The skin expresses messages and thoughts beyond words. It can indicate gender, age, ethnicity, general health and other information about an individual. The skin also transmits a state of mind and emotion, such as happiness, anguish, sadness and fear.1, 2 Daily makeup is therefore important not only for esthetics, but also to make the individual feel free from visible stigmas or deformities, and to improve self-esteem.3, 4
Makeup products have evolved significantly in recent years, incorporating ingredients that provide added benefits such as moisturizers, sunscreens and vitamins. Choosing the most suitable cosmetic for a particular individual will depend on the hue of the pigmentation to be concealed or the skin tone to be enhanced. Characteristics of the skin also should be determined in accordance with texture, moisture, color and oiliness.5-7
Currently, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IGBO) uses five categories in the census concerning ethnicity and skin color: white, indigenous, black, brown and yellow. However, most Brazilian residents know that far more than these five skin colors are present in the region. The University of Campinas (UNICAMP) conducted a study in 2005 where more than 125 skin tones were identified in Brazil. Interestingly, the same study also revealed that every two years, four more tones appear.8
In Brazil, miscegenation is intense, and it is possible to find phototypes I to VI9 as well as several “subphototypes” in the various geographic regions of the country. One common complaint from women in this market is that they cannot find makeup that matches their skin color, especially those who are very pale, i.e., Fitzpatrick type I, or who have brown and black skin, i.e., types V and VI (see Table 1). In the professional market, makeup artists often combine two or more foundation tones to match the client’s color; however, this approach is not viable for most consumers, nor is it practical. According to internal consumer studies at the author’s company, Brazilian consumers, especially those having indigenous, brown and black skin color, usually import products from international sources offering a greater variety of colors, or try to mix two or more products at home in order to find the right tone for their skin.