Dear Asian Beauty Brands, Please Offer More Shades For Different Skin Tones

The YesStyle BeautyLab

Months before the launch of Rihanna’s makeup brand Fenty Beauty, there was already considerable buzz about it on social media from fans, beauty bloggers, makeup artists, and fashion and lifestyle magazines.

Since then, photo after photo on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter showed that many of the darker shades of the brand’s Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation — which comes in a whopping 40 shades — sold out instantly. A photo tweeted by Affinity Magazine showing a Fenty Beauty display with half-empty slots went viral. Even those who suffer from albinism (lack of pigment in hair and skin) were able to find suitable shades from Fenty Beauty. How’s that for inclusivity?

Tweet: Affinity Magazine

All 40 shades of Fenty Beauty’s Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation
Image from Fenty Beauty

Beyond Beige

I’m envious of all the women who managed to snag the darker shades because here in Asia, I mostly have to content myself with only four shades — six if I’m lucky — of foundation, powder or concealer. As a woman with a medium skin tone and neutral undertones (my shade is actually medium), I usually don’t fit into makeup shades carried by Asian beauty brands. A majority of Korean brands only carry three shades — 22, 21 and 23. This is why I usually end up buying Western brands like Maybelline and Neutrogena which offer more options.

The same Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control in shades available in Hong Kong (top) and the United States (bottom).
Images from Laneige HK and Laneige US

With Asian brands, my complexion is still too dark for 23, and the same goes for my colleague and fellow blogger Maureen when she tried a cushion in the same shade. It doesn’t help that a majority of the colors are simply called “beige” or iterations of it like medium beige, dark beige or light beige. While East Asians are often perceived as fair-skinned, there are also many from the region who have darker skin tones.

More Asian Skin Tones

The Asian beauty industry is ahead of its Western counterparts in many ways but makeup shades are where they need to catch up as proven by the success of Fenty Beauty. That said, I’m pleased to find out that AmorePacific, one of the biggest Korean beauty conglomerates, is now setting their sights on the Southeast Asian market. Their plan is to introduce a number of new makeup shades to reflect a wider range of skin tones.

I’m already seeing maiden efforts here on YesStyle as more and more brands expand their range of skin tones. From the usual two or three, I’m now seeing six, sometimes even eight or more! I’ve compiled a list ofproducts that are now available in more than three shades. Here’s hoping that we’ll see the beauty of ALL skin tones in even more Asian brands very soon!


Images:, (Sulwhasoo swatch)

Top to bottom: Sulwhasoo – Perfecting Cushion EX SPF50+ PA+++ With Refill (10 Colors) | HERA – Black Cushion SPF34 PA++ With Refill (6 Colors) | MEMEBOX – PONY EFFECT Everlasting Cushion Foundation SPF50+ PA+++ With Refill (7 Colors)



Top to bottom: eSpoir – Pro Tailor Liquid Foundation EX SPF25 PA++ (11 Colors) 30ml | Etude House – Double Lasting Foundation NEW SPF34 PA++ 30g (12 Colors) | The Saem – Eco Soul Skin Wear Foundation SPF20 PA++ 30ml (6 Colors)

Face Powders


Top to bottom: Ottie – Face Powder (9 Colors) | HERA – True Wear Twin Cake SPF32 PA+++ (4 Colors) |
eSpoir – Pro Taylor Essence Compact SPF50+ PA+++ With Refill (8 Shades)

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