Makeup Tips for Asian Women

Best foundations, why liner is a must & how fuller lashes can change your life

Young woman applying facial powder
BJI / Lane Oatey / Getty Images

No matter her ethnicity, every woman comes with her own set of unique traits that she wants to play up. We've compiled our favorite beauty and skincare tips for Asian skin. Find out how to pick the right foundation, how to play up your eyes, why eyeliner is so important and why eyelash extensions can change your life.

The Right Shade of Foundation

According to beauty expert, Bobbi Brown, in her book, Makeup Manual, yellow-based foundations work best on Asian skin.

"I've experimented with countless foundations over the years and I've found that yellow-toned foundations always look the most natural -- especially on Asian skin," Brown writes in her book.

Don't Skip the Eyeliner

It's best to enhance your natural eye shape. Eyeliner is important to help make eyes stand out. It's especially important to line the upper lids. There's no need to line the bottom lashes, but if you do, make sure the line is softer and smudged a bit with a finger. Never line the inside rim of the eye, it makes eyes appear smaller. Make sure the liner is visible when eyes are open. If they aren't, make the line thicker.

There are many amazing tutorials out there on applying a full face of makeup. You won't want to miss Lisa Eldridge's YouTube tutorial that includes a cat eye and pink cheeks. 

Build on the Eyeshadow

When it comes to eyeshadows, it's best to layer and blend in several shades on the lids up to the crease.

Don't try to create a crease by drawing in a darker line at the crease, this can look fake.

We've noticed Asian friends look incredible with deep jewel colors brushed across their lids. You can get away with lots of beautiful jewel colors including blues, greens, and even purples. We suggest experimenting with colors.

Use the layering technique when applying eyeshadows. Start with a light base color, top with a medium color on the lid and then build onto this with a deeper color on the lid. It's important to blend so the eye makeup doesn't look harsh.

How to Get Longer, Lusher Eyelashes

Every woman, no matter her ethnicity, seems to want longer, lusher eyelashes. Asian women, in particular, tend to look AMAZING with longer lashes and you have a few options available to you.

Here they are:

  • Eyelash curlers paired with a great mascara. I highly recommend curling eyelashes. If an eyelash curler doesn't work effectively, blast hot air for 3 seconds on your curler with a blowdryer. Test with your finger before latching onto your lashes. Follow with several coats of a thickening mascara (like Lancome).
  • False eyelashes. These are the simplest, least expensive method to getting longer lashes.
  • Professional eyelash extensions. Seeing them in person, eyelash extensions look absolutely amazing, so we highly recommend them. Larger cities boast salons dedicated to eyelash extensions. These are individually applied and last about 3-4 weeks. It's pretty pricey, but you can usually find deals from Groupon or the like. 
  • Latisse. We have many friends and colleagues who have the most amazing lashes thanks to Latisse. You have to get a prescription and the bottle seems costly at over $100 but it lasts a long time.

Add a Pop of Blush on the Apples of the Cheeks

A pop of pink or coral can make your skin look fresh and dewy. Learn more about how to apply blush.

Fill in Sparse Brows

Almost every woman, no matter her ethnicity, has sparse brows that need to be filled in, but Asian women, in particular, may find they need some brow help to help balance out a full head of lush hair.

Your best bet is to use a special brow brush and dark brown brow powder (never black, it's too harsh). Start on the inside of the brow and work your way to the outside of the brow.

Keep Brows Shaped

Because Asian women tend to have dark hair contrasted with lighter skin, any stray brow hairs will be obvious.

It's recommended you keep brows tweezed, waxed or threaded professionally. In between visits to the salon, tweeze brows yourself following the "map" set by the professional.

How to Fix Sunspots?

According to Brown, many Asian women are prone to sunspots, which are skin blemishes caused by sun damage. To combat this, wear a high SPF every day that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

To fix sunspots, Brown recommends you consider your skin surface tones. Most Asian women have yellow overtones and yellow surface tones which require a peach-based concealer. Women with pink surface tones caused by skin lightening solutions can try a pink-based concealer. Try various formulas at Sephora or a department store before you buy. Concealer that's too light will appear ashy once applied. We recommend asking for expert help when choosing the right shades. Step outside to double-check the shading.

What's the Big Deal About BB Creams?

The buzz over BB creams has yet to die down (the "BB" stands for Blemish Balm, but it's sort of a misnomer because even women without blemishes are going ga-ga for this stuff). BB creams gained popularity in Asian countries long before they became popular in Europe and in the US.

The history behind BB creams in Asian countries is fascinating. These creams were formulated in the 1950s by a German doctor to cover up and calm skin post-dermatological treatments. But they really became popular in South Korea and Japan in the 1980s. BB creams make up 13% of cosmetics sold in South Korea.

So what is it anyway? And most importantly, do you need it?

According to Faith Lawless, BB creams are "like getting a combination of a tinted moisturizer with skin care ingredients and an added SPF. They're hot right now because any beauty product that can multi-task is a must-have, and so the BB Cream is a must-have."

So are BB creams for you? It's up to you. Many Asian women are prone to sunspots and BB cream seems to address this problem brilliantly. That explains the popularity behind it in Asian countries.

Try one out and decide for yourself. With the generous return policies at Sephora and other department stores, you can get your money back if you feel the cream's not worth the (kinda pricey) price tag.