12 Foundations for Every Hollywood Skin Tone

Regina King, Oscars 2019 - Lupita Nyong'o, NAACP Awards-Gemma Chan, Oscars 2019 -Getty-H 2019.psd
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Makeup artists to the stars share their go-to choices.

Makeup artists to stars including Mindy Kaling, Regina King, Gemma Chan and more share their favorite go-to foundations with shades available for a range of skin tones. Here are 12 foundations that Hollywood experts adore.

1. Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury calls her eponymous Magic Foundation, available in 20 shades, her “go-to for the red carpet” for a “hydrating, flawless finish that gives my stars the most perfect-looking complexion.” She uses Shade 7 on client Salma Hayek, sometimes mixed with the brand’s Light Wonder foundation. Pro Quinn Murphy has used Light Wonder in Shade 6 on Sofia Vergara; Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation; $44, at charlottetilbury.com.

2. It Cosmetics and Bobbi Brown 

Carola Gonzalez, Mindy Kaling's makeup artist, calls It Cosmetics CC+ Oil Free Matte Poreless Finish Full Coverage Foundation and Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick good for women of color because of their warm tones. "Darker skin tones should stay away from cool, dull, ashy shades." She says these two "have a combination of orange, golden, yellow undertones, which are all suitable for darker skin tones, mainly women who have similar coloring to Mindy's." Gonzalez uses It Cosmetics in Rich on Kaling; $39, at itcosmetics.com; and the Bobbi Brown in Warm Almond 6.5; $46, at bobbibrowncosmetics.com.

3. Lancome

Nick Barose uses Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Wear Foundation in either 550 or 555 on Lupita Nyong’o: "She gets darker with sun throughout the year, so I usually go back and forth between these two." He adds: "Deep skin reflects light differently, so I love oil-free, shine control, long-wearing formulas like this that set to a nice, velvety finish that doesn't require too much powder." $47, at lancome-usa.com.

4. Cle de Peau

Monika Blunder uses Cle de Peau Radiant Fluid Foundation on the majority of her clients, including Gemma Chan, who wears 030 Medium Ochre. “It gives a really flawless finish but you can still see your skin, but it looks flawless and is perfect for the red carpet,” says Blunder; $128, at cledepeaubeaute.com.

5. Make Up For Ever

Latrice Johnson, Regina King's pro, says Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin—available in 40 shades—provides "full coverage but is lightweight so the skin can breathe;" $38, at makeupforever.com.

6. Hourglass

Available in 29 shades, Hourglass Vanish Seamless Foundation Stick—known for its blendability—is a favorite of Viola Davis' makeup artist, Autumn Moultrie; $46, at hourglasscosmetics.com.

7. Marc Jacobs

Some of the 29 shades of Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless Youthful-Look Foundation are staples in Hung Vanngo's kit; he's used Y270 on Selena Gomez. $46, at marcjacobsbeauty.com.

8. Koh Gen Doh

Besides the "smooth, natural look on the skin," Vera Steimberg, Zoe Saldana's long-time pro, loves "the undertones" of Koh Gen Doh Maifanshi Aqua Foundation; $70, at kohgendohcosmetics.com.

9. Dior

Emily Cheng, Yara Shahidi's makeup artist, calls Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation "spot on for colors" and loves the numbering system: "It's really artist-friendly;” $40, at sephora.com.

10. Armani

"Medium-dark skin tones can turn flat and lighter if the foundation doesn't have warm, rich undertones to hold on to your melanin once it's blended in," says Gugu Mbatha-Raw's makeup artist, Nick Barose, who uses Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in 7.5 on The Morning Show actress; $64, at giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.

11. NARS

Kathy Jeung, who works with Padma Lakshmi, Rita Ora and Nicole Scherzinger, calls NARS Natural Radiant Longwear and BeautyBlender Bounce her "go-to" foundations because of their "extensive shade range, especially for women of color. Both look like natural skin, not heavy or cakey." NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation, available in 34 shades; $49, at narscosmetics.com; and BeautyBlender Bounce, available in 40 shades; $40, at beautyblender.com.

12. Chanel

Nina Park, who counts Laura Harrier as a client, calls Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua—available in 17 shades—one of her favorite foundations because it "gives an amazing glow to the skin." $50, at chanel.com.

This story first appeared in the April 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.