“Glass skin. Glazed donut skin. Glowy skin. We’ve heard it all. But what about your own skin? This June, EnVi celebrates the beauty of you.”

Dari Sabang Sampai Merauke,” translates to “From Sabang, Aceh to Merauke, Papua,” a beloved phrase describing the diversity of Indonesia. This diversity also applies to the Indonesian beauty landscape, enriched by different races, religions, and cultures. 

The beauty industry is considered one of the fastest-growing sectors in the country. This contemporary industry has evolved from traditional customs and herbal remedies. Indonesia is known for its long history of beauty customs that are now influencing modern Indonesian cosmetics. Deeply rooted in Indonesian heritage, Kusuma Kosmetika is one of the brands that embrace Indonesian culture.

EnVi chatted via email with Tiara Budiendra, Kusuma Kosmetika’s founder, about Indonesian culture, beauty heritage, and catering to different skin tones.

Image courtesy of Kusuma Kosmetika.

Skin Tones and Inspirations

Kusuma Kosmetika was born when Tiara noticed that few makeup options cater to predominantly tan and darker skin tones of the Indonesian population, which is a predominant skin tone amongst Indonesians. “Every brand has the same color palette (mauve/mundane shades) but not sticking/vivid enough to actually come through for darker skin tones,” Tiara explained.

“We aim to cater [to] every shade of skin tones across the Nusantara, prioritizing deeper skin tones, to create shades that enhance the deep skin tones of Indonesians that I rarely see in this market.”

Tiara has an interest in collecting batik fabrics and wastra. And Kusuma Kosmetika draws inspiration from the colors and patterns of these fabrics. “Batik and Wastra have a lot of floral patterns. I combined [them] with my middle name, which is ‘Kusuma,’ which also means ‘Flower’ in Javanese. It just flows from there,” Tiara wrote.

Balm Blushes and Lip Creams

Kusuma Kosmetika has two main products in their makeup line. They offer four balm blushes with vivid shades. Their best-selling balm blush is Anggrek Malam — a purple to pink shade.  “Many Indonesians do not know that purple is a great color option for deep skin tones. The purple shade really amplifies the skin, making it a soft rosy pink flush on brown deep skin tones,” she further explained. 

Image courtesy of Kusuma Kosmetika
Image courtesy of Kusuma Kosmetika

Anggrek Malam is formulated for fair, medium, and dark skin tones. This product features a solid texture, compared to wet cream blushes, so users can build up the pigment according to their skin tone. 

Additionally, the brand’s Bunga Bibir collection has four shades of lip cream. This line of lip creams features vibrant and vivid colors. Inspired by the texture of flower petals, Bunga Bibir lip creams have a smooth and silky feel with a semi-matte finish. If you’re looking for a bright-fuschia shade, go for the Teratai Air shade. For a deeper, purple-plum shade, try Anggrek Bulan twinning with the balm blush!

Celebrating Indonesian Heritage With Kusuma Kosmetika

Korean beauty has gained popularity in Indonesia since the 2010s, instilling a new beauty standard in the country. One major standard that has been heavily encouraged is skin whitening, especially in advertisements. “Kusuma Kosmetika’s vision is to remind people of our roots, whereas a lot of brands are now anchoring on the trend of Korean beauty, which in some shades does not fit our skin tones,” she elaborated. She noted how makeup with lighter shades has made a huge wave in Indonesia, sadly forgetting that darker shades — like the purple one — exist too. She wants to give more options for darker skin tones. This is something many brands still struggle to do today. 

Tiara hopes that, by projecting some cultural roots in the brand’s design, people will get inspired to celebrate the heritage further. Traditional elements might look “boring” to the eye, but giving it a modern touch would create something new and interesting. “To be relevant with our traditional elements in design, because traditional heritage will always be relevant living in