I Call Out Makeup Brands on TikTok for Not Carrying My Shade

I Call Out Makeup Brands on TikTok for Not Carrying My Shade

Up until recently, my relationship with makeup was pretty one-sided. I’ve always been drawn to the creative expression it provides. I love experimenting with foundations, concealers, blush, and more. It’s just that the companies that make this stuff haven’t always loved me back—or, honestly, seen me at all.

In middle school, I would wander through drugstore makeup aisles and not be able to find a *single* complexion product for my dark South Sudanese skin. I’d get angry and annoyed as I watched my lighter-skinned friends shop without a care in the world. Later, as a freshman in college, I vividly remember the embarrassment I felt when an associate at a popular makeup store picked up the darkest shade of a new concealer and swatched it on my cheek—only to reveal a chalky orange hue four shades lighter than my actual skin.

latto cosmopolitan skin issue

I once again left empty-handed, feeling like there was something wrong with me. Where was my shade? Or anything even close to it? Lately, some brands have started waking up, offering foundations and concealers in more than 40 shades. But I can’t emphasize this enough: Having a ton of shades doesn’t automatically make you inclusive, especially if the majority are for light or medium skin tones…and your darkest option is still several shades lighter than my skin.

It wasn’t until I tried Fenty Beauty’s foundation that I witnessed a formula blend seamlessly into my skin. I felt so beautiful. So seen. But also still frustrated. Fenty is one of only a handful of truly tone-inclusive brands out there. Why do these continue to be the exception, not the norm? At this point, every makeup brand should be celebrating all shades of deep and dark skin. We’re not some monolith; our skin comes in so many different shades and tones, and makeup lines should reflect that.

Super Smoother Blurring Skin Tint

Iconic London Super Smoother Blurring Skin Tint

This tint is so amazing that I’m almost out of my third bottle. When I looked at my shade online, I knew it was going to match me IRL, which rarely happens and was so exciting for me.

Skin-Enhancing Tinted Moisturizer

Ami Colé Skin-Enhancing Tinted Moisturizer

Ami Colé is hands down one of my favorite Black-owned makeup lines. It’s not overly expensive, and its shade ranges are specifically geared toward dark skin, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find a match.

Positive Light Tinted Moisturizer

Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez Positive Light Tinted Moisturizer

These ultra-dewy skin tints launched in an impressively wide array of shades. You need only a little bit for substantial coverage, which I love—plus, the formula blends so easily into skin.

Triclone Skin Tech Medium-Coverage Foundation

Haus Labs by Lady Gaga Triclone Skin Tech Medium-Coverage Foundation

Lady Gaga did her thing with this foundation. It sits beautifully on skin throughout the day (no pilling or separating), and because the shade matches me so well, I’ll mix it into other complexion products too.

Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Liquid Foundation

Rihanna and her team have hit all pillars of inclusivity since day one. Everything caters to people with dark skin, and I love that all the shades across every product are the same, so it’s a streamlined shopping experience.

By January 2022, I’d had enough. I started a TikTok account dedicated to makeup for dark skin, where I celebrate the brands getting it right—and call out the ones getting it wrong. I knew I had to talk openly about my struggles in this area to push for change.

We need to be celebrating all shades of deep and dark skin.

It’s been a rewarding journey but not an easy one. Time and time again, I see other beauty creators raving about new complexion products, and when I go to check them out, there are—you guessed it—no shades for me. Or the darkest shade in a viral contour launch still leaves my face looking ashy and gray. Or a PR person from a famous makeup brand sends me a blush palette to try, and when I do, each of the peach, pale-pink, or mauve pigments disappears the second I tap it onto my cheeks.

My plea to the beauty industry is simple: Start working with more Black people. Hire Black employees, shoot campaigns on Black models, and give creators with darker complexions the opportunity to be shade consultants for your lines. And then be open to the constructive criticism that comes from the collaboration. Until that’s a reality, I’ll keep creating content—and sharing my favorite products, inclusive brands, and dark-skin hacks (check out some of them below) for all the people out there who haven’t yet felt seen.

My go-to shade hacks:

Tweak your tones with mixing pigment:

Finally found a foundation that’s dark enough, but it’s too warm or cool? Mix a yellow or blue mixing pigment (I love L.A. Girl Pro Matte Mixing Pigment) into the formula to adjust the undertone.

DIY your contour with eyeshadow:

My favorite replacement for contour is blending a black eyeshadow into the hollows of my cheeks for a sculpted look. You can do a similar thing on your lips with black eyeliner if you can’t find a brown that’s dark enough for your skin tone.


Golloria George is a beauty content creator based in San Marcos, TX, who uses her @Golloria platforms on TikTok and Instagram to advocate for shade inclusivity in the makeup industry. She’s worked with brands like L’Oreal Paris, Fenty Beauty, and Charlotte Tilbury.

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