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Makeup Tips for North Asian Clients

Written by Michelle Richardson, L.E., co-owner of California Makeup Academy - Training Center and Your Makeup Line

There are a wide variety of Asian ethnic groups and each group or mixed heritage has its own unique features. Therefore, the tips listed are not universal, but may be useful when working with Asian clients, particularly those from the northern region of the continent.

As with any client, it can be a struggle for Asian women to find a foundation color that best suits them. The key is to consider such factors as the client’s complexion, skin type, and undertones. Though many Asian women have warm, yellow, and olive undertones, some have cool, pink, or neutral undertones. Be sure to have several options on hand and work with the client to find the shade that works best.

Many Asian women have beautiful, almond-shaped eyes – a striking feature that should be enhanced. Eyeliner is very important to not only define the shape of the eye, but also to make them a focal point on the face. It is essential to line the upper eyelids. When lining the lower eyelids, be sure the line is soft and smudged or use an eyeshadow in either a matte brown or gray shade. Use a liquid, gel, pencil, or combination for the upper eyelids.
Make sure the upper eyeliner is visible when the eyes are open. If the eyeliner is not visible, make the line thicker. Be sure to make a thin line to start, as it can be hard to remove if the line becomes too thick.

When it comes to eyeshadow, it is best to layer and blend several shades on the eyelids up to the crease. Using a layering technique means simply starting with a light base color, followed by a medium color, and, lastly, building upon this foundation of tones with a deeper shade. Mattes are great for creating a smokey eye look and should be applied all on the eyelid. It is important to blend to create an eye shadow look that is soft.
Experiment with color. Earth tones, such as a golden-medium brown, gray, navy blue, amethyst, or deep burgundy are complementary. Save the burst of color for the lips or cheeks.

Long, lush eyelashes are a must. No matter what ethnicity, many women want longer, more lush eyelashes. If a client is interested in creating an illusion of larger eyes, longer, thicker eyelashes are a great option, as they draw more attention to them.

A slight touch of pink or coral on the cheekbone will give the skin a fresh, dewy look. Keep the placement along the cheekbone at a diagonal angle. Avoid any round brush movement.

Shaping is essential. Asian women tend to have dark hair in contrast to their, often, lighter skin tone, so any stray will stand out. It is important to tweeze where needed.
To enhance the eye, create a slightly exaggerated arch. This helps to visually lift the eye for a younger appearance and enlarges the eye – if that is a goal the client has explicitly asked for.   
Fill in the areas where eyebrows are sparse. Another option is to create more fullness in order to fill in the slightly larger gap between the crease and eyebrow areas.
Use a small, stiff angled brush with a medium to dark brown eyebrow powder – never black. It is too harsh. Start the placement on the inside of the eyebrow and work towards the outside of the eyebrow.

When creating a look that enhances fuller lips, simply use a lip liner in a shade that is a tad darker than the natural lip color. To define, fill in the entire lip with a pencil. This will also achieve longer wear. Apply a deep brown-red, clear red, burgundy, or a bright color to help accentuate the lips. Ensure the lip color does not overpower the eyeshadow look. There should be a nice balance between the eyes and the lips. For this reason, less lip gloss is best. Liquid to matte lipsticks work well. They give the lips a pop of color without an overly shiny look.
As professionals research, practice, and communicate effectively with clients to get a feel for the type of look they desire, they will gain the skills and confidence necessary to work on anyone that visits the spa.

Michelle Richardson is a licensed aesthetician and professional makeup artist with over 25 years of experience. She has worked for numerous retail cosmetic lines, including Estée Lauder, Lancôme, and Christian Dior. Richardson is the co-owner of the California Makeup Academy - Training Center for professional makeup artists and the co-owner of Your Makeup Line, a private label branding company.

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