According to Alain Khaiat, lighter skin has long been associated with a higher ranking - i.e. rich people lived in the house protected, while farmers worked in the fields outside.
The other reason the cosmetics industry veteran says, is physiological. The signs of ageing comes in the form of pigmentation irregularities on Asian skin, appearing as young as age fifteen.
Thus, protection is sought out in products that reverse or keep this damage at bay, but Alain says that consumers are looking to SPF based products based on an ingrained belief that these type of products are the best protection against pigmentation.
This he says is a misconception, but notes that UVA still does not 'resonate with consumers'.
"On Caucasian skin, wrinkles appear from exposure to the sun as well as other factors, but they are not immediate or certainly do not appear at age fifteen," Alain tells CosmeticsDesign-Asia.com.
Whitening verses anti-ageing
The regulatory expert also says that international players need to understand that whitening should be understood as anti-ageing in Asia, and products in this category need to be marketed as a 'whitener' because that is what consumers are familiar with.
"If you market a product as an anti-ager, Asian consumers will think of anti-wrinkle' which is a skin issue they are not concerned with until their 40's."
"If you want to launch a product that caters to their biggest concern - pigmentation, you could market it as 'brightener' that promotes clearer, younger skin rather than a 'whiter' complexion," he informs this publication, in an effort to clear up the confusion for the Western industry.
Preference for protection, coverage and cooling down…
According to Florence Bernardin of Inspiration et Information, a Franco-Asian team of analysts, that Asian woman look for foundation that also offers
protection from the sun all year long.
"They look for protection that will be light enough as a makeup base, waterproof and sweat resistant while being transparent," she tells this publication.
Florence says that factor 30 and up is best while a light formula is a must, dedicated first to face, and easy to wash off.
"Mists are also favoured, as they can be re-applied during the day without touching the face," the Asia expert concludes.