50 Shades of Beige- Korea’s Problem With Base Makeup

Hey guys! I’m back from my week break and successfully finished my giveaway on Instagram. During the break I did a lot of things and one of them was organizing my makeup. When it came to my foundation drawer I decided to swatch all my Korean foundations and compare how similar the ’23’ shades would be. Lo and behold, they’re all different colors! I did a blog post some time ago about how it’s impossible to find a shade dark enough for me, and today I’m here to elaborate some more about this issue.

So if you already know the Korean beauty scene, for BB creams and foundations you only get 2 choices, 21 or 23. Some brands have one or two more shades but nothing drastic, just a shade lighter or a different toned version. The problem with this is that although it makes buying a foundation much “easier”, you’re limited to just 2 or maybe 3 shades. Another problem is that these two numbers are just generalized shades to fit the 2 shade numbering. All 21 shades aren’t the same and neither are all 23 shades. As I swatched all of my 23 color BB creams, cushions, and foundations I was a little bit shocked to see how each brand’s idea of what 23 shade was. Some looked like 21s in other lines and other seems like they needed a new number.

Yes I understand that this happens across all makeup brands. Beige isn’t always the same beige, but the problem I have is that while most other overseas brands offer a multitude of different colors to choose from, Korean cosmetic lines only offer a very limited range and it’s just expected by the brand that the consumer will and can be compartmentalized into either the 21 category or the 23 category. When I look at the product descriptions of the Korean foundations or BB cushions it always recommends the shades as a standard. How can they call it a standard when all of the different brands have different standards? It’s ridiculous to be able to recommend something that is based on generalizations. Also, It leaves no room to explore other brands once you’ve found a shade close enough to your skin tone, or even if you do you don’t have much of a choice other than to give into either of the two categories offered as “standard”.

This is why I see SO MANY Korean women with the “eagle” look, where their faces are whiter than their neck or have the skin tones that are too pink or too yellow. I think Korea is top notch when it comes to skincare, but base makeup is always disappointing to me. So as much as I might love the packing of a BB cushion I am so torn and sometimes just pissed that there isn’t a shade right for me. I really think that Korean cosmetics companies, especially the big ones, need to step in to offering more shades, tones, and break away from the 21-23 norm. I don’t think this will happen any time soon, but until that day I have my bronzer and contouring to make do with this sitch.


3 Replies to “50 Shades of Beige- Korea’s Problem With Base Makeup”

  1. Nice post! Indeed I am the biggest sufferer of this only two available shades problem, specially because of my brown skin. 🙁 Could you please mention the brand and shades of 2nd & 3rd swatches from right side? 🙂

  2. Hi Sarah =) can I please find out what are the brands of bb cushions on your swatches?

    1. Hi! I’m so sorry but I really can’t remember which cushions they are… I think I threw away some as well. Sorry!

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