50 Shades of Porcelain

A girl possesses a certain kind of privilege when she is able to walk into any cosmetic store and find her perfect shade. This girl can go into her nearest Sephora or drugstore and have at least four shades to choose from. I envy this girl. I envy her with a passion. Because something as simple as finding a shade of foundation that matches your skin becomes the struggle of life.

I know this falls into #FirstWorldProblems territory but that doesn’t make it any less real. I’m speaking as a woman of colour and more specifically as a black woman whose only choice of foundation is usually a universal shade called Cocoa. Now, I can promise you that my skin does not match this all-encompassing shade of cocoa brown. In fact, I have at least three different shades of brown going on and it’s a struggle to match all of them with this one size fits all shade. But I digress. Let me tell you how real the struggle is when trying to find the perfect shade of foundation.

1. You realize your current foundation doesn’t match your skin’s undertones and probably never did

Uhm, I wanted foundation not a bottle of self tanner

2. You start researching different lines that could possibly carry your shade

Have snacks and patience at the ready. You’re in for quite the quest.

3. All your options are either too expensive, don’t ship to your address, or just aren’t the shade you need

Reading reviews can be unreliable and exhausting. And there’s still the possibility that the shade won’t match when you finally get it in the mail.

4.You realize you’ll have to go into the store and try on every shade available

Commence Mission Impossible. Anything less than failure is unacceptable.

5. The first couple of shades you try on are complete disasters

The shade is either too light, too dark, or just doesn’t suit your skin’s undertones.

6. The people who actually work there are trying to help you out and failing.

Trying being the operative word.


7. You’re about give up and admit defeat...


8. After taking a breath, or several, you decide to try out one more shade



9. And wouldn’t you know it, it looks like it might actually match may have found a shade you can work with


Fist pump!


10. You test it out on your skin and it looks like it might match



11. But you test it out in different lighting just be sure



We’re not taking any chances. It needs to be flawless.


12. It looks like a match. Success! You actually found an acceptable shade of foundation



13. And from this point on, your skin is going to look hella flawless


The hunt for the perfect shade of foundation can be overwhelming, time consuming, and frustrating. However, if you’re determined enough you may just be lucky enough to find your shade. But, there is also a larger issue at hand. Historically, the beauty industry and the media have had the tendency to reflect a very particular kind of beauty, caucasian beauty. It is time for a more diverse and accurate representation of women in the beauty industry. I will say that there is a growing selection of makeup lines designed specifically for women of colour. The beautiful model Iman has an awesome line of cosmetics and Queen Latifah has her own collection with Covergirl. I myself use the shade called “65 Deep Dark Ebony” by the Sephora Collection but we need more options.


My point in all this is simple. We need a makeup revolution. A makeup democracy, if you will.


Are you thinking of embarking on a hunt for the perfect foundation? Have you found your perfect shade? Tweet us @HCuOttawa or snap a picture of your flawless face and tag us on Instagram @hercampus_uottawa!

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