Full disclosure: I’m not a makeup person. I don’t wear foundation. I often forget to put on moisturizer.
But I like to blame my continued failed efforts in the beauty department for that.
You see, I’m Asian (half-Asian, to be exact), and after a decade of struggling to find the right foundation tone and styling my lifeless, straight hair, I kind of just gave up. I mean, if it weren’t for working at an online publisher that receives a seemingly endless supply of makeup and trying said products (in the safety of my own home, of course), I wouldn’t have found the best foundation tone (well, for one brand), and I wouldn’t have stepped out of my comfort zone to wear funkier shades of lipstick (all of which look awkward with my skin tone unless it’s the safest shade of pink or red; but, hey, at least I tried!).
What are these struggles, you ask? Well, let me tell you.
1. Foundation, where art thou?
Foundation, BB Cream, anything that requires me to find the “perfect” tone: Forget about it. Just look at that photo of me at my prom. Look at how much darker my face is. How my own mother could do my makeup using her shade of foundation and let me walk out the house looking like that is beyond me.
2. Straight hair, really care
This isn’t totally specific to Asians, I get that. Many other people have straight, dull, lifeless hair. But this isn’t any less true: Maintaining a damn curl for more than 30 minutes is near impossible without half a can of hairspray.
3. Slather on the sunblock
See, I thought I was alone in this, but my mom hates when I get a tan. “Why are you so dark?” she would ask. “I liked you better with whiter skin,” she would say.
It’s safe to say I use all the sunblock these days.
4. How badly do you want lighter hair?
Bleach. All the bleach.
5. Perfect skin doesn’t exist, people
Growing up was rough, man. Pimples, oily skin, more pimples. And having a mother who constantly nit-picked at it wasn’t any easier (love you, Mom!). I mean, you can’t tell me you don’t associate Asian women with clear, smooth, flawless skin. Not all of us have it, people!
6. Oh that Asian glow
Why is it so imperative we find the right foundation tone? Well, when you drink, you get this thing called the Asian glow (technically, it’s called alcohol flush syndrome). No, no, this is not a good thing. We don’t glow like angels and light up the room with our presence, charisma and beauty. No, our skin turns pink (for some of us, bright red) and getting the appearance of it under control with some foundation helps. Sometimes. Slightly. OK, not really, but we like to think it does.