Inclusive makeup brands and inclusive makeup itself are not only about the skin tone and the foundation shades; it goes way beyond. Inclusivity is about considering every skin tone but also every gender and every particularity. Inclusive makeup is about giving solutions to every single person on earth who want to wear makeup.
As a makeup artist, I truly believe makeup brands can be inclusive and feel like everyone has a place on their table, whether they are transgender, men, Asian, black, or white. And it’s my mission as a makeup artist to also make you feel like this. This is why I have published my book as being a comprehensive gender-free guide for you to learn how to wear makeup.
This post is another contribution to make everyone feel welcomed in the makeup world! I hope you enjoy it.
Pssst! Want to find out what’s your skin type? Grab your free skin type guide now!
Before we dive into the list of the 10 most inclusive makeup brands out there, you should know that inclusivity is not only about foundation tones. Inclusivity is so much broader than that.
While it is about race, it’s also about gender and even money. It’s also just about how inclusive the brand is with its customers but how inclusive it is in their internal policies. A brand can be totally “inclusive” outside and not support organizations or hire people of color, trans people, or people with disabilities.
If you’ve read my article or listened to the podcast episode where I interviewed the founder of the amazing skincare brand The Humanist, or read this blog where I list some LGBTQ-owned beauty brands, you know what I’m talking about.
Also, a quick note — The brands listed here are more consumer brands, so for pro makeup artists who don’t want to use consumer brands, you’ll need to go with professional lines (which are generally always inclusive).
Well, Fenty Beauty is that one inclusive makeup brand that appears in every single list of inclusive makeup brands! But, without a doubt, it deserves the spotlight! In 2017, Rihanna – yes, that Rihanna – launched a collection of 40 different shades of foundation that match basically every skin tone!
We all know how complex it is to find a complexion that matches our skin – especially as people with darker skin tones – so having a mainstream beauty brand to create that big range of tones has ignited the sparkle that would cause a big shift in the makeup industry as a whole. As a sign that this change was way overdue, the brand’s darker tones flew off the shelves right away.
If you’re looking for a drugstore brand that offers different shades of foundation, you’ve found yours. Maybelline, one of the brands owned by the huge L’Oreal, added 16 foundation shades to its Fit Me collection and then expanded it to 40. It also happened in 2017 – possibly not a coincidence.
Since Maybelline is an affordable brand compared to those more exclusive and premium ones that offer a wide range of shades, it’s now inclusive in its price and shades too.
M.A.C. Cosmetics doesn’t need any introduction, but did you know that they are an LGBTQ-owned makeup brand that has been inclusive since the very beginning?! In 1994, they created the M.A.C. AIDS fund intending to support people around the world affected by H.I.V., raising more than 400 million dollars in sales of their Viva Glam collection. In fact, the first Viva Glam spokesperson was RuPaul, a drag queen icon. And up till now, the company employs several queer folks.
Apart from the inclusivity in that sense, M.A.C is also the owner of 53 shades of Studio Fix Powder Plus, one of the brand’s best-selling products, and 63 shades in the liquid foundation from the collection Studio Fix Fluid.
Their inclusivity is taken very seriously as part of their philosophy, which states, “All Ages, All Races, All Sexes.”
MOB Beauty‘s tagline is “Makeup for a Better World” and they work very hard to minimize unnecessary packaging and use sustainable ingredients whenever possible. They even inject a special type of resin into their lipstick tubes so it can be more easily identified by the infrared sensor that sorts recyclable plastics (dark plastics are often missed by the sensors, so this resin ensures more of their tubes are properly recycled).
Of course, this post isn’t about sustainability, it’s about inclusiveness, and that’s another thing they’re great at. They do their part to make a positive impact socially. One example of this is their partnership with #HashtagLunchbag to provide meals for people who are experiencing hunger.
Looking at their products, you can see that they value inclusivity in their shade range. especially their face products. They don’t sell foundation, but they do sell bronzer, highlighter and blush shades suitable for a range of skin tones, and their build-your-own palettes are awesome!
Mented Cosmetics – where “mented” is short for “pigmented” – was created going against what most makeup brands do. They actually focused on the “less is more” kind of makeup, creating products that give customers that subtle “no makeup” look.
They have started with their semi-matte lipstick collection, which has 9 nude shades. By the way, I absolutely love their product page, where they show how the different shades of lipstick look in models from different skin tones. Their Everyday Shadow Palette is also super beautiful. It’s really for those looking for a basic yet beautiful look that fits all skin tones.
According to its founders, the brand’s goal is to make women of color feel prioritized in the world of beauty. Isn’t that great?!
PS: Looking for an inclusive guide to finally learn how to wear makeup? Click here and check out my book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist!
Bobbi Brown is a great makeup artist and inspiration. She founded her beauty brand company in 1991, going against the “more is more” makeup trend in the 80’s. Now, their products are in the stores of several cosmetic shops around the world.
The motto is that inclusivity has always been their standard, reassured with their 42 shades of foundation. However, the most powerful message from Bobbi Brown herself is that the secret of beauty is simple; all you need to do is be who you are. And she really means it, as she is always talking about how people often don’t even need to contour, etc. For her, makeup is about highlighting the best you have, not completely changing your face. And I couldn’t agree more!
By the way, Bobbi Brown also has an amazing makeup book! You can learn more about this and other books by reading this post, with the Top 10 Makeup Books You Need to Read.
I love brands that take inclusivity beyond the skin tone. Covergirl is one of them. In 2018 they launched the Full Spectrum Collection targeting women of color, with 20 shades of their Matta Ambition All Day Foundation. But apart from that, their brand ambassadors include a septuagenarian model, called Maye Musk, the black actress Issa Rae, and the first hijab-wearing model, Nura Afia. With that, they really show that makeup is for everyone, whether your skin is black or white, young or mature, no matter your religion.
Jecca Blac‘s tagline is “makeup has no gender”, which represents their inclusivity pretty well. Jessica Blackler created the brand to offer a safe space for transgender women to learn, explore, and experiment with makeup.
They focus on gender-neutral products and donate part of their profits to a charity called Mermaids, which works to raise awareness about gender identity in children and young adults. They also employ a team of transitioning trans women to provide financial and emotional stability during probably, one of the most trying times in their lives.
Milk Makeup is every millennial’s, little darling. Its core values are diversity, inclusivity, and freedom. Their goal is to allow everyone to have the looks they want, whether it’s the fresh-face vibes or the night-life makeup. They want to encourage everyone, from every gender, age, and skin tone, to experiment through makeup and find their way to self-express through it. Apart from that, their products are paraben & cruelty-free, and entirely vegan.
Live Tinted is a brand and digital community that aims to help underrepresented people be proud of their identities and cultures. For them, no one is “too” anything; everyone is enough.
The Huestick in Found is an ultra-creamy eye, lip, and cheek multi stick with natural pigments that adapt to your skin’s tone and undertone. It’s also vegan, non-comedogenic, hypoallergenic, and cruelty-free – and also has a lot of good stuff for your skin such as hyaluronic acid, squalane, and vitamin C + E.
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Drop some of your favorite inclusive brands in the comments below so we can keep this list going.
Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.