The Best Foundations for South Asian Skin

Best Foundation for South Asians

Best Foundation for South Asians

Finding the right shade of foundation has become decidedly easier for South Asian women over the years but with so many brands and formulations out there, how do you find the best one?

We reached out to international makeup artist and skincare consultant Karuna Chani and celebrity makeup artist and global lifestyle expert Shalini Vadhera to share their top foundation picks. Both Chani and Vadhera stressed that finding the right foundation shade for South Asian skin tones depends on the undertones in the foundation. According to Chani, “picking the right foundation shade can be a problem for women of all races, but it can be especially difficult for olive and South Asian skin tones. Although, the range of shades for women of color has improved over the years, many cosmetic lines still don’t go beyond caramel. And even for those with a lighter complexion, it doesn’t mean they’ll be able to wear the lighter shades. This is because most cosmetics brands have a pink undertone, which is incorrect for brown skin tones. 
So, when picking a foundation, it’s important to match not only the color of your skin but its undertones (i.e., yellow/golden, pink/red and olive) as well.” The foundations Chani loves using are:


1. NARS – Sheer Glow

2. Giorgio Armani – Luminous Silk Foundation

3. Laura Mercier – Tinted Moisturizer w/SPF 20

4. Kett Cosmetics Airbrush – Olive Palette

5. Makeup Forever – HD Foundation

“For daytime I use the Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer or the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. Laura Mercier expanded their beige line a couple of years ago and added a range of colors that work really well on South Asian skin tones. I use the color ‘Bisque’ in the winter and mix that with a bit of ‘Caramel’ during the summer. At night, for formal events or if I want more coverage, I use the Kett Cosmetics’ airbrush system.”


Vadhera, who previously created a 21 million dollar cosmetics brand and is currently developing a new line to provide complexion solutions for South Asian women, knows better than most the challenges of creating products for a multi-ethnic demographic. Although, she’s encouraged by the efforts made by global brands to cater to a broader range of skin tones, she’s forthright in saying that she still has a hard time finding a perfect match for her skin. “I like that the effort is out there and that brands are realizing that there are more shades than white and black but I still think the shades are off and don’t necessarily match South Asian and mixed skin tones.” So which foundations make her cut? “I absolutely love the Dior Airflash and I use #400 and I spray it on a brush and it gives a beautiful, flawless airbrushed finish. Also, Cover FX is another brand that I found that works really well when I’m working with South Asian clients because they’ve got a lot of nice yellow undertones in their makeup and I use shades N50 and N60. And Makeup Forever HD is also one that I’ve recommended to South Asian women looking for the right foundation.” Vadhera also shares her expertise through makeup courses and tutorials on Udemy, and is offering her “How to Apply Makeup Like a Pro” class to Couture Rani readers for 50% off! Use the code: couturerani when you register.

In the makeup course you will learn all the tips and tricks to applying makeup like a professional makeup artist, including:

  • How to work with color correctors and why
  • How to find the best color for your skin tone
  • How to create a natural look
  • How to create a glamorous look
  • How to apply blush based on face shape
  • How to contour and highlight like a professional
  • How to take your look from day to night
  • How to create different looks for different clients
  • The benefits of primer
  • Application tips and tricks

Incidentally, Chani, like Vadhera, is also working on a project to address the beauty needs of South Asian women so, stay tuned!

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