In the now-heated rush for every cosmetics brand to come to market with at least 40 shades of foundation (thanks, Fenty), there’s still a question of how truly inclusive their shade ranges are. Whether it’s an issue of the majority of shades still falling firmly in the “beige” category, or undertones not being correctly addressed, the foundation-for-all fight continues in the beauty industry.
This is just one reason to be grateful for the rise of YouTube beauty bloggers, who demo products so we don’t have to. And when it comes to addressing the issues facing dark-skinned makeup junkies, there’s no one we trust more than YouTube beauty blogger Nyma Tang.
Tang is a Dallas-based, Sudan-born (in the area now known as South Sudan), award-winning beauty aficionado who has gently but firmly taken the beauty industry to task, simply by posting videos of herself trying out new beauty launches on her very dark, coolly undertoned skin, to varying degrees of success. As Tang told Allure in 2017:
Showing what the darkest shades look like on my skin tone is important because there aren’t a lot of people with my complexion in mainstream media or on YouTube. People tend to not know what to do with my complexion. Also, my ‘Darkest Shade’ series can be used as a reference list of different cosmetic companies that cater to deeper skin tones. ... I felt like if I didn’t do it then the darker side of the spectrum is just going to keep going unnoticed. ... Whether or not this product works, I hope companies realize that you have to include everybody.
Tang’s videos have been viewed by millions, many of whom do indeed consider her a guide for whether a much-hyped product has anything to offer them. So when we learned that she’d reviewed Dior’s new Backstage line, which touts—you guessed it—40 shades of its Face & Body Foundation ($40), we couldn’t wait to see how deep the brand had gone on the “deep dark” spectrum. Would this product fall short for Tang?
As it turns out, it didn’t—at least not colorwise. In fact, Tang, who tested out 8 Neutral and 9 Neutral, the two darkest shades in the Dior Face & Body Foundation range, chose the lighter of the two (8N), in favor of matching her chest rather than her face (which was a true 9N).
While Tang personally felt that the foundation’s natural matte finish was a bit too matte for her dewier preferences, she did find the finish “beautiful,” and advised that matte lovers might find their match in this formulation.
Tang, who prefers icier tones in her makeup, found less success in Dior’s palettes, entirely skipping over the Eyeshadow Palette ($49, in Cool and Warm), which she feared would look “ashy” on her skin, and the Contour Palette ($45), which was laughable for her tone (and for most brown-skinned women, to be honest).
She had better success with the brand’s Glow Face Palette ($45), which erred on the golden side but provided a very vivid highlight to Tang’s cheek and brow bones. The brand’s Lip Palette ($49) was a lesser hit, since only one shade seemed to appeal to Tang (although the color was lovely on her).
After she sprayed her look with a setting spray to give her the dewy finish she desired, she wore the look for seven to eight hours, and the foundation held up. But while Tang loved Dior’s shade match, she remained emphatic that the finish is definitely matte, which seems to be an overwhelming trend in foundation launches (we’re personally eager to see some glowier finishes hit the market).
It was a mixed review, but all in all, it looks like Dior Backstage came through for all the beauties this round, at least on the foundation front. It’s an accomplishment that Tang told Allure she hopes more cosmetics brands will aspire to:
This struggle not only exists with the deeper side of the spectrum but also with the paler side, as well ... I’m also trying to make people aware that there is a market for the extreme sides of the spectrum. Beauty should be inclusive, no matter your skin tone.