I grew up the only brown girl in my primary school and one of a rare few in my high school.
As a teenager, I never wore makeup. Not because I didn't want to, but because makeup didn't exist for people who looked like me.
I still recall peeking into my mother's bathroom cabinet and seeing one lonely bottle of beige-coloured foundation sitting on the shelf. It was so far from matching her skin tone in every way possible, and even further from mine.
A cosmetics company had convinced her it would match her brown skin perfectly. The bottle was full and hadn't been used.
That morning before school, I made a decision. I was going to dab some of that foundation under my eyes to cover up my dark circles like I’d seen women do in magazines.
But when I got to class, I remember so vividly being mocked by a few of the boys in my year level. Rather than hiding the very thing I felt self-conscious about, the foundation had turned my skin ashy and grey.
After that experience, I never touched foundation again. Not until a decade later in my mid-twenties when I was working as the Marketing Manager at Adore Beauty.