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One Shade Does Not Fit All

Every skin is different skin. Whether it be different in texture, sensitivity, color or pigment, every skin is different. I interviewed 4 current Marymount Manhattan students of all skin shades and skin types on how easy or hard it is for them to find makeup and skincare that matches them, works for them and makes them feel good.

Jada Elise Beasley:

How easy is it for you to find makeup that matches your skin tone? 

It’s a process. I used to have to mix shades a lot but since brands such as Fenty Beauty came out with an extensive range of shades, I don’t have to do that. The only issue is not many brands offer as many shades for darker tones such as Fenty Beauty and I don’t always love her formula.

What brands do you find to work best for you/what brands do you you best find your perfect shade? 

Fenty Beauty 

What is your foundation called? Do you have an opinion on the name? 

I especially appreciate that Rihanna didn’t give the foundation colors names. They’re sorted by a number that supposed to classify undertones and shade. I feel like giving names to foundations is unnecessary.

If you don’t use foundation, what do you use? 

I only ever use foundation for special occasions. I just started using Glossier’s skin tint and just applying Laura Mercier Candleglow powder over it.  That’s my more everyday look. 

Do you find yourself needing to mix shades to create one that perfectly fits you? 

Not anymore! Brands are being more inclusive and mindful of darker shades not all being the same.

How equal do you feel the “Instagram” popular makeup brands are? 

I only ever see Fenty and NARS on social media and feel that they have been inclusive of all skin tones in recent years.

And Sephora brands? Drugstore brands? 

I prefer Sephora brands but I also really love NYX makeup. 

How do you think media portrays your skin tone in ads for makeup companies? 

I am a lighter skinned black woman and I feel that they portray us more than they do darker skin tones. I absolutely hate that. I feel more joy seeing dark skinned people being represented in advertisements because they’ve always been the ones that have fought hardest for representation.

Explain or take a picture of your makeup routine. 

1. Cleanse face

2. Add Bio Oil and PCA SKIN pigment gel to scars

3. Moisturize!

4. Add Glossier skin tint in G5

5. Add Laura Mercier Candleglow all over face

6. Clear brow gel on brows(make em a bit bushy)

7. Add some bronzer for a slight contour around the cheeks

8. A bit of highlight (I prefer golds and bronzes)

9. Mascara! My favorite is the Milk Makeup Kush Mascara 

10.Becca Liptuitive lip gloss 

Courtney Walsh:

My perfect shade is normally a light beige. This color cause it keeps some of my freckles visible and takes away from any acne.

I like using covergirl, maybelline and nyx the best because they are affordable and i get a lot out of one product!

My shade in concealer is natural beige, I don’t have too much of an opinion on the name it sounds like what the shade would be like. I also don’t use foundation anymore.  It makes me break out and i try to keep my face clean as possible! I moisturize a lot with cetaphil because it has no odor and makes your skin feel new.

It does take me a while to find my right shade which I think everyone does. You never want it to not match your natural tone.

I think there needs to be more equality in makeup brands across the board. Drugstore sephora all brands need to keep them inclusive of all tones and colors. Instagram companies and media make the “natural beige” a very common normal shade.

I believe media is very diverse today but in advertisements the natural beige color will be in it. 

My makeup routine is simple, lotion, concealer and then i use nyx brow gel and i’m all ready to go unless i wanna do eyeshadow but it’s normally only for special occasion 

Photo by Logan Ronan

Robert Williams II:

How easy is it for you to find makeup that matches your skin tone?

I had a hard time color matching my skin when first dabbling with it. Most of the time I would reach for foundations that had pink undertones, assuming that these shades would match my skin. I understood that my complexion was naturally flushed, but the rest of my skin was a cool tone border neutral tone. I also had options seeing that I am not exactly pale but fall in the category of shades most widely available. It was just finding the shades with the right cool/neutral undertone.

What brands do you find to work best for you/what brands do you you best find your perfect shade? 

With a sensitive skin type, my selection of brands is limited due to ingredients used in certain foundations/ by certain brands. The brands that work best for me, ingredient and shade wise) are Bare Minerals, Cover FX, and Kryolan (for drag purposes).

What is your foundation called? Do you have an opinion on the name? If you don’t use foundation, what do you use? Do you find yourself needing to mix shades to create one that perfectly fits you? 

My go to foundation is the Cover FX Natrual Finish foundation in the shade P40. This is my exact shade (Cover FX has a nice shade range with all of their foundations, pre-dating Fenty Beauty) and the finish works the best for me. I enjoy all of their foundations go by the same catergorization of shade and undertone (P40 being P for Pink/Cool and 40 as the number shade in the light catergory). The title of the foundation does not lie, it presents itself as natural (but not entirely light weight, it is medium to full coverage, but is adjustable). I will say Cover FX is a brand for those on the more skilled side of make-up as the brand is very much targeted towards make-up artists. It is a cruelty and vegan brand with good ingredients.

