Christine Lucignano has three decades of experience as a make-up artist. She has spent this time perfecting skin, representing leading beauty brands, working on global campaigns, runway looks and well-known faces. She's an invaluable regular judge of the annual IMAGE Beauty Awards, and if you've ever had the pleasure of making her acquaintance, you'll know she's passionate about cruelty-free beauty, the perfect pink lipstick and making makeup inclusive to everyone.
When I reached out to her about the difficulties of finding darker shades of foundations in local stockists, even if brands are finally making an effort to grow their shade ranges, she has a lot to say. "The offerings in the mass area are fewer and farther between for people of colour," says Christine. "I am optimistic that cosmetic companies are starting to realise that excluding people of colour has never been and will never be good enough. Although I know formulas become more challenging with a darker pigment base to produce in a smooth finish, it is VERY attainable, so we should not accept anything less than a full shade range from all companies."
Here, Christine breaks down the brands she loves with inclusive shade ranges into mass and prestige.
Color FX, available at Arnotts
The newest formula from this brand is the Power Play Foundation. It comes in at around €40 and comes in some nice shades for people of colour. The shade range is nicely set out in a total of 25 shades that are broken down into; Lights/Mediums/Medium Deeps/ Deep and in those 4 levels you have 'N' for neutral undertones, the 'P' for pink undertones and 'G' for golden undertones. I wish they had 'R' for red undertones as there are so many people of colour globally that have a true red undertone. To be honest, this formula caters far more to deeper skin tones than it does to fair skin. The finish is buildable and looks breathable and fresh.
Fenty Beauty, available in Harvey Nichols, Dundrum
The huge favourite of many people of colour and the range that I have invested in pretty heavily is the Pro Fil’tr Foundation. It is available globally in 40 shades but can be quite tricky to match properly as it is a real oxidising formula so one needs to let it rest on the jawline when matching to really get the right shade. I also think that it works best with the Fenty Pro Filt'r Primer. I say this because the formula sets quite quickly and goes on far smoother if you use a primer first. I also find that a nylon or synthetic brush works best to apply and I especially love the one from Fenty. The foundation runs around €40.
Huda Beauty, available in Brown Thomas
The Faux Finish Liquid Foundation is another new contender in the foundation world that happens to offer a wider range of shades. There are currently 30 shades available globally and the shade range really caters to people of colour. The finish is full and with most full coverage/matte foundations there is a tendency towards oxidation. So be wise when you choose your shade or you may end up with something that is too deep. The price of this formula is around €45.
Lancôme, available nationwide
Teint Idole Ultra Wear Liquid Foundation is a really great all around foundation that is offered in 40 shades. The coverage is full and buildable and the finish is suede-like. This formula doesn’t have the tendency to oxidise and performs all day long. It retails in Ireland for around €39. There is also a Teint Idole Ultra Wear Stick version available.
Dior, available nationwide
Dior Backstage Face and Body Foundation, €42
The new offering of the Backstage Collection, Face and Body foundation, has 40 shades available and the finish is sheer but buildable to a gorgeous level and finish. This is a really great all-round formula and a total departure for the house of Dior. We can thank Peter Phillips for this fantastic new formula as he is the Global Colour Director for Dior and is used to being ‘backstage’ with models of all colours so he was determined to cater to more skin tones than the house ever had before. The shade range can seem a bit complicated but luckily this formula does not oxidise at all so once you’ve matched your shade it should stay true through the day.
Nars, available at Arnotts and Brown Thomas
In fairness, Nars has been an early champion of diversity. They offer colours and undertones that are hugely varied. The newer offering in foundation is the Luminous Weightless foundation liquid which is €45 and available in this market in around 20 shades. I do really like the coverage and finish but find it slightly oxidising. To be honest, any of these long-wear and heavier covering foundations tend to oxidise a bit. They also do some of the best concealers available for people of colour. I love their Radiant Creamy Concealer and it comes in around 21 shades in this market. It is buildable and has a gorgeous finish.
Bobbi Brown, available at Brown Thomas
Hourglass Cosmetics, launching exclusively at Arnotts on Wednesday, July 25
I love this range! Cruelty-free and an all around fab range that has a few formulas to choose from in terms of foundation. I have a special love for the Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick which comes in around 32 shades. There is a pretty thorough Colour/Finish guide online to help choose if needs be. I love the finish and the blend. This formula is also true and doesn’t seem to oxidise. It comes in at around €50 which is pricey but boy is it good!
MAC, available at Brown Thomas and Arnotts
M.A.C. is the leader in complexion products for people of colour in my estimation. Formula’s and Shade Ranges cater heavily to all races and ages. If you can’t find a colour at M.A.C. then I would say you haven’t been matched properly. M.A.C. also has great concealers and loose as well as pressed powders for deeper complexions. I LOVE the Studio Fix Fluid formula which comes in around 42 shades that fall into 4 different colour families; N for neutral, C for cool, NC which is neutral-cool and NW for neutral-warm. The formula is beautiful and performs at a very high level. The foundation costs around €30. The concealer that I ADORE is the Pro Longwear Liquid Concealer and it is buildable and amazing. The only issue I have with it is the container is a small glass pump which tends to omit product slower and less readily as the bottle gets used more.
Make Up For Ever, available at makeupforever.ie and Debenhams
The leader in the area of HD and pore minimising foundations and concealers offers both liquid and stick foundation in the Ultra HD Formula. There are 40 shades in the liquid which sells for around €40 here in Ireland and the Stick formula comes in around 20 shades. It should be noted that like most stick foundations you have more play in the shades so typically you won’t see as many colours on offer. This formula is really beautiful and perfects all skin imperfections.
L'Oréal, available nationwide
True Match Liquid Foundation is offered in around 28 shades in Ireland. In that range there is only around 7 shades that are deep enough for most people of colour. It's a shame because other parts of the world have a much broader stockist of the True Match range and include more concealer and loose/pressed powders for people of colour.
Maybelline, available nationwide
Maybelline Fit Me Matte & Powerless Liquid Foundation which carries around 31 shades in the Irish Market. Of that mix, around 11 would work for people of colour. It works best with a primer as you need to move it quickly. It can oxidise so its tough to buy in store without the ability to sample shades and it's cheap at around €9.
Revlon, available nationwide
ColorStay Makeup for Combo/Oily Skin has a pretty good range of shades with around 22 shades available in the Irish market. Of that mix around 10 would work for people of colour. It has a good texture and finish but is pricier at around €19.
Follow Christine Lucignano on Instagram at @cloochy.
For more beauty features, check out the July/August issue of IMAGE Magazine, on shelves nationwide now.