Growing up in Los Angeles, Margaret Kimura felt like she didn't fit in. Being of Japanese decent, Kimura says she didn't fit the 'typical' Asian profile because she was a lot heavier than the stereotype. She says she didn't feel like she fit the American profile either because she didn't have blonde hair or blue eyes.
"I had to invent my own idea of beauty," writes Kimura in her new book, Asian Beauty. "And my many years of experimentation led me to who I am today: a woman who is comfortable in her own body, and who appreciates the many diverse aspects of Asian-American beauty."
Her experiences as a professional make-up artist in Hollywood, have led her to write her own beauty book focusing Asian women.
While the book has great make-up tips for women of all nationalities, it addresses particular issues that many Asian women face and that other books do not mention.
From finding the right foundation for Asian skin tones, to working with shadows and lights to contour the eyes, the book offers many beauty suggestions as well as a personal dictation by Kimura of how to apply the makeup.
"Beauty advice and beauty tips are not universal," says Lisa Yeung of Toronto. "What works for someone with blonde hair and blue eyes doesn't necessarily work for someone who is Asian, Mexican, black, or South Asian."
Yeung says that growing up, she didn't see many female Asian role models depicted in the media.
"That's changing very, very slowly," says Yeung. "But I don't think its fast enough."
She explains that disproportionate coverage of Asian women in the media can have serious effects on Asian women's body image and sense of beauty. "When you don't see yourself represented, you start to think your features are not desirable," she says.
Lisa Ling, of television's The View, writes in the book's forward that she would desperately try to scour magazines looking for beauty tips for people with her skin tone and eye shape, but found none. "This is a book that I wish I had when I was a little girl," writes Ling. "And one I will be proud to present to my own daughter one day."
With large photos, step by step instructions, and some great anecdotal narration this book is a treasure for any woman looking to improve their make-up.
Kimura's use of dark and light colours contrasting each other is a great technique to create the illusion of larger eyes, a narrower nose, checkbones for those with a round face, and many other tricks of the trade. Other Kimura suggestions include using a tapered contour crease brush for shadow to create depth and size for the eyes.
For those who have stubborn eye lashes, she suggests heating the lash curler with a blow dryer before using it on your lashes. And for Asian women in particular, you can never have enough yellow in your foundation, she writes.
Yeung says that the beauty of this book is two-folded. One, it acknowledges that Asian woman are consumers and are looking for something they can relate to. And two, instead of ignoring the differences in beauty, this book celebrates it.