In this interview, we got the chance to sit down with the founder and CEO of Orcé Cosmetics, Yu-Chen Shih, and talk about her vision for Orcé Cosmetics.
Write one-two paragraphs for each one, please!
- What is included in your definition of Asian- what countries or geographic regions?
All the way from India in South Asia to Singapore in South-East Asia, Turkey in West Asia, Kazakhstan in Central Asia and Japan in East Asia. It seems like people often think of Asians as only consisting of the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans – but in fact, there are 48 countries in the continent of Asia. Through Orcé, one of my goals is to highlight the beautiful diversity within the Asian culture.
2. How do you plan to address the wide range of shades for Asian women?
Since the launch, some people have criticized Orcé for only launching with 6 shades. I understand that 6 shades seem like a very narrow range, especially when consumers are used to brands launching with 40 shades of foundation at once. However, Orcé is not a brand that belongs to a global beauty giant, and we are not backed by venture capital investment. I am the sole owner of Orcé; even though being bootstrapped means that I have complete creative freedom to manifest my vision, it also means that we only have a limited amount of capital. So, even though I would love to launch with a rich and comprehensive collection of all the shades that match Asian complexions from fairest to deepest, it takes time for us to get there. With a limited capital, it means that we have to be very strategic with the shades that we launch – we can only afford to launch shades that have passed rigorous testing on real Asian complexions, and are proven to be true matches on numerous people.
Each shade that we have launched was based on a real, full or mixed-race Asian person. For example: Finea (shade 010) was based on my Taiwanese cousin who has one of the fairest, porcelain-like skin that I’ve ever seen; and Lura (shade 060) was created to match the gorgeous, dark caramel skin that my Cambodian friend has been blessed with. Our process for shade development is unusual in the sense that it is interactive. I’m sure that a lot of you are like me – sick of beauty brands not making the effort to listen to us and create products we actually want. We have opened up this channel of communication with our customers (and potential customers) by inviting them to take our shade survey and share with us what shades they would like for us to make. We have collected a significant amount of data to date, which is fueling the development of our upcoming shades. This is an ongoing process, and we will not stop until every Asian beauty has a shade that matches his/her skin perfectly. If you are frustrated with the lack of foundation options for your skin color, and none of our shade match you, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell us about what shade you would like us to make next!
3. Are you trans-inclusive?
Absolutely! The Orcé woman is not limited by biological sex. She is undefinable, multidimensional and forges her own path – she is a force of nature.
4.When you say that your foundation is formulated for Asian skin, what do you mean?
Orcé is specially formulated to reveal and enhance Asian complexions. The current shade range is custom created to cover both the light and dark ends of the spectrum, from people of Japanese and Korean descent, to Cambodian and Indian, and everything in between. That said, we are currently working on expanding the shade range, and hope to introduce several new shades this fall–offering a wide range of shades is our top priority. There are several different factors that are specific to Asian skin, outlined below:
a Asian skin has thinner stratum corneum. Skin with thin stratum corneum tends to be more sensitive. Since fragrance is a leading cause of skin irritation , we formulated our liquid foundation without any added fragrance/scent. Also, Evodia rutaecarpa has been clinically proven to protect skin from the effects of environmental stressors and pollutants.
b Asian skin is oilier due to the presence of more oil glands. An abundance of oil glands causes Asian skin to be at risk of pore clogging and enlargement, which may lead to the development of acne. Keeping this in mind, our liquid foundation is oil-free and we do not use ingredients that are comedogenic. (Our product is undergoing a comedogenicity test done by a 3rd party laboratory. Once we pass the test, we can officially claim that our product is non-comedogenic.)
c Asian skin is more prone to transepidermal water loss (TEWL). We added hyaluronic acid as it is a powerful humectant. It not only boost moisture in skin, but also helps to retain moisture. Hyaluronic acid also brings other amazing benefits to the table such as reducing the appearance of wrinkles, plump and tone skin, supports healing and strengthens skin’s protective barrier – which is so important because skin with thin stratum corneum tend to be more vulnerable.
d Asian skin is prone to hyperpigmentation. Asian skin has more melanin, which puts it at risk of conditions such as hyperpigmentation, melasma, freckles and sun spots. Our star ingredient, pearl powder, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries. It is revered for its antioxidant properties, and is known to brighten skin, encourage new cell growth and helps to repair sun damaged skin and scars.
5. Who are some Asian beauty influencers you’d like to work with?
That’s an interesting question, because I think the definition of an “influencer” is constantly changing. More than anything, we’re constantly looking to connect with amazing women with varied backgrounds who naturally connect with our brand. We’ve also found that makeup artists that work with celebrities of Asian descent, such as Fiona Stiles, Michael Ashton, and Pati Dubroff, are loving our formulas for their clients. Recently, we connected with Barneys New York Digital Design Director Erica Choi and she posted about us, which was such a great moment because I really admire her style and point-of-view. Not to mention, being sold in Barneys would definitely be a dream come true!
6. What other products do you hope to start making?
My goal is to create a complete line of color cosmetics products such as lipstick, blush, bronzer, concealer, eyeshadow, mascara, eyebrow pencil, eyeliner and more, as well as skincare products! We are currently in the process of developing new shades to add to our Come Closer Skin Perfecting Foundation’s existing range, and will be releasing a translucent setting powder soon. Stay tuned!