Foundation Shade Names: What Is A ‘Natural’ Skin Tone?

Foundation shade names may seem meaningless. But what’s behind the terminology?

I found myself on the QVC website, and I saw an offer on makeup, so I couldn’t resist. So when I was looking for my shade, they only had limited shades as the “offer”only had certain shades included in the offer.

Searching… Searching….

All to no avail. The few shades they had as apart of the offer, were either too light or too dark. So detective Toni (me) decides to have a quick look on the brand in questions actual website. Which is Bobbi Brown. And they have way more of a shade range. But that doesn’t really help me as I’d have to pay full price. So I go back on QVC again, have a thorough look through the shades to see if anything is even close to my complexion…

“The computer says no.” If you’re a ‘Little Britain’ fan, you’ll get the joke.

But anyways, this resulted in me not being able to buy the offer. Which I was pretty sad about. As it seemed like they had more lighter shades, and a few darker ones, but not a shade right for me. So whilst I was looking at the Bobbi Brown shades QVC were selling as apart of the offer, I notice the names of the shades.

‘Porcelain’, ‘Sand’, ‘Ivory’ – I don’t really have an issue with. These shade names would actually help someone navigate their way through a shade selection automatically, I’d imagine. I see ‘Almond’, ‘Honey’ etc, and again – don’t really have an issue with it. As they’d automatically alert you to know mentally what shade honey or almond is. Like the food comparisons, so I completely understood that, and it makes rational sense to me.

But then, I see the word – ‘Natural’.

I couldn’t make sense of it. Right now, I dare you to come to a logical guess as to what kind of shade that is.

The results are in. The shade is….

Light. In colour. Now, when I tell you they had 6 light shades, 2 darker tanned shades and 2 rich shades. That’s literally what they had as apart of the offer. If I bought the foundation stick on its own, either on QVC or Bobbi Brown, there’s a wider selection of shades. Would I say the number or fair/light shades are equivalent to the darker shades? No. But that’s the beauty world as we know it.

The shade name ‘Natural’ is the exact same on QVC as it is on Bobbi Brown. So it’s essentially, ‘Bobbi Brown’ that labelled a shade ‘Natural’.

Now I ask you, what complexion is a ‘Natural’ shade, and what is an unnatural or abnormal shade? Clearly if Bobbi Brown originally made that shade name for her brand, she (Bobbi Brown – Makeup Artist) I assume would think a considerably darker complexion to be abnormal?

I was shocked at what I saw, and still am. But I also know, this brand isn’t the only one to have inappropriate and offensive shade names. There’s too many to list. But that does not make it right, ever.

These same brands are the exact ones to post “Black Lives Matter”, and about “Racial Injustice”, but their own products are racially incorrect.

We’re in 2020, and people still certain terminologies like “English Rose” to identify a female of porcelain or fair skin. Why does someone associated with being from England, have to require porcelain skin?

An “English Rose” complexion

I like makeup brands. Bobbi Brown being one of them. But labels like these can be extremely hurtful and dividing in who’s skin complexion they perceive as ‘Natural’. Imagine, how someone of a different complexion must feel like at the makeup counter, searching for her perfect foundation match, then seeing the shade name ‘Natural’? How would you feel?

What do you think? Have you ever encountered an experience at the makeup counter? What would you find offensive? Comment below!

6 thoughts on “Foundation Shade Names: What Is A ‘Natural’ Skin Tone?

  1. It gets worse, there are plenty of “anti-aging” makeup but nothing for the already aged skin. Who needs the make-up more, the young and flawless or the old and wrinkled. If one is not the approved of skin then forget it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! The beauty market still has a long way to go with being completely diverse. Whether that’s the shade ranges or ages to whom they’re marketing their products for.

      Different formulas are needed!
      But I’d recommend a light-weight formula for ageing skin so it doesn’t settle into creases etc. I use a light-weight foundation already! Armani luminous silk. As I find heavy formulas settle into my smile lines, with my big cheeks!😂
      I hope this helps!
      And thankyouu so much for raising such a good point!🤗😃


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