Search

Malaysia’s women of colour on where (and how) to shop for shade-inclusive makeup

Malaysia’s women of colour on where (and how) to shop for shade-inclusive makeup

Unfair and lovely

Text: Joanna Pinto


Image: Instagram/@pricillamark
Image: Instagram/@natalieisasleep
Image: Instagram/@tashaaleia
Image: Instagram/@natalyetan

Looking for colour-inclusive makeup in KL? Here are tips on the best way to shop for darker skin

We've covered finding size-inclusive clothing for plus size women, but what about shade-inclusive makeup for Malaysia's women of colour? If you're blessed with more melanin in your skin than the average Jane, chances are, you're so done with hitting certain makeup isles in KL because let's face it, when it comes to complexion products, even the 'darkest' shade available is sometimes too light for your skin tone (#realtalk: how is it possible that shade #4 named sand beige or honey is the darkest hue offered in a tropical country like Malaysia?).

If this is part of your frustration when shopping for makeup, take notes from these deeper-toned ladies who know exactly where (and how) to score the best colour-inclusive beauty buys for brown babes.

 

1. Pricilla Mark
IG: @pricillamark
Occupation: Content Creator & Makeup Artist

 

What struggles do you face when shopping for makeup in KL?

Pricilla (P): "One word: foundation. I've been dabbling in makeup for about five to six years now but when I first started, getting the right foundation shade was so difficult. I have a warm deep tan with red undertones but back then, most of the foundation undertones were either blue or yellow. There were only a few high-end brands that had products that were close to my shade, so I'd mix two to three foundation hues to achieve my true shade."

 

What do you think of the portrayal of women of colour in Malaysia?

P: "We need to see more women of colour on billboards and advertisements. As we're a diverse nation comprising people of all colours and body types, it's time we included them into our daily media. We're not there yet, but it's getting better. There are photographers like Catherhea and Daniel Adams who created a recent series called "Dark Skin Is" showcasing melanin beauty in Malaysia; then there's Nita Cosmetics, a beauty brand that produced an extensive line of foundation shades—they even included women of colour in their advertisements."

 

 

Where do you shop for colour-inclusive makeup in KL?

P: "I don't really stick to one brand. However, Fenty Beauty is my staple favourite for foundation and you can get it in Sephora. For other makeup products, I like to experiment with brands. I just discovered Beauty Bay and their eyeshadow palette is not only affordable but also highly pigmented and shows up on tan skin."

 

Any personal shopping tips you swear by?

P: "Study your skin, know your undertone and know your skin type. There are tonnes of YouTube videos—binge-watch them before you decide on something. If you're testing out a foundation, do a patch test. I'd pick out two to three shades that might be a match and apply them to different spots on my face. After an hour or two, I'd check to see which one matches my skin after oxidisation. Then, I'd do a flash test with my phone. That's one sure-fire way to find the shade that works for you."

 

What are your top three favourites when it comes to complexion products?

P: "My Fenty Beauty Foundation in 420, followed by my ColourPop concealer and Laura Mercier translucent powder."

 

 

What do you usually splurge or save on when it comes to makeup?

P: "I splurge on base makeup (primer, foundation and setting powder) because a good base determines how long your makeup stays on. My go-to is again, Fenty Beauty and as for setting powder, Laura Mercier's translucent powder in deep is perfect for tan skin tones."

 

What other products do you wish brands would include/carry in their makeup range in the future?

P: "With foundation ranges growing, I think it's time for brands to expand on powders, contours and bronzers for deeper skin tones."

 

2. Natalie Hussain
IG: @natalieisasleep
Occupation: Journalist & TV Host

 

What struggles do you face when shopping for makeup in KL?

Natalie (N): "I think the struggle is more psychological. After a couple of testers, you realise that some makeup brands only formulate their products to cater to lighter skin. As a result, you feel extremely excluded from the privilege and luxury of wearing makeup and feeling empowered. It's something many of us don't think much of but it manifests in different ways later on in life, either through insecurities or fear of exclusion."

 

What do you think of the portrayal of women of colour in Malaysia?

N: "To be frank, the representation of women of colour in the mainstream Malaysian media is close to none; this is problematic! Why? Because a large population of Malaysians are more tanned/dark than what is deemed 'beautiful' in mainstream media and when these people do not see themselves being represented in a positive light on TV or ads, it becomes harder for them to feel empowered. Plus, when there is a character with a deeper skin tone, they are often considered less than either intellectually or from a beauty standpoint—take a look at Watson's ads a few years ago, for example, or the countless Fair & Lovely ads. We really need to amp up our representation in all forms of media in Malaysia."

 

 

Where do you shop for colour-inclusive makeup in KL?

N: "Fenty, Nars, MAC and Urban Decay. Side note: A lot of makeup stores claim to have shades for EVERYONE but their colours don't actually match those with deeper skin tones because the tint will be off; for example, too ashy because they are still formulating these products the same way they do lighter shades."

 

Any personal shopping tips you swear by?

N: "Makeup oxidises over time and can lead to change in colour/shade, so it's best to try something on, wait a little while by browsing the store or mall, then come back to it later to see if the product has settled in to your liking."

 

What are your top three favourites when it comes to complexion products?

N: "Fenty Pro Filt'r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation, Nars Contour Blush and MAC Pro Longwear Powder Pressed."

 

 

What do you usually splurge or save on when it comes to makeup?

N: "To be honest, I don't splurge on makeup all the time! I'm quite economical when it comes to makeup because I don't wear it every day, only for certain occasions or events. But if there was something I'd have to choose based on a guilty pleasure, I'd say lipstick".

 

What other products do you wish brands would include/carry in their makeup range in the future?

N: "Nothing! I think beauty brands just have way too many products to the point where it starts to seem very unnecessary and not sustainable. I used to receive a lot of samples; after a while I realised that many of the products are similar to what I'd already own/received in the past, only they've been re-labelled, repackaged, re-marketed to look like something different and of novelty. Foundation, contour/blush kit, eyeshadow, eyeliner, lipstick, highlighter is all I really need."

 

3. Tasha Aleia
IG: @tashaaleia
Occupation: Singer & Host

 

What struggles do you face when shopping for makeup in KL?

Tasha (T): "Finding the perfect foundation shade! I have an uneven skin tone; my forehead is much darker than the rest of my face, my cheeks are fairer than my jaw and my neck is super light! So it's quite hard to shade-match and find my exact colour because most of the time, the salesperson would only test out the foundation on my jaw. It's either I'll end up looking grey or darker than I actually am."

 

What do you think of the portrayal of women of colour in Malaysia?

T: "Most Malaysian women still regard fairness as the ideal (Asian) beauty standard, apart from being tall and skinny—I definitely do not conform to it. For the longest time, fair skin has been overrepresented in the media, what with all the whitening cream ads. Ultimately, it's conditioned Malaysians to associate it with good qualities. It's great that now, the media is starting to promote inclusivity and representation of women of colour but there's still so much to be done—we should encourage people to be comfortable in their own skin and see that different skin types are beautiful."

 

 

Where do you shop for colour-inclusive makeup in KL?

T: "Sephora is my go-to. It's got numerous brands under one roof that I can try out and they offer samples too, so I can test it out a couple of times before making a decision. I don't usually shop for makeup online because I need to be able to test it out first to see if I like it or not."

 

Any personal shopping tips you swear by?

T: "If you can, ask for a sample to see whether a shade really suits you before committing to your purchase, especially when you're trying out new foundations or concealers as they can look different on your skin when you're in the store versus outdoors. I like to try them on when I have a show just so I can see if it stays on well and if it looks good in photos, and then get my friends' (hopefully honest) opinion on it. Also for my tan girls: try not to go for shades that are lighter than your actual skin tone!"

 

What are your top three favourites when it comes to complexion products?

T: "Nars Sheer Glow Foundation, Tarte Shape Tape Concealer and Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Light Wand."

 

 

What do you usually splurge or save on when it comes to makeup?

T: "I don't mind splurging on foundation and eyeshadow palettes because I don't wear it religiously and I know that it'll last me a while. I use mascara almost every day so I save on that by getting it from drugstores. That said, once in a while, I treat myself by buying Too Faced's Better Than Sex Mascara—it's so worth it!"

 

What other products do you wish brands would include/carry in their makeup range in the future?

T: "Right now, probably body foundation. Kim Kardashian has it in her KKW beauty line. I get scars really easily and I'd like to be able to cover it up well when I'm performing on stage or attending events wearing certain outfits. A girl just wants to look flawless all over, not just my face, you know?"

 

Related articles

Buro 24/7 Selection

Leave a comment