There’s a new cosmetics name on the scene and it’s for brown-faced girls like me. EX1 Cosmetics is the first ever mass market make-up brand in the UK specifically formulated for Asian and exotic skin tones.
The brain behind it is British Asian Farah Naz who came up with the concept to create a line of cosmetics suited for skin tones like hers after becoming fed up of the limited choice on the high street.
I know exactly how that feels. When I first started exploring make-up in my late teens, my first stop was my local Boots store where I was met with a very restricted selection. Clueless and pocketless too, I settled for an apparent match which I later discovered had pink tones and was completely wrong for my yellow/golden undertone. Well, how was I to know?!
To get the right match, I had to move up to the high-end spectrum and pay about 4 times the price. Ah, I remember the day clearly…it was the MAC counter in Selfridges… Ever since I’ve always purchased high-end foundations because as the girl at MAC pointed out, there are only about 5 shades on a high street brand and about 30 with the likes of MAC.
With a background as a biochemist, Farah’s philosophy was simple: to design the highest quality collection of products for exotic-skinned women, using only the best in cosmetic technology and to keep it affordable.
Two years in the making, the results are five foundations, five mineral powder foundations, three powders, three concealers and four blushers formulated to mimic the natural yellow/golden pigments found in Asian skins. By ‘Asian’, I mean Pakistani, Indian, Middle Eastern and Far Eastern skin tones.
I was sent EX1’s ‘Invisiwear’ Liquid Foundations in two shades: F200 and F300. The latter is slap bang in the middle and in fact a pretty accurate match for me, whereas F200 is too light.
The style of packaging is generically identical to some other foundations I’ve used (plastic bottle with a pump). It doesn’t look or feel expensive but for what it costs, I think it serves its purpose more than adequately.
It is priced at the very favourable £10.50 and is a lightweight and luminous liquid base with light diffusers to cover imperfections and provide a natural, soft finish. It’s been clinically and dermatologically tested, and is 100% oil and fragrance-free and non-pore clogging.
The formula is quite thick but very easy to work with. I have been wearing it every day to work and the coverage is remarkable; I’d say it’s medium but easy to build up to full. I have to say one thing though – when I used it over Illamasqua’s Hydra Veil, I noticed a profound difference in the foundation’s appearance. The use of Hydra Veil really enhanced it, giving a far superior finish. Compared to its competitors, EX1 Cosmetics is in a league of its own because I’ve not found any other high-street brand that has made a foundation with these results:
And that was taken with a flash… OK so I’ve got a full face of make-up but without a decent base, your face will look a mess – no matter what fancy products you’ve used.
My one concern is the limited number of shades. With only five currently available, I do wonder those who fall in-between or outside this spectrum will feel left out. By no means is it an easy task to do what Farah has accomplished, and it is positive to see things are moving in the right direction with (here’s hoping) the scope to expand for a skin group that is no longer considered a minority.
For more information, visit their official website EX1 Cosmetics.