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In the last 10 days since Fenty Beauty, Rihanna’s new makeup line, launched, it has gone from praised and popular, to cult-status and sold out. And while the whole line has been heralded for its unique and inclusive design, the Matte Longwear Foundation ($34) has stood out for one extraordinary reason: 40 different shades of foundation.

And while that might not sound revolutionary to some, it is game-changing for many who have had trouble finding foundation to match their skin tone.

Rihanna said in a press release that, “Fenty Beauty was created for everyone: for women of all shades, personalities, attitudes, cultures, and races. I wanted everyone to feel included. That’s the reason I made this line.”

Customers agree with Rihanna, too: While all shades have been a buzz on Sephora’s shelves (where it’s exclusively sold), the darker shades have been selling out everywhere. And with 40 shades focused on a wide range of traditionally hard-to-match skin tones, it is one of the most diverse color ranges on the market.

And Fenty Beauty is not alone in it’s diverse shade offering either.

Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation ($43) also comes in 40 diverse shades. And Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H Long Lasting Foundation ($47) also is available in 40 shades. Cover FX launched a new beauty campaign: Nude Is Not Beige, showcasing their Natural Finish Foundation, which is, yep, in 40 global shades.

“We are passionate about offering a perfect shade for every woman, which is why we expanded our foundation shade range in 2015 with 40 diverse shades in three undertones, developed to match real skin,” said Sharon Collier, Cover FX CEO, in a press release.

Forty shades are great. But what about 72,000 customization possibilities? While that might sound ridiculous, Lancome has found a way to do exactly that with their new customized foundation Le Teint Particulier ($80).

Like something created from a beauty sci-fi movie, the foundation is created after the skin is scanned in several spots, which creates a customized algorithm special to just you. Your natural moisture level and coverage preference is noted, and bam!, the foundation is mixed right there in front of you in a high-tech machine, and a customized label with your special blend and name is printed and placed on your bottle. (My complexion number is 0050000057, and it melts into my skin, and we’re really happy together, thanks.)

“I’ve managed to match every single consumer who’s come into my chair, and has been struggling with their shades, especially women of color,” says Nicole Pitcher, Elevated Service Specialist for Lancôme USA. “It’s usually the women of color that are the most skeptical because they’ve been failed by other foundations so many times that they are really discouraged. It’s great to be able to offer the shade range to them. They walk away crying, saying, ‘I can’t believe something finally worked.’”

Le Teint Particulier is currently a Nordstrom exclusive, first launched in a few stores in 2015, and now available in 16 stores nationwide. The whole process is done right at the counter—testing your color, mixing it, and customized label.

A variety of shades is catching on beyond just makeup though. Christian Louboutin was the first major designer to include a range of skin tones for it’s nude collection in 2013. Over the years, the brand continues to build on this inclusive approach by adding even more colors and styles, and now Louboutin is available in seven shades of nudes.


Adding onto that notion, Aerie (American Eagle’s intimate line) released their Real Me collection in August with up to eight shades of nude undies and bras, all with a campaign shot in a desert on a diverse cast of models, and entirely unretouched.

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