11 best foundations for Asian skin
The seemingly endless search for your perfect shade is over
The issue of diversity is a hot topic – it’s taking the beauty world by storm, as more brands are recognising that there are many avenues for improvement within the industry.
Women of colour are speaking out against the lack of shade ranges in some products, and praising those that cater to them. As we saw in the arrival of the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r foundation, or the backlash when Tarte dropped the Shape Tape foundation, beauty brands are finally listening.
When it comes to Asian skin, finding the perfect shade is extremely tough. Most Asian women have an undertone which is somewhere between peachy to neutral to golden. For most, choosing a foundation with a warm undertone gives a brighter complexion, as often a pinker or neutral undertone can make Asian skin look ashy and dull.
As more and more brands expand their shade ranges, Asian women are finally getting a bigger selection of foundations to choose from. Here are our best picks.
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Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation: £35, Laura Mercier
Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear foundation is our best buy as it ticks all the boxes. For Asian skin tones, there is 30 shades to choose from in a variety of undertones ranging from cool, to neutral, to warm.
What set this product apart for our tester, who has a medium-golden skin tone, is that the undertone is a perfect balance of being yellow enough to brighten their complexion but olive enough to blend seamlessly into the skin.
In terms of coverage and texture, the foundation is smoothing which gives the skin a poreless, velvet-like finish. It also passed the wear test with flying colours, wearing evenly throughout the day without going patchy or greasy on our testers oily skin.
It can be sheered down for a barely there, natural finish – but also builds seamlessly to give a medium-full coverage finish for blemished skin.
NARS Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation: £35, Cult Beauty
The Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation lives up to its name; it wears well throughout an eight-hour work day and gives a radiant, lit from within finish that doesn’t look oily.
In terms of finding a perfect match, this foundation comes in an impressive 33 shades. If you’ve used NARS before, you might want to visit your nearest counter for another shade match, as with the introduction of this foundation the brand unveiled a number of new shades.
They range from the palest for very fair skin to a range of very deep colours in a variety of undertones. For an Asian skin, there is plenty to choose from. Our tester has medium skin with yellow undertones and found that a number of shades could work for her skin, but found a perfect match in the shade Stromboli.
Fenty Beauty Pro Flit’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation: £26, Harvey Nichols
This foundation shook the internet when it dropped, and rightly so as Rihanna delivered on diversity with a range of 40 shades.
While there’s so many shades on offer, our tester still struggled at first to find a shade which matched her skin perfectly. This is because, due to the foundations strong pigment, and also it oxidising slightly as it dries down, the colour that looked perfect when applying darkened when set.
Because of this, our tester chose a shade slightly lighter than her skin tone – so if you’re going to try this foundation keep that in mind. For longevity, this foundation came out top, not moving or budging even a little throughout an 9-hour office day and only needing blotting once.
Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation stick: £35.70, John Lewis
This foundation really took our tester by surprise. The vanish seamless stick really earns its name; the formula blends seamlessly into the skin but provides enough coverage to make even the darkest of blemishes dissapear.
The range of 32 colours, with over half being for medium to tan skin, made finding a match easy. The warm shades are also perfectly balanced with a flattering olive undertone that doesn’t appear too orange on the skin.
While our tester has previously struggled with stick foundations as they tend to slip and slide, this was put to the test on a number of occasions – from a day at work in the office, to a day at the theme park.
It stayed matte, flawless and did not break up throughout the day. The formula is extremely full coverage so a little goes along way, which may make up for the fact that you only get 7.2g of product – a slightly smaller amount than average.
Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick: £31, Bobbi Brown
Of all the formulas we tried, this one was the most natural looking on the skin. The creamy formula blends with minimal effort and the stick formula makes it easy to build coverage where needed.
Bobbi Brown has always been known for their extensive shade range and this foundation is no different, with 39 shades to choose from. The undertones in the warm shades are slightly more olive rather than yellow in comparison to some of the other formulas we tried, which only helps to make it look like even more natural.
This formula is perfect for someone with normal/combination or dry skin. We found that on oily complexions, it did need touching up throughout the day.
Tarte Shape Tape Hydrating Foundation: £35.58, qvcuk.com
If you’ve been following the makeup world at all in the past year, you would have seen the backlash on social media when Tarte released their highly anticipated Shape Tape foundation in just two shades for darker skin.
Following the social media frenzy, the brand went back to the drawing board and the shade range now has 25 shades. Compared to other brands, the shades are a touch less golden in undertone but still brightening, thanks to the added Vitamin C.
In terms of texture, this foundation really impressed us as it gave an extremely smooth, poreless finish. Our tester loved the hydrating formula which felt comfortable on the skin and did not transfer or become patchy throughout the day.
Marc Jacobs Shameless Youthful Look 24 Hour Foundation: £32, Net-A-Porter
A beauty brand which arguably doesn’t get enough recognition – when it comes to diversity, Marc Jacobs really does deliver.
The Shameless foundation aims to deliver a “youthful” finish that stays put for 24 hours. While our tester did not wear this foundation for a whole 24 hours, it did wear well throughout a 9 hour day.
You do need to set this with a powder if you are oily, but we found it held up well, only showing signs of a shiny T-zone towards the end of the day. It provides a luminous, light coverage, which can be built up.
Of all the foundations that were tried, our tester liked the undertones of this one best as she found a perfect medium shade with golden undertone to match her skin and brighten the complexion.
Those with dry skin that doesn’t require too much coverage will love this product.
EX1 Invisiwear Liquid Foundation: £12.50, Boots
This foundation was created by biochemist Farah Naz. Previously, market research firm Mintel found that 78 per cent of British women would change foundation if they found the perfect shade match, and 25 per cent could not find a match at all.
After growing frustrated at the majority of foundations on the market having either pink or orange undertones, she created her own using yellow and golden pigments, specifically to match her own Asian skin.
It is a creamy, liquid foundation which provides a medium coverage that is buildable. While our tester did not find it as brightening as some of the others she tried, it did blend seamlessly into her skin and gave a natural, semi-matte finish.
Cover FX Power Play Foundation: £38, Beauty Bay
This vegan friendly foundation comes in a whopping 40 shades – in a variety of pink, neutral and golden undertones, so there is a match for everyone.
For those like our tester, who has a particularly warm skin, the golden shades typically marked by a G, also come in a number of G+ options, which means they are extra golden and warm in undertone.
Cover FX are well known for their highly pigmented formulas and this foundation is no different. It provides a comfortable medium coverage on first application which can be built up.
It also photographs beautifully as there is no SPF in the formula, which makes it an ideal choice when getting ready for a night out or special occasion.
Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation: £63, Space NK
Of all the foundations we tried, the shade range of this one is significantly smaller, with 14 shades.
However, our tester felt confident that for those with medium skin tones, they would be able to find their perfect match within one of the shades on offer. Mainly because there is a range of shades with golden and neutral undertone to choose from.
Our tester was surprised by how pigmented the foundation was and also how it brightened her skin. It was also the most comfortable to wear out of all those tried, as the gel formula makes this foundation feel virtually weightless on the skin.
The light reflecting particles in this formula provide a luminous finish, leaving skin looking healthy and hydrated from within.
Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Foundation: £32, Cult Beauty
This full coverage foundation, developed by beauty blogger Huda Kattan, caters to a wide range of skin tones and took the world of Instagram by storm when it first landed.
For Asian skin, there’s a whole host of shades to choose from and a handy chart to help shoppers find their perfect shade based on other brand matches they may already use.
The formula wore perfectly throughout the day, but did feel slightly heavy on application due to its thick texture. It also has a very strong floral scent which some may love, but for those that don’t, it does fade once applied.
The Verdict: Best Foundations for Asian Skin
For a failsafe foundation which delivers in not only undertone, shade and texture, Laura Mercier’s Flawless Fusion Ultra-Longwear Foundation comes out on top.
Other formulas we loved for their extensive shade ranges were NARS’ Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation for its flawless finish, as well as the Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation for its long wearing formula.
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