Not Fair: the best budget foundations for dark skin tones

Ayesha Muttucumaru 23 November 2015
Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

1 / 10

Not Fair: the best budget foundations for olive and dark skin tones

Are budget brands finally all starting to make foundations for darker skin tones? Not quite, BUT there is definitely a noticeable shift on our shelves at the moment, with some of the biggest beauty brands in the industry steadily increasing their offerings to cater to women of all colours.

Nowhere else is this being felt more than in the world of foundations. Where once a singular shade labelled, “Deep” was the extent of many a high street foundation line’s roster, times are changing with more and more of the more bank balance-friendly brands diving into the deep end and add a dose of diversity to their ranges.

While there is still a way to go in terms of catering for those who occupy the very deepest end of the colour spectrum, the progress that some brands have made should definitely be celebrated. So with that in mind, I’ve compiled my edit of the best high street and drugstore foundations around that could give their more costly counterparts a serious run for their money. Here’s hoping more follow suit...

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2 / 10

Rimmel London Match Perfection Foundation SPF20

Price: £7.99

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Shade range: 12 - up to the medium deep ‘Deep Mocha.’

How it matches up: If truth be told, Rimmel’s limited foundation range has always made me quite angry. However, it looks like our relationship is on the cusp of a breakthrough, thanks to this foundation heralding the first time the brand has made darker shades available. But has the wait been worth it? Most definitely; it boasts the type of finish that my combination skin type loves - mask-free medium to full matte coverage with a radiance that makes the final look appear more natural. Fingers crossed that the brand plans to extend the range further.

3 / 10

L’Oréal Paris True Match Foundation

Price: £9.99

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Shade range: 21, having added 3 further shades to the range to cover a more extensive roster of skin tones.

How it matches up: A great match for those with combination to oily skin types, this foundation has the type of texture similar to that of a powder once it’s set which made for a great fit for my skin type. With the recent addition of 3 extra shades, the range is pretty impressive, going up to 10W or ‘Deep Fonce’ - a chestnut hue - and once applied, it adapts quite impressively to your individual skin tone. And all that for under a tenner - bargain.

4 / 10

Revlon Colorstay Makeup for Combination/Oily Skin SPF15

Price: £12.99

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Shade range: 13 from ‘Ivory’ to ‘Caramel.’

How it matches up: The deepest shade, ‘Caramel’ suited my skin tone really well, making it a good choice for those with olive and medium deep skin tones. The coverage it provided created the illusion of perfect skin with ease and its oil-free formula appeased my wayward T-zone and gave my complexion an even, matte finish. Its glass bottle is a little cumbersome however, a new pump bottle is now in the works and should be on our shelves soon...

5 / 10

Max Factor Miracle Match Foundation

Price: £12.99

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Shade range: 12, from ‘Light Ivory’ to the very deep ‘Sun Tan.’

How it matches up: Providing smooth, even medium coverage while also allowing my natural skin to shine through, I was not only impressed by this foundation’s finish, but also its pretty strong shade range too. ‘Tawny’ was my match, but the range also extends to another two deeper shades - ‘Toffee’ and ‘Suntan’ - to give even darker complexions a couple of good options too. A dream to blend courtesy of its new silicone ingredient that behaves more like a moisturiser, it helps to subtly blur blemishes and unevenness to provide a finish which looks more like an enhancement, rather than a drastic change. The perfect balance if you ask me.

6 / 10

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation SPF15

Price: £15

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Shade range: 16, from 'Chealsea Porcelain' to 'Tuscany Chestnut.'

How it matches up: This foundation’s shade range is really rather good, going to the impressively deep ‘Tuscany Chestnut.’ If you’re unable to find you’re exact shade though, there are also two clever Shade Adjusting Drops  (£10 each) to choose from to either lighten or darken your choice by ½ a shade to create your perfect match. The finish? Like an airbrush to the skin - natural, semi-matte medium coverage ideal for combination or oily skin types, that doesn’t look drying or cakey once blended in. Lightly fragranced with a scent reminiscent of a moisturiser (which is lovely btw), my skin tone looked noticeably more even and just all round, perkier.

7 / 10

No7 Stay Perfect Foundation SPF15

Price: £14.50

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Shade range: 17 - ‘Cool Ivory’ to ‘Walnut.’

How it matches up: A versatile foundation that suits a range of different skin types from dry to oily, this high street buy provides the type of finish that could quite easily rival that of one with a higher price tag. Long-lasting, with a slightly thicker texture for extra coverage, it provided an impressive weather-proof addition to my daily cover up ensemble, with its darkest shade - ‘Walnut’ - looking to be a great fit for those with darker skin tones. No7's offering has steadily increased over the years and its more extensive shade range is proof of its more inclusive appeal, certain to suit more ethnicities and skin types than before.

8 / 10

No7 Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation SPF15

Price: £14.50

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Shade range: 14 from ‘Warm Ivory’ to ‘Mocha.’

How it matches up: Don’t usually wear foundation but on the lookout for a cover up that’s a little more ‘gutsy’ than a tinted moisturiser in terms of coverage? This foundation’s for you. Although the shade range isn’t as extensive as the brand’s Stay Perfect Foundation, it offers a more lightweight alternative for tanned to deep olive skin tones which feels more wearable for more frequent use. Easy to blend and providing light to medium coverage, it’s suitable for a myriad of different skin types and successfully fills the gap between BB and full coverage foundation seamlessly.

9 / 10

Sleek Makeup Oil Free Crème To Powder SPF15

Price: £7.99

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Shade range: 30 shades from ‘Linen’ to ‘Coffee Bean.’

How it matches up: In terms of providing pigment, shade range and colour payoff at a price that doesn’t break the bank, Sleek is up there with the very best high street brands around. Their compact foundation puts convenience at the forefront, offering the appeal and accessibility of an on-the-go cover up that delivers light to medium coverage with a handy sponge applicator. At 30 shades, its range is one of the mightiest on our drugstore shelves and its clever cream to powder finish acts a great top-up for eradicating a shiny T-zone when a full-on makeup overhaul is not a viable option.

10 / 10

KIKO Skin Evolution Foundation SPF10

Price: £12.90

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Shade range: 18, from ‘Ivory’ to ‘Ebony.’

How it matches up: KIKO has fast become one of my favourite makeup brands, guaranteed to have me taking a double take at its surprisingly lower price tags. This sub-£15 foundation doesn’t disappoint, providing an effective medium to full coverage option for those looking for that little something extra in terms of longevity and shine control. The texture is noticeably thicker and a tad stickier than others I’ve tried in the past, although once set, my skin felt soft to the touch, making it preferable for those who have combination to oily skin types in particular.