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  • Diversity of skin color covers a large and continuous color space where different racial groups overlap each other.

  • Racial or ethnic origins and cultural backgrounds play a major role in self-perception of skin tone, undoubtedly influencing makeup strategy.

  • Four main makeup strategies have been identified.

  • The lip color space is as large as the skin color space.

The ideal makeup is a tailor-made product that respects a woman’s individuality. Individual uniqueness can be characterized by biophysical as well as psychological features. A thorough understanding of a woman based on her own characteristics entails these two dimensions.

The diversity of women comes from the various types of skin tone, lips, and eyelashes, all of which could be enhanced, corrected, or transformed by makeup according to the user’s expectations.

These expectations are linked to self-perception of the biophysical properties of the face. A woman’s features and concerns about skin tone, lips, and lashes strongly depend on racial or ethnic origin, as well as on the cultural and geographic environment. There may be a discrepancy between self-perception and objective assessment.

Objective assessments are provided by instrumental measurements of physical and biophysical properties of the face. Several characteristics are recorded, such as color and unevenness of skin tone and morphologic and biomechanical hydration properties of the lips. Such measurements emphasize the diversity among different population groups as well as within each individual group.

This chapter expands on the main results of our dual approach, combining qualitative assessments and quantitative measurements in women with different skin of color and cultural background. It focuses on the two main cosmetic supports of the facial appearance: skin complexion and lips through their colorimetric features.


For most women, applying a “colored” makeup to the skin is the first step, or foundation, of the makeup routine. A woman enhances her face by matching or changing the color of her skin.

A qualitative and quantitative study was conducted on a large panel of diverse women to better understand how individual women think about their makeup strategy and how it is influenced by skin color, race, ethnicity, and geographic location. The study consisted of (1) an examination of various skin colors or hues to define skin color worldwide, to highlight the differences between racial groups, and to observe the diversity within each group; (2) an exploration of how women self-perceive facial skin complexion, what their ideal skin tone is, how they managed to achieve it, specifically what they did, and how much they were satisfied with their makeup results; and (3) a colorimetric assessment of makeup results and comparison between that data and a woman’s feelings.

Our investigations involved two studies, the first of which began in 1999 and now includes 3721 women living in nine countries, ...

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