From mixing products to disguising dark circles, we’ve made finding the perfect foundation a whole lot easier…

Finding the right foundation shade can be challenging at the best of times, and that’s not factoring in the need to cover dark circles and skin pigmentation – the main concerns for the Middle Eastern woman – especially in a global market that predominately caters for white skin tones.

So, to save you hours of swatching at the beauty counter, we’ve talked to top international and regional makeup artists to discover the best foundations for darker skin tones.

Plus, we can reveal their top tips and tricks to buffing your way to a flawless complexion.

Scroll down to find our top five…

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Arab foundations - chanel

Perfection Lumiere Dhs218 Perfection Lumiere Velvet Dhs218 and Correcteur Perfection Dhs182 Chanel.

“The whole point of foundation is to enhance your skin, not hide it,” points out Najette Ezzarqui, makeup artist for Chanel.  Finding your shade can be tricky and can result in a disaster if too dark or light for your skin tone – we’ve all been there, no one wants to feel they are wearing a mask.

“Your jawline is less affected by skin colour changes than the rest of your face, therefore is the best place to test foundations and determine your shade,” she says.

“The most popular foundations for our [Arab] clients are Perfection Lumiere and Perfection Lumiere Velvet in shades N30 and N40”, reveals Ezzarqui. “They are both long-lasting with adjustable coverage –Perfection Lumiere is medium to intense whereas Perfection Lumiere is light to medium.

“We also find women in the region [GCC] love Correcteur Perfection concealer in N20 and N40 for disguising dark circles. Dab on to skin with the foam applicator and blend in with fingertips, patting lightly.”


Touche Eclat Le Teint Dhs270 YSL.

The perennial beauty problem for women of Middle Eastern descent is dark under-eye circles that won’t budge. But there may be a solution…

“You can hide darkness with an orange-tone concealer, and also choose a shade a touch lighter than your skin tone,” advises Iman Boutari, regional makeup artist for YSL. Boutari also recommends “opting for a ‘golden tone’ for warmer skin tones”. The most popular shades for the Touche Eclat Le Teint in the region are BD50, B50 and BD60.

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Arab foundations - ysl

Dolce&Gabbana Matte Liquid foundation Dhs270 Dolce&Gabbana.

Most women have resigned themselves to the fact that their shade doesn’t exist – but don’t give up yet. One Dolce&Gabbana international makeup artist we spoke to creates the perfect shade by mixing them up.

“For dark skin tones, you will need to mix different pigments – gold and pink – to make the skin tone appear neutral and natural,” he says. “Our best-sellers for dark skin tones are: 120 Natural Beige, 130 Warm Rose, 100 Natural glow and Perfect Matte Concealer in 4 Caramel.

“Apply on the chin – if you don’t see a difference then this is the right colour for you.”


Silk priming serum Dhs240 Lustrous Glow Foundation Dhs260 Luminous Perfecting Concealer Dhs195 Gucci available at Paris Gallery.

“Buying foundation for dark skin can be tricky due to the different undertones,” explains Kate Goodwin, Gucci regional makeup artist. “If you go too light the skin will appear ashy, and if you go too dark you can really add years to your face. The most popular colour for darker skin tones is 120, in particular the Satin Matte Foundation due to its matte, heavy coverage.”

Pigmentation and dark spots can be a concern for the Arab lady, but Goodwin banishes these areas by “using the same colour concealer as the foundation and a slightly lighter shade under the eyes and through the T-zone to lift and pull these areas forward”.

Before you even think about foundation, however, consider your base, Goodwin recommends.

“Gucci Silk Priming Serum is great for all skin tones as it’s a serum-based liquid which means it doesn’t make mid or darker skin tones look ashy, like I find with many primers on the market.”


Multi-Perfecting Concealer Dhs165 and Natural Perfection foundation Dh250 Guerlain.

With 18 shades and three different undertones, there’s bound to be a foundation for you at Guerlain.

“Darker skin, much like lighter skin, can be Warm (golden), Cool (rosy) or Neutral (an equal balance of golden and rosy). We need a foundation to match our undertone to avoid a mask effect or the foundation turning grey,” explains Alexandra Lynn, Guerlain international makeup artist.

Applying light shades to dark areas and circles can take us from glowing to gaunt. Lynn advises: “Choose shade 5 or 6 [of the Multi-Perfecting Concealer] and apply a very thin layer onto the dark areas using your ring finger. The heat from your finger will melt the product into the skin and create a more natural result. This corrector will lift the darkness and create a shade that will be easier to conceal.

“Once the corrector has been blended, apply thin layers of the same concealer that matches your skin until you have achieved the coverage that you desire. Tackling your dark circles this way will ensure that you don’t end up with grey under-eyes!”

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Image: 2016-17 Fall-Winter Ready-to-Wear Show Makeup CHANEL