Korean BB creams and foundations are beloved for their lightweight wear, natural coverage, and dewy finish. The only problem? Their extremely limited shade options. When trying to pick a Korean base product, it can often feel as though all you have to choose from very fair, fair, and slightly less fair.
So if you’re a darker skinned girl, what are your options? We decided to find out.
To our disappointment, only one Korean brand in Malaysia makes base makeup for darker skin tones: Laneige. Their Anti-Aging, Whitening (we know) and Pore Control BB Cushions are the only Korean cushions we’ve found that come in a shade darker than slightly less fair.
The darkest shade, Coffee, is described as a “deep brown beige.” This is what it looks like in real life:
As you can see, it’s not quite a perfect fit– it’s significantly lighter and lightens her natural skintone by a lot. If you’re any darker than her, even Laneige’s darkest shade might not suit you.
For foundations, Etude House’s Double Lasting Foundation comes in a promising Tan shade. That is, until you see the swatches.
That’s a pretty disappointing selection for products marketed to our diverse country. Especially when you compare it to the offerings from Western brands such as MAC. Here are the darkest foundation shades you can get:
But what if you really want a BB cushion? Thankfully, more Western brands have caught on to the cushion craze and have created cushions of their own with more diverse shades.
What explains this disappointingly narrow shade selection in Korean makeup?
Due to the largely ethnic Korean demographic in Korea, there just isn’t a demand for darker shades. As a result, brands can get away with selling limited shades. That’s all good, until brands start to sell their products to a country like Malaysia, which is far more diverse than Korea.
Perhaps it doesn’t make business sense to develop shades for a small proportion of the population. But what is good for business may not be good for your consumers. Being excluded from consideration just because they don’t make up a large enough market segment leaves people feeling invisible, neglected, and unimportant. And that’s not a nice feeling at all.