Orcé Cosmetics CEO Shih Yu-Chen was inspired by her experiences as an Asian woman unable to find a foundation to match her Malay-Chinese complexion.
“The message I got at the time was that I should probably whiten my skin in order to find products that would actually work for me. And on the other hand, I should whiten my skin so that I could be considered beautiful. The cue I got was that there’s this parameter – what skin tones look good – and if you’re outside of it, then you’re not.
Talk to CosmeticDesign-Asia For our latest Indie Pioneers podcast, Shih said she set out to address an issue she saw within the Asian community, which is often misunderstood by beauty companies.
“There really is a blank slate when it comes to shades, especially for Asian skin tones, as there is a common misconception that we are fair enough to only use shades created for Caucasians. between us are fair, but our shades aren’t necessarily the same and that’s something a lot of brands overlook.
While it’s now common for beauty brands today to champion inclusivity with a wide range of shades, Shih fears that’s all “performative”.
“The problem with that is that the industry rewards these very big brands with a lot of financial support, who are able to launch with 40.50 shades. And that kind of penalizes the smaller brands that can’t. -be not the budget to get started with so many nuances.
“But you know, at the end of the day, do you actually create shades that work for the people you’re trying to target? I see a lot of brands now launching dozens and dozens of shades and I read the consumer reviews that complain that none of them actually work.
Shih described her vision of a truly inclusive beauty market as one of a multitude of brands that serve their own niche consumer group.
“What I want to see in this industry is an abundance of niche brands, each catering to a demographic that they have a specialized interest in, that they’ve done their homework on, that they understand. Because, you know, the truth is, you can’t serve everyone.
“Imagine a world where you walk into a Sephora, for example, or any beauty store. And you just know that no matter what your journey, you’re going to find a brand created for you. This is the world for you. which I would like to fight.
For more from Yu-Chen and Orcé Cosmetics, check out our podcast above or on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and more.