose to cater to somewhat tan people, completely ignoring the fact that the majority of their target market is pale. I could rant on about this for ages, but I hope that your post will make a difference in the way that brands develop their foundations.

    Vanda | The Late Latte

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    1. I've noticed the drugstores where I am have stopped even carrying the full range that the brand does, which just limits it further :( xx

      Delete
  72. I completely agree! Although I am fairly pale, my undertone is all messed up, and every foundation I try is either too pink, too orange, to dark etc. Great post!
    Isabelle x
    https://mysmallcornerisabelle.wordpress.com

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  73. Thank you so much for all your comments. In a lot of ways I'm saddened but at the same time I'm really pleased so many of us have stood up and said our piece instead of 'settling'. I really hope our voices get heard and I'll let you know if I hear anything back (call me cynical but I doubt it, though I'd love to be proven wrong) xx

    ReplyDelete
  74. Wow this is disheartening to hear its so hard for you in the Uk. Have you tried Maybelline? I think they try hard as well.

    Xoxo
    Christina
    Www.styletothet.com

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    1. Sadly they don't in the UK, though I know the US range is more inclusive xx

      Delete
  75. It is because of how difficult it is to match myself to a foundation that I own a total of three foundations. To be honest, I don't really need a collection, though I would like a choice of coverage and finishes. I just can't afford to bring home the wrong shade! I started off with a MAC foundation, but it just wasn't the right shade and I didn't enjoy the way it sat on my skin either. Strangely, Bourjois (Healthy Mix) had a shade that I found easy to blend into my skin. Now, I use Vichy Dermablend. They don't have the largest selection of shades but they do cover a decent range and the coverage and finish is amazing. The undertone isn't perfect, and I have noticed that mixing with the Bourjois achieves the perfect shade for me. It would be amazing to just have foundations that we don't need to mix, that's for sure. I think I'll try Estee Lauder next!

    www.lovefrommaira.co.uk

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    1. Yeah I do like the Vichy Dermablend but the tone is a little neutral for me of the shades that were closest :(
      Estee Lauder is definitely worth a go as they seem to cater to so many people! xx

      Delete
  76. Sadly, I have found just about every brand (high end and drugstore) to be too yellow and too dark. I'm super duper fair and cool toned. The only foundation that has matched me off the shelf is Hourglass vanish seamless foundation stick in Blanc.

    ReplyDelete

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