How equal do you feel the “Instagram” popular makeup brands are? 

Right now I believe most Instagram brands are targeted to appeal a post-Fenty audience. They know their demographics and wish to appeal to be diverse in their shade selections and pigment payoffs. For example, the launch of the Morphe Foundation proved to be a failed one seeing that the shade "range" was there, but the research and dedication to curating foundation shades that would truly match various undertones and complexions was not present.

And Sephora brands? Drugstore brands? 

There's a major pressure for in house Sephora brands to compete with Fenty Beauty, a Sephora Exclusive Brand. I will say the standard now is to meet a quantitative goal of the Fenty Forty, but those forty shades will not always be diverse. 

Drugstore brands have a ways to go in terms of curating diverse shades. With the investments of drugstore companies not wanting to be put into extensive research of shade ranges for future foundations, it's hard for beauty lovers on a budget to shop their exact shade. And when these drugstore brands do offer a wide range (L'oreal, NYX, and Maybelline to name a few) do not always offer the whole foundation collection in stores and only offer only (in limited quantities)

How do you think media portrays your skin tone in ads for makeup companies? 

I am the base model. Being that I have a cool/light complexion, my complexion is the mainstream beauty standard. This needs to change.

Explain or take a picture of your makeup routine:

I begin my routine with proper skin care. I wash my face with a hydrating cleanser, pat my face dry with a clean towel, apply a witch hazel, rose water, alcohol free toner on my face (wait one minute to dry), and complete with moisturizer. I avoid priming my face with an everyday beat, as I see that my skin routine sets my face up perfectly for applying the foundations that I use. 

(If I were to do a drag make-up look, I would apply a loose translucent setting powder in areas that may become oily or need neutralizing of my acne scars)

I will explain my everyday glam routine. I begin with the eyeshadow (if the look needs to be clean cut). I prime my eyes using the NYX white eyeshadow base (I like this one because I use bold colors and it is tacky and adheres powders well without being overtly white, so it sheers out with blending while holding the shadow). I apply an eyeshadow in a shade that matches the natural complexion of my eyelid. I then apply the shadows that I see fit to complete the look in my mind. 

Once the eye look is complete, I apply my Cover FX Natural Finish foundation using my Ecotools Sponge (damped and extra squeezed to make sure not water leaks). I start off by applying strategic foundation dots to my face on the areas I know will need to most coverage then blending those areas out. If need be, I will apply more foundation only the the areas needs and blend the whole face together. After the foundation is applied, I apply cream face products such as contour or blush if needed. I then apply a cream highlighter on the high points of my checks almost to the point of touching the temples (it suits my facial structure). I will then set my face with pressed powders (bronzer, not contour, blush, setting powder, only in the T-Zone). 

Then it is time for the brows, my favorite part. This is done using my NYX Precision Brow Pencil in Espresso (it is my favorite brow pencil of all time, I love love love it). 

I usually don't wear lashes or mascara, as most of the time I got for a "vogue model" look. But for drag I apply top lashes first, then apply mascara. 

Next will be my lips. I prefer lip pencils or lipsticks over liquid lips or glosses (it feels better on my lips and the pencils and lipsticks work better for the lip illusion I create). 

And that's my routine.

Chyniece Matthews:

How easy is it for you to find makeup that matches your skin tone?

It’s so freaking difficult to find one that matches so I just opt for the closest match. It makes me feel like my skin is difficult to match. 

What brands do you find to work best for you/what brands do you you best find your perfect shade?

So far Fenty beauty long wear hydration foundation and Nars sheer foundation works best for my shade and skin type for higher end beauty. Drug store L’Oréal has a nice hydrating foundation that matches close enough to my tone.  

What is your foundation called? Do you have an opinion on the name?

Many of the foundations have numbers. My L’Oréal number is 515 . My fenty number is 410. But some have names like Nars. I use a mix between Tahoe and Macao. These names refer to countries I think so I don’t really have an opinion or I never thought about it.   How equal do you feel the “Instagram” popular makeup brands are? And Sephora brands? Drugstore brands?

I think most makeup brands create a perceived differences in their products versus others which is why It has taken me 3 yrs to find a consistent brand. Many times brands change their formulas and for me that changes the shade, texture, etc. For instance I use to wear a Smash box  hydrating foundation religiously but ay some point the formula changed and the color 4.1 was no longer offered. My shade was in between 4.0 and 4.2: which are two colors they still offer today. I had to switch to another brand. 

4. Sometimes I refer to ads of luxury makeup brands (Chanel, Dior, etc) who have less color options as a way to see if a model in the ad is close to my color. And if not, I think “of course not” and if they do I think “oh good. They’re inclusive at least”.

A cleanser and a facial oil used by Chyniece. She also uses Korres SPF for the day. 

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