Monday, January 22, 2007
Make-Up for Indian Skin
Maya left a great comment asking for advice on make-up for Indians. This, I think, is another niche that fashion/beauty blogs need to address, because there are loads of beauty blogs for white girls and there are some great ones catering more to African-American girls as well, ShakeYourBeauty being primo among these. Unfortunately there isn't much advice going around for Asian skin, though the BagSnob, whom I believe is Korean, has just started BeautySnob which looks like it's going to become religious reading for me. But for South Asians, good tips are few and far between.

So. Make-up is really not my area of expertise - I do love reading beauty blogs, but skincare and haircare are more my thing than make-up. Also, my obsession with clothes, bags and shoes doesn't leave that much room for expenditure on beauty products. Still, I have SO MANY lotions and sprays and gels and scrubs and shampoos and conditioners that my mom yells at me and my roommate laughs at me everytime I come back with a new one. I guess I've dealt with acne and frizzy, curly hair for basically my whole life, so I've been quite eager to invest in whatever will help save me. And I can assure you that better products do make for better skin. And before I left Singapore I had a smashing haircut at Toni&Guy, and somehow the price ended up being about half of what I expected to pay which made it even more smashing. Anyway I'm digressing from my point, which was that I do occasionally bother to put some make-up on my perfectly cleansed and moisturised skin, so I can tell you a few things about making up Indian skin.

For foundation, usually I just let the sales assistants help me pick out a shade. I don't regularly use foundation, but my Stila Tinted Moisturiser is in the 'warm' shade and my Laura Mercier concealer is SC-5. For Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser, I'm an Almond. By the way the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer is fantastic because it gives you a light and a dark shade that you can mix so it suits your skin exactly. This is great for me because I tan quite easily so I can just work with the same concealer whether I'm deeply tanned or paler than pale.

I use Dallas bronzer/blush by Benefit, which I absolutely love because you can build as much colour as you need and it suits pretty much all skintones. And NARS Orgasm blush would probably work because it's been widely touted as a universal skintone flatterer, though I haven't tried that myself. As for eyeshadow, unfortunately I'm not the best person to ask because I hardly ever use any. I'm desperately attached to my soft black NARS eyeliner which I use to line my lids as well as the inside of the lower eyelid, which is an Indian tradition my mom handed down to me. Usually, that's more than enough eye drama for me so I've never bothered much with eyeshadow. But I'm guessing that as long as you stick to warm tones (since Indians tend to have brown eyes) you should be fine.

For lipsticks as well, avoid the colours with blue and pink blended in them because those are meant for pink-based complexions. Tia Williams of ShakeYourBeauty recently recommended a fantastic shade of Spanish Red by NARS. I don't ever use lipstick (that's more my mom's forte, and she swears by Brownie by Bobbi Brown.) I like light glosses and tinted balms for my lips - Benefit benetint lip balm, for instance, was one of my favourite things ever, until an ornery airport security official took it away from me at the beginning of the no-liquids-and-gels regime. Nowadays when I feel like some colour on my lips I use MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner in Plum Perfect.

I'd recommend splurging a little more on foundation than on other things because drugstore brands like Loreal and Maybelline do great mascaras, lipsticks and eyeshadows but for foundation I think you really get what you pay for.

In general I think warm tones are good for Indians. Don't, for instance, get taken in by the utter prettiness of the new Bobbi Brown Violet Face Palette because chances are, the only thing that's going to prettify is the surface of your dressing table.

Personally, my skin colour is sort of like a white person with a slight tan so it's relatively easy to work with. It sort of fits into a "medium skin tone" category that a lot of lines have products for. The thing, though, is that Indians tend to have such a wide variety of skin colours that it's really hard to prescribe shades and even eyeshadows that work. In fact there are some Indians I know who're so fair that cool shades work perfectly on them. So you really need to have a good chat with the sales assistants to help you figure out what works for you.

Ok I'm not sure that really helped, but I hope it gives you some direction. Nisha, please feel free to add anything else - I remember you wearing some pretty nice makeup the day we met, so I'm guessing you'll have much more to offer.

Also, if anyone knows of any good beauty blogs catering to Indian women, please leave links in the comments! Merci beaucoup.