The Runway Diva Says. . . Is an online advice column for aspiring models. As a 20 year veteran of the fashion industry as a plus sized model, I have found in my travels that most aspiring models, no matter their size, don't have a clue of the tools needed to become a successful model. Hopefully, I can help make their journey a little easier. Please Email me your questions to

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Finding the Correct Foundation for Your Skin Tone


Huge fan of yours! Both my boyfriend and I loved you on Monique's show.

Question: It's clear to me that you have wonderful skin. I am working on mine, eating better and seeing a professional, but I was wondering if you might recommend a makeup line that works well on black skin. I have been a MAC fan for years but find that even with my red undertones, MAC is still too red for me. I have heard good things about Bobbi Brown. Any ideas?

Stay fierce,

Tamika Simmons

Hello Tamika!

Thanks for the compliment! Hmmmmm....too red you say? I am a huge fan of MAC's pretty much all that I use anymore. Let me ask you this, did you let a MAC make up artist select a shade for you or did you try to choose one yourself? Also, did you go outside in natural light and check the color out before you purchased it? Most retail stores use that horrible fluorescent lighting and EVERYTHING looks off in it. If you have already done that and still find that the make up is too red, there are few other brands you can try.

Bobbi Brown ( is an excellent brand but very pricey.

You might want to try some other brands that are specifically designed for the dynamic range of colors in African American skin tones.

These three brands have been around a long time and are pretty consistent:

Flori Roberts -
Fashion Fair Cosmetics -
Iman -

There are also drugstore brands like:

Black Opal -

Black Opal has a pretty wide range of colors and is inexpensive but the drawback is that there is no one to guide you through the products in the store...but they do have a lot of red tones, especially in the make up stick formulas.

Whatever brand you decide to go with, please don't forget to go outside in natural light and check your make up there...NOT in the store. If at all possible let a professional guide you through the products and help you make a selection. If you still are having may have to mix and match two different foundations to come up with a color that works for you.

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!