By Jennifer Olvera
When it comes to selecting the right foundation, taking a one-size-fits-all approach simply won't do. This is certainly true for Asian beauties whether you're Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Filipino, or Indian. To achieve a smooth, uniform-looking complexion, trial and error and lots of blending may be necessary, according to Thevaki Thambirajah, founder of New York-based Thevi Cosmetics. Since most foundations out there seem to have red or pink undertones, it's important to test a few different colors in natural light. You can usually pick up a few samples from your local department store to try before you buy.
Where to start: Finding the perfect match can prove challenging, so it's best to visit your local beauty counter to have a makeup artist match your skin tone exactly. If you decide to head to the drugstore instead, Melisse Gelula, a New York-based spa beauty expert and co-founder of WellandGoodNYC.com, recommends buying two colors and mixing them yourself, since finding a perfect match is practically unheard of. Use the back of your hand, and blend to match rather than cover your skin.
About color: The prevailing thought is that Asian women require a yellow-tinged rather than pink-based foundation, because it accentuates their natural skin tone. However, L.A. celebrity hairstylist and beauty expert Hasblady Guzman recommends trying nonashy blue bases, which help bring balance to the yellow in Asian skin. At the end of the day, you want a seamless look, Gelula notes, pointing to lines like Makeup Forever, Prescriptives, and Sephora because they're wide-ranging, or the Japanese line Shu Uemura, which takes into account Asian coloring.
Things of note: One commonality among Asian women is that mineral makeup tends to work best. However, applying it properly takes some skill (or at least practice). Alternatively, a skin-perfecting gel or primer such as Perfekt may be all you need to achieve a dewy glow, Gelula says. Because Asian women can expect their skin tones to change depending on the time of year, Thambirajah says, it's important to know that no single potion will work for all seasons. Another potential pitfall is that Asian women can appear sallow when the wrong foundation is used. Dara Klein, CEO and founder of Daramascara, suggests bypassing too-dark yellow-beige foundations and finishing with bright, white, translucent powder, which brightens the skin rather than giving it a "kabuki finish."
Jennifer Olvera is a Chicago freelance writer covering food, dining, travel, nightlife, entertainment, spa and lifestyle-related topics for internationally recognized magazines, newspapers, books and websites. She's the Chicago nightlife editor for Zagat and the Midwest editor and Chicago dining writer for Gayot.com. Jennifer regularly writes cover stories (and tests recipes) for the Food section of the Chicago Sun-Times while penning pieces about far-flung destinations for the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and Frommers.com.