Makeup For Women Of Color: A Review Of IMAN Cosmetics

Are you a woman of color who can never find a shade of drugstore foundation that correctly matches your skin tone? Never fear, for supermodel, businesswoman, author, and wife of David Bowie, Iman, has come to the rescue! The eponymous makeup line includes everything from: BB creme, CC creme, foundation, concealer, powder, bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, eye pencils, mascara, and other skin care lotions and serums. If you’re unaware of the inspirational gloriousness that is Iman, you’ve been missing out.

Iman was already an incredible supermodel success story. Born in Mogadishu, the Somalian model was discovered by American photographer Peter Beard while studying at the University of Nairobi in Kenya. Her first modeling assignment was in 1976 for Vogue. In 2010, Iman received a Fashion Icon lifetime achievement award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Throughout her illustrious, decade-spanning career, she worked with iconic designers and photographers alike, such as Yves St. Laurent, Versace, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, and Annie Liebovitz. She’s since gone on to pen two books (“I AM IMAN” and “The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color”), take up TV co-hosting with Issac Mizrahi, and design a line of handbags, jewelry, and fashion accessories exclusively for Her commitments don’t stop there; she’s also very active in philanthropic work. Iman works with charities such as The Children’s Defense Fund, Action Against Hunger and the RAISE HOPE FOR CONGO campaign.

Vogue, 1983
Iman in Italian Vogue, 1983

IMAN Cosmetics was launched in 1994 and was designed specifically for multi-cultural women of color. In 2004, the company aligned with Procter & Gamble. This new licensing agreement allowed the products to be available at mass retailers such as Target, Walmart, Walgreens and Duane Reade, opening up the beauty market to a huge section of society that often felt neglected. As a young black/multi-racial woman, it’s truly a joy and a relief to see such a thoughtfully-chosen array and variation of skin tones. Unlike a trip to the local drugstore, I didn’t have to settle for a shade that was “close enough” or second best. It was certainly an anxiety-free decision-making process.

I received the Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup in Clay 2 ($16), the CC Correct & Cover Powder to Creme Concealer in Clay, Medium Deep ($15), the Sheer Finish Bronzing Powder in Clay ($16), the Luxury Moisturizing Lipstick in Black Brandy ($10) and Opal ($10), the Luxury Liquid Eyeliner in Onyx ($10.99), the Amplify Mascara in Black Ink ($9) and the Volumize Mascara in Black Ink ($9). If you’re unsure of the right shade for you, the website has a helpful guide. Additionally, the site has a makeup application guide.

The Liquid Makeup provides light-to-medium coverage and is oil-free. I found the correct color after consulting the website and was pleasantly surprised that my estimation had been seamlessly accurate. The makeup is infused with pearlized micro-mineral pigments including zinc, copper, and iron, and a botanical extract complex of Acai (an Amazon-originating fruit), magnolia, cottonseed, and Vitamin E. The formula is paraben-free but does contain dimethicone, which is a type of silicon. I didn’t experience any breakouts while using the liquid makeup and was quite pleased with the way it easily blended with my skin tone, rather than transforming it into another shade entirely. It didn’t feel heavy or thick and with the aid of a jumbo sponge, it dispersed evenly. In comparison to other drugstore liquid makeups that I’ve tried, this one didn’t leave a cakey or chalky residue. After using the IMAN Luxury Radiance Liquid Makeup, I think I may give up Maybelline and Revlon foundation completely!

Products used: liquid foundation, bronzing powder and volumize mascara.

The CC Concealer, available in five shades, contains a formula made with amino acids, protein, Vitamins B, C, and E, and beta-carotene (pigment found in plants and fruits, considered an antioxidant). The paraben-free concealer begins as a powder that transforms upon application into a concealing cream. It aims to even out imperfections such as under-eye darkness, blemishes and hyper pigmentation. It should be noted that it does not provide sunscreen or sun-protection.

The Sheer Finish Bronzing Powder comes in three shades: Afterglow, Sand and Clay. It can be worn as an all-over complexion enhancer or as a blush. I found that the shimmer-tinged powder was more effective when applied all-over. I used it on top of the Liquid Makeup and looked a warmer brown than embarrassingly orange.

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The Luxury Moisturizing Lipsticks were rich in color, even when worn alone and without the suggested Perfect Lip Liner. The new formula includes jojoba, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe, and Vitamin E. Both the Black Brandy and Opal shades are the type of cool, vampy, dark colors that I had yet to find in the aisles of Target. They both had solid staying power even after a cup of coffee.

Top: Black Brandy, #6 Bottom: Opal, #12
Top: Black Brandy, #6
Bottom: Opal, #12

The Luxury Liquid Eyeliner in Onyx provided a great way to achieve a skinny cat-eye. Rimmel makes a liquid eyeliner reminiscent of the IMAN Collection. However, I’ve found that the Rimmel eyeliner had an applicator that interfered with technique precision. This eyeliner, with its gemstone inspired sparkle, is smudge resistant and didn’t flake after a few hours of wear.

Finally, the Amplify Mascara and Volumize Mascara are true to their names, to an extent. The Amplify Mascara comes with a fine-toothed comb and short bristles. The formula contains Vitamin E and Jojoba. Although the detail-orientated wands did help with the application, I felt like I had to apply a thicker layer than normal in order to see a definite effect. Similarly, the Volumize Mascara needed a bit of extra diligence to achieve the promised results. I needed more than one generous coat to get the look I wanted. Like the Amplify Mascara, the formula contains Vitamin E and Jojoba.

IMAN cosmetics are not tested on animals. To buy IMAN cosmetics online, visit the website, To buy IMAN cosmetics online, visit the website, Drugstore.comTarget.comWalgreens.comUlta, Sears, and Walmart.For a complete list of where to buy IMAN cosmetics, check their stocklist. In addition to makeup, the site sells an assortment of skincare products.

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