She's Asian and beautiful

  • Style
  • Tuesday, 25 Feb 2014

Colour me confident: Having a darker skin tone is no barrier to beauty as you can get away with stronger shades. – Photos of models from Bobbi Brown’s book, 'Pretty Powerful: Beauty Stories To Inspire'

If you have a darker skin tone, embrace it, as you are blessed with the ability to

get away with bolder shades.

YOU’VE probably heard of the idiom “beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.” Fortunately, so do products. This means there’s something for everyone out there, no matter what your skin tone or face shape, to help you look your natural best.

The thing is, Hollywood gives a surreal approach to beauty and many people have the misconception that it’s tough to find suitable make-up for darker skin tones.

Make-up gurus, however, say the exact opposite as those with darker colour, apparently, can get away with bolder shades and not come off looking as though someone used all the colours in the paintbox on your face!

Given the many different brands available today plus the right know-how, it’s quite possible to achieve runway looks without trying too hard.

One of the most common complaints is that it’s difficult to find the perfect shade of foundation to match darker skin tones.

According to Carina Choo, senior education manager for Bobbi Brown Malaysia, most make-up products suit all skin types, regardless of ethnicity. So, it’s really about choosing the right colour.

“You must understand your personal concerns and expectations. Find out which products offer the best solution to your needs, and never follow a beauty trend blindly,” she advises. “There’s no fixed formula that absolutely works for all. That’s why it’s important to always try the product before you make a purchase.”

That being said, there are some basic rules to follow. For example, foundations with a yellow base generally work better for Asian skin. Using those with a red or pink undertone may leave you looking too white or give you an orange pallor.

(Above and below) Foundations with a yellow base generally work better for Asian skin.

Director of product and brand development for Ronasutra, Audri Zin, thinks that it’s important for Asian women not to go more than one shade above or below your natural skin colour.

“Choosing colours that are too light, for instance, will result in an unnatural, ashen and unhealthy look. Also, choose those that contain a natural sheen that will reflect light and give off a healthy glow.

“Asians should also look to mineral make-up. As they tend to have sensitive skin, a mineral (rather than pigment) base works better for them. Their skins are often smoother too, and as such, a light coverage is sufficient,” Zin adds.

Many Asians often have single or heavy eyelids that make the eyes look tired or smaller. Also, they tend to have less prominent cheekbones. This makes their faces appear wider and rounder.

The trick here is to play up your natural features and avoid trying to transform yourself into something you’re not. It’s quite easy to subtly enhance other areas with the right shading and tools to make them appear distinctive.

For instance, Haritha Shan, senior make-up artist for M.A.C, is of the opinion that Asian women tend to have sparse eyebrows. This can be a problem as brows work to help frame and define the face.

“Almost every woman, no matter her ethnicity, has sparse brows that need to be filled in, but Asians in particular, may need a little more help. Doing so will balance out your features beautifully.”

Haritha adds that one should try custom-blending foundations. She says that if you are unable to find the perfect shade that suits your skin tone, try mixing two different shades to get one that will match perfectly.

Wearing foundation that is too light for your skin tone will have you looking like a ghost. This will look unnatural and clearly shows that you’re wearing foundation, and one that’s not flattering to your look.

Jeannie Mai says Asians should not dismiss their looks for Western ideals.

Too dark and you’ll end up looking like you’re wearing a mask. But if you want to play it safe, choosing a foundation that’s just a shade darker will look like you’ve just got a tan, and this can be evened out with a lighter-coloured loose powder.

Other recommendations include playing up the lips with either rich or extremely soft colours. Blushes should be applied high on the cheeks to make your face look more sculpted.

In Malaysia, women tend to leave out liners, but these along with the right eyeshadow, can make a difference in highlighting the eyes and make them look larger.

US make-up artist and TV personality Jeannie Mai (born to a Chinese mother and Vietnamese father), is a regular advocate of Asian beauty. She frequently talks about how it shouldn’t be dismissed for Western ideals.

In a video posted on YouTube, she speaks about Asian eyes and how gorgeous they are. Her video demonstrates how one can accentuate them to look sexy and gorgeous with the right make-up.

“Embrace your face. Embrace exactly the way you look. Use make-up to enhance your natural features. Avoid trying to transform yourself into something you’re not,” she said in an interview.

In an article on multi-cultural beauty by Gerrie Summers, celebrity make-up artist Monae Everett Geark said that dark skin tones can generally wear almost any colour. Warmer tones such as gold or bronze complement darker skin tones the best. Dark colours look more natural and beautiful on dark skin such as deep purples, dark blue, and black eye shadows, she added.

Related story:

Make-up products: Test it out

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