13 Beauty Problems Only Half-Asian, Half-Caucasian Women Will Understand
Growing up as hapa — meaning "mixed race" in Hawaii and half-Asian, half-white in my circles — comes with its own set of problems. I'm not just talking about when I had to check "other" under the race box during standardized tests: I'm talking about beauty problems. There are many misconceptions when it comes to being hapa, and I'm here to set the record straight.
A little background: my father is Chinese, and my mother is Irish, and I've found it difficult to find the balance between being too white and too Asian. There were only about five Asians in my entire graduating high school class, and because of the lack of diversity, I thought you had to be blond and Caucasian to be beautiful. When I got to college, Asian students made up about 40 percent of the student population. Although it was great to see more diversity on campus, I didn't feel like I fit in with that cultural group either. After a lot of soul (and family-tree) searching, I really started to embrace being biracial. How lucky am I that I get to feel connected to both my Chinese and Irish side?
Even though I'm so grateful that I get the best of both worlds, there are still day-to-day annoyances, from finding the right makeup to having strangers tell you the most absurd and ignorant things. I'm sure you can relate to at least one of these beauty struggles.
And that you have porcelain skin.
It's called good makeup and a thorough skin care routine. Some half-Asians might have flawless skin, but I have an uneven skin tone and dry skin. I use Laura Mercier's tinted moisturizer and Yves Saint Laurent concealer during the day and swear by jojoba oil to really lock in the moisture overnight.
Asians, half-Asians, Caucasians, we all age.
People stereotype Asians as aging really well. While there may be some truth to that, I’m already noticing fine lines around my eyes and know I still should wear SPF every day to prevent wrinkles and protect my skin from harmful UV rays. Even though I'm only 24 years old, I still apply antiaging cream every night, like Clarins Multi-Active Night Youth Recovery Comfort Cream, because it's never too early to take care of your skin.
People expect your children to be beautiful.
Although this might not seem like a major struggle, it still puts a lot of pressure on you and your future partner!
Strangers mistake you for a 16-year-old.
There's no denying that I have youthful features. Even though I'm sure I'll appreciate this when I'm older, it's hard to be taken seriously — especially as a working professional. But I've found that adding a little mascara and lip color can go a long way. Lately, I've been obsessed with NARS Audacious Lipstick in Charlotte when I'm really looking to dress up.
And think you’re wearing color contacts.
I can't begin to count how many strangers have asked me if I wear color contacts. I have natural hazel eyes, but because I'm of Asian descent, they assume they're not real.
Guys hit on you by asking, “What are you?”
"I'm American. Thanks for asking." Cue the eye roll.
Finding the right foundation and concealer is not easy.
Light, light-medium, beige, golden-beige? There are so many variations out there, but finding the perfect match can be tricky — especially when my skin changes so drastically from Winter to Summer. Maggie Q is half Vietnamese and half Caucasian, and you can tell from the picture that her skin tone changes dramatically with the sun. I've learned I must use two different shades for each season and ALWAYS try on at the store before I buy.
You feel pressure to be hairless.
Many Asians are blessed with very little body hair, and I’ve always felt like I should appear that way. But with an Irish mother who has dark, thick hair, I have to shave, tweeze, and wax, just like everyone else.
People say you look more Asian than white or vice versa.
I never know how to respond to this assessment, and it always gets really awkward.
Or that you look just like Lucy Liu.
There weren’t many leading Asian celebrities on the big screen when I was growing up. That meant Lucy Liu defaulted as my celebrity doppelgänger, and while she's absolutely gorgeous, the only thing we have in common is, you know, being Asian.
Sometimes you turn red from drinking.
I rarely get the Asian glow from drinking, but on the off chance that I do, people freak out. They like to make a huge deal about it, which makes me turn even redder from embarrassment.
Friends assume you can eat whatever you want and not gain weight.
We don't all have a metabolism like Chrissy Teigen. Sure, there was a time I could scarf down an entire pizza without gaining any weight. But once college came around, I realized my metabolism was slowing down and I had to start taking better care of myself.
But you embrace these struggles because you love being mixed and you wouldn’t change a thing.
Too much hapa to handle.