when it comes to makeup, specifically foundation for women of color, many a brand (even the swanky high-end ones) get it wrong, wrong and wronger. we’ve all been there – the overly enthusiastic sales lady swears up and down that she has your match and five minutes later you’re trying to get an ashy, dusty mess off of your face. an experience with iman’s bb cream and foundation changes all of that.
in the last 10 years makeup brands have come a long way when it comes to diversifying their customer base. we have many options afforded to us now but there are still strides to be made so that any woman can walk into a department store or local pharmacy and walk out with flawless makeup without worrying about giving off those casper vibes we all dread – right at night but wrong in the daylight. companies that just try to match basic undertones fail horribly because black and brown skin is not just light, brown and dark, it’s so many things in-between.
iman was one of the first black women to really get the foundation matching struggle. as an african model i can only imagine what she went through back stage from the hairstylists going crossed-eyed at her curly hair to the makeup artists scrambling to mix up foundation that would match. but it was exactly her modeling career that set her on the track to manufacturing makeup and launching her makeup brand in 1994 which was the first brand designed specifically for skin of color. “One of my first modeling jobs at 18 was for Vogue and the makeup artist asked me, ‘Did you bring your own foundation?’ He didn’t have one that was dark enough. This was never asked of Caucasian models. I started mixing and matching foundation. I’d play chemist, mixing up to three different colors to achieve the perfect combination to match my skin. I never had an artist do my makeup at fashion shows – I always did my own. In fact models of my generation – Pat Cleveland, Dalma, Marie Helvin, Kirat and Sayoko – makeup artists almost never had the right makeup for any of us.” – Iman
two of her products that we can’t get enough of is the Iman Second To None Liquid Makeup and Iman Skin Tone Evener BB Crème. the foundation is a skin tone match made in heaven. from the whimsical “of-the-earth” names like clay, sand and earth, to the vitamin E, acai, magnolia and cottonseed plant extract it contains, this foundation works by not only matching undertones but the glow that many women of color give off and that’s where iman gets it spot on. she gets that black is not just black, but it’s a reddish-glow dark-skinned black girl or a hispanic woman with freckles. she’s fine-tuned that in-between world of porcelain to one-size fits all dark makeup. this foundation is oil-free, build-able and finishes with a beautiful luminous glow, a perfect match for darker skin tones. i’ve been personally wearing this foundation for over a year now after being introduced to it by my sister and i love it. topped off with Iman Luxury Translucent Powder, you can’t go wrong.
the Iman BB Cream is a winner, giving other “auto-adjusting” bb creams (read: only works on white skin) the boot. paraben-free, and finished off with SPF 15 and antioxidants we liked the light weight coverage that this cream gave us. it leaves behind the perfect skin tone correcting hint of color, perfect for those days when you need a light pick-me-up. this bb cream lasts for hours and has a very natural finish – so much so that most people won’t even think you’re wearing anything on your face. after applying this bb cream on our faces our skin felt airy and naked and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that it’s enriched with acai, licorice, grape seed, kokum, almond, aloe and vitamins A, E and C.
in her book, The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color, iman address skin tones across a multitude of spectrums including latina, black, asian, indian, native american, mediterranean, and middle eastern, as well as multiple ethnicities. her sharp wit and jovial personality echoes through this book making it not just an aesthetically pleasing look-book of pretty made-up faces but an enjoyable on as well. we consider this a must-have for any woman looking to step her makeup game up and dive into the world of face painting. it’s chock full of easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and bold color-photos (we are all about that roy g. biv life). there are instructions on how to find your foundation color to how to use blush and bronzer based on your individual skin color. she also covers normal, dry, combination, and oily skin care as well as hyperpigmentation – something a lot of women of color suffer from.
iman’s Iman Second To None Liquid Makeup and Iman BB Cream work for women in all their flavors from caramel and buttermilk to mocha and nutmeg. we love that she gets spot-on just how diverse skin tones can be and that for her and for her customers, makeup is not just a mask of colored cream, it’s a celebration of skin, our skin and our individual ethnicities.
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