Question – the paradox of Dark Skinned makeup wearers in a 93% black country

I live in the island of Barbados. In fact, my blog name is directly from the colloquial name for residents of my country. I am a Bajan. I am a black Bajan.

According to wikipedia, we are a country made up of 93% Black people. Which means that the makeup wearers here come in all colours of the dark skinned spectrum.


So why would it be difficult for Black women beyond medium dark to find foundation matches here on this primarily black island?

If anything I would think being an almost 100% black country darker skinned black women should find it easier to find foundations.

Not only do many makeup manufacturers not produce foundations beyond the medium dark range (think caramel/ nc50) in many of their formulation (Loreal Infallible Pro -matte for example), but even when they do some of our major retailers do not ever stock the full spectrum of the shades!

Wait ? What?

One would think that in a 93% black country that stocking all of the dark skinned shades available in a range  would be priority! but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

I’m speaking of brands that I know carry shades from the palest to the darkest in other countries. Brands like Lancome which featured Lupita Nyongo as their spokesperson for the Teint Idole range of foundations.

Lancome Teint Idole is carried in Barbados, we have many women who have similarly deep skin, but they wouldn’t be able to find their shade match here in Barbados.

800x960xLupita-Nyongo6.jpg.pagespeed.ic.14v7IiZeDzHow? Why?

A foundation formula famed for its extensive range – Estee Lauder Double wear, again in Barbados the retailers don’t carry the full range!

How? Why?

Maybe I’m missing a step? I’m certainly not a retailer, but not catering to the majority population seems like the strangest business decision I have ever come across!

In the mean time if you are a darker skinned black woman, here are some foundations that my Facebook friends swear by.

MAC All Formulations 

Bare Minerals – (Not available in store in Barbados)

Makeup Forever HD – (Not available in store in Barbados) 

L’oreal True Match 

Maybelline Dream Mousse 

Maybelline Matte and Poreless 

Graftobian – Found In Exotica Makeup

Black Up Foundation (all formulations)

Black Opal Foundations (all formulations) 

Are you dark skinned makeup wearer? What’s your go to foundation?

If you’re in Barbados or anywhere else in the world with a similar dilemma, please feel free to weigh in below.

Why don’t retailers carry the full range?

Feel free to educate me in the comments below.

Until next post.


It's Kim Probably...

Posted in Make Up
4 comments on “Question – the paradox of Dark Skinned makeup wearers in a 93% black country
  1. You’re so right. It’s a challenge as a pro MUA to find foundations for my kit or to recommend something for my clients.

    I’ve found that iMart generally has quite a few darker shades of L’Oreal True Match, which is a great foundation for most skin types except perhaps the extremely oily. Another product that I use as foundation is the LA Girl Pro Conceal. It comes in a very wide range of colours, and it’s incredibly well pigmented. It’s lightweight, a little goes a very long way and it mixes well, so it can be thinned down with moisturizer if you desire.

    After having a (fairly vague) conversation with one of the managers at Knights, I found out that it has something to do with the way items are bundled and sold by the companies to the suppliers and the suppliers here find it too risky to bring in the full ranges because they invariably end up with unsold items. My counter argument to that is: cosmetics here are sold at a huge markup, and if they were to hold a reasonable sale for the items that don’t sell from a certain batch they would probably sell most of their stock. I think they simply don’t put enough effort into buying. They don’t see it as important enough. Whoever is responsible for purchasing for the companies is way out of touch with what the buying public actually needs, and it is incredibly frustrating.

  2. Chandra says:

    I 1000% endorse and agree with this post it is almost ridiculous to find an appropriate match for a dark skinned person like Lupita’s complexion. I personally purchase Revlon’s colourstay but I would like to try out different brands u mentioned such as the estee lauder but it is definitely a challenge. To acknowledge ladymandymisms’ comment above I have never experimented with the LA Girl concealers but thanks for the idea will definitely try it as those products are quite affordable and they offer a wide colour range.

  3. Karissa says:

    As an avid reader of your blog, I’m happy that you raised this topic. I’ve always wondered the same thing; with so many women of colour, how come most of us struggle to find the right foundation, right where we live, shouldn’t this be easier? I’ve lived in Barbados and its definitely harder to shop for makeup. I currently live in Trinidad and have noticed that its much easier to access a variety of shades of foundation in order to get a proper colour match to my skin, but sometimes I realise I must pay the price for such access. Nevertheless, I’ve tried several brands here but I normally resort to buying foundation when I travel to the US, mainly because the makeup counter staff are much more knowledge about their brands. My Bajan friends relish buying makeup here in Trinidad since numerous brands are available like Sacha Cosmetics, LA Girl, Black Opal, Maybelline and L’Oreal allowing them to sample more products. We also stock Estee Lauder, MAC and now even Black Up cosmetics are available at Senses, MAC and Stechers Fine Gift Stores respectively. I love make up, so I feel your pain. Hopefully one day, the distributors will get the message and stock what we, women of colour need, right where we live.

  4. Jarna says:


    I welcome this post. I live in Dominica -not too far from you. I like Revlon Colorstay in Cappuccino. I find that there is a pretty ok range of shades here. Truth is, I hardly ever buy foundation in-store in Dominica. I usually get stuff when I travel or buy online so I know what I’m looking for. Nevertheless I think the range here is pretty wide. My only thing is that retailers don’t anticipate the demand for darker shades so it’s not too long before there are only the palest palest shades left. That leaves me to wonder if we have an Irish population here…nevertheless. I enjoyed this. Thanks

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