The Ultimate Foundation Guide for Asian Skin Tone

Michael Brown

Beauty Expert

The Asian skin tone comes in many shades, but the base is all the same, yellow or some have even called it a sallow looking skin.

Because of this, there are definitely shades of foundation/concealer to avoid, but it can be confusing, as some Asian skin tones are very fair, even with pink showing through and then we have the tan end of the scale, most with the common concern of pigmentation. So how do we know what foundation base is correct?

image via pinterest

Like any skin, a foundation match is vital for success with natural beauty, but understanding the bases of foundation can assist on this success.

MB PRO TIP: All foundations have 4 main pigments: Red, Yellow, Black and White. The concentration of each pigment determines the base of the foundation – Pink, Yellow or Neutral.

More red in the mix means it will have a pink base in foundation – normally brighter looking and gives colour to very dull skin, or usually ivory looking for an extremely fair skin tone. This base is the least used/popular out of all the bases mainly because a lot of skins today contain pink traces through it, mainly from sensitivity, climate or age.

Adding a pink base foundation already on a skin showing redness can cause more unwanted pink tones, but in saying that, adding a pink base foundation on a yellow base skin, can obviously show that the two bases do not match and cause greyness on the skin, resulting in a very obvious ‘I’m wearing foundation look’ and not in a good way as it will not ‘blend’ seamlessly into the skin.

Seeing as most Asian skin is yellow to a deep yellow tone, a pink base should not be used for a natural blend at all, only if the tone is of an extreme pale tone for brightness.

MB PRO TIP: The only skins that really should be using a pink base skin is an extremely fair tone skin or a skin that suffers from extreme sallowness/grey tone and some of the elderly with lack of colour. A dull skin with a yellow undertone that cannot wear a pink base foundation, due to lack of bendability, should try a lilac, pink or even pearl base primer/corrector under foundation to achieve brighter looking skin.

image via pinterest

More yellow in the mix means the result of the very common, yellow base foundation. Like with every base, the intensity will change as we are all different shades of colour, but our base will remain the same. Because skin today contains more pink tones, visible on the surface as mentioned above, as well as the fact that European skin and deeper tone Asian skin needs a yellow base foundation, this undertone is the most sold and used in Australia.

So many European cosmetic brands are known for having very yellow looking foundation shades, this is because most are made in Europe and tested on European skins, which in my experience in the retail world have put off some consumers, but in most cases, the right intensity (light or dark) of yellow base foundation will actually suit most skin tones more than a pink base foundation once applied and blended on the skin.

MB PRO TIP: Always test a foundation on the actual place where it is going to be applied.. Best is the side of the cheek and down to the jawline, to make sure it is not too dark for your neck area. 

A yellow base foundation is also fantastic for anyone suffering with pigmentation. As the pigment is deep in colour, anything light in colour like a pink base foundation/concealer will only make the area look grey and dull, even with freckles.

image via pinterest

Lastly a mix of Black and White pigments will create a flat and dull looking foundation. This becomes a Neutral base foundation. Now, seeing a dull looking foundation, concealer or even bronzer in their packaging may not always look or even sound appealing, but you must think of the skin it is being applied on:

If your skin is showing pink, avoid a pink base foundation to show less pink, you would be best using a Neutral (if fair) or a Yellow (if dark) base foundation to take away and correct the pink.

If your skin is olive and deeper in tone, then you should keep the same tone in foundation to have a perfect, blended, match – go a yellow foundation. Other makeup products can brighten, lighten add colour, but skin should look like real skin and the same base, just more even, when using foundation.

If your skin is fair to look at it, sometimes dull with no colour, sallow – often how an Asian skin is described, then a neutral foundation is for you. The same as an olive skin, use a foundation that perfectly matches your skin tone, making it more even and blending seamlessly rather than trying to change the tone and looking unnatural with other foundation bases.

MB PRO TIP: Dull and flat looking shades often get left behind on how they look in packaging, but the neutralizing power of these shades can be perfect for so many skin tones, such as an Asian skin tone and it is the same with eye shadows, flat colour give the best contour.

A lot of Asian women like to make their skin look lighter due to cultural beliefs. Because of this often they choose a very pale or pink base foundation resulting in a very grey looking skin – instant fail. The Asian women of today, plus the introduction of more neutral shades with cosmetic brands have helped the skin tone look like they’re real skin, but still bright and fresh, not dull, as it seems in the foundation bottle.

The most common mistake when choosing foundation in general for all skin tones is looking only at the skin and thinking the foundation tone can be changed, away from your natural skin tone. This will only look unnatural, especially in photos. Keep your foundation the same tone as our skin, except most pink tones and then add colour with makeup or use primers to correct or brighten skin tones.

The Clinique Superprimers (RRP $45) are a great way to correct and prep any skin tone, but for Asian skins the pink and lilac shades are great for dull and sallow skin, really giving the skin life under their chosen foundation.


These primers can help all range of Asian Skin tones with concerns of redness and pigmentation in the deeper Asian skin tone all covered also!

Spend time on the Prime and see the results your skin achieves!

So beauty lovers, know your base and keep to that base as much as you can to achieve flawless skin.


feature image via pinterest


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