Maitreyi Ramakrishnan shares the struggles of her shade matching journey

"I want to make sure that it looks like me"

Editor / March 24 2023

As the star of Netflix hit Never Have I Ever, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan has certainly had to play her fair share of the show’s namesake game during press tours for its three (soon to be four; eek, exciting) seasons.

But in an ‘everyday makeup’ video Ramakrishnan filmed for Vogue, the actress revealed that ‘never have I ever… had an easy time finding a foundation” would be frustratingly accurate. Because the beauty industry certainly hasn’t made things simple there…

Here’s her journey with shade matching (and the foundation formulas she now relies on)…

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s shade matching experience

“I, being the Canadian person that I am, it’s hard to get makeup sometimes,” Ramakrishnan explained, acknowledging the lack of inclusive shade availability and the fact that many countries still only cater to a portion of their population.

In fact, it wasn’t until she hit Hollywood that she was able to find foundation shades that suited her skin. “I am very cognizant of the fact that I have the privilege of makeup artists who really helped me find my match. Before makeup artists in my life, it would be me walking into a store, and praying I get a sales rep that was nice enough to actually care.”

Um, that last sentence has us on the verge of fury tears. If you’re a beauty sales rep, it’s your literal job to care that customers walk out happy! And properly shade-matched! However, it is worth noting that shade inclusivity is no doubt something that needs to start from the top (AKA the brands). If the companies don’t sell the shades, even a sales rep that does care isn’t able to shade-match correctly.


Maitreyi Ramakrishnan’s foundation routine

Luckily, the actress did end up discovering shades that suited her, thanks to a little help from her industry pals. She does, however, still like to mix shades to build her perfect base – a tell-tale sign that shade-creating committees still have a lot of work to do.

“It’s always so hard to colour match as a woman of colour. I’m actually going to use two foundations,” Ramakrishnan noted. “This one from PUR gives me better coverage,” she said, referring to the PUR Cosmetics Love Your Selfie™ Longwear Foundation & Concealer ($53.48 at PUR Cosmetics). “This one gives me more of the right tint,” she added, showing a bottle of Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($105 at Sephora).

As for her second base step, Ramakrishnan had a stellar recommendation: “NARS [Radiant Creamy] Concealer ($51 at MECCA). This is the go-to brown girl concealer,” she explained. “It just gives you great coverage.”

PUR Cosmetics Love Your Selfie™ Longwear Foundation & Concealer

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

She doesn’t like to go overboard with application, though. “It’s so important to me that my skin stays my skin,” she shared. “I don’t want to have white cast over my face or anything like that. I want to make sure that it looks like me.”

She’s grateful that the influential women in her life taught her to feel that way, too. “I’m very thankful [to] my mum and my grandma for the way that they raised me, because many south Asian people were told ‘don’t go out into the sun, don’t go play outside in the sun, you’re gonna get darker, [like] that’s a bad thing. My parents, my grandparents, they never did that.”

She hopes that others don’t have to grow up with messaging like that or the struggles of shade-matching in a market not catering to your complexion. “Hopefully moving forward, other young little south Asian kids and kids of colour have that experience, because colourism is f*cking whack.”

Main image credit: @maitreyiramakrishnan

Want more celebrity base routines? Here are Florence Pugh’s faves...

Delaney began her career in the Australian beauty media industry in 2015, landing amidst the glossy world of women’s lifestyle magazines (or more literally, in their beauty cupboards). Since then, she has gone on to write across a multitude of beloved Australian media brands, including OK!, NW, InStyle, and Harper’s BAZAAR. She’s covered every side of beauty content, from directing beauty editorial shoots to rounding up the best glossy serums for golden hour skin. Having spent nearly a decade immersed in the beauty realm, Delaney’s knowledge of beauty is as extensive as her collection of tinted lip oils (read: extremely extensive). Delaney is currently the Digital Managing Editor of BEAUTYcrew, and her beauty wisdom also appears across beautyheaven, ELLE and Marie Claire. She enjoys channelling her personal hobby (testing beauty products) into her professional work (talking about testing beauty products), and considers perfecting the art of a cat eye in a moving car her life’s greatest accomplishment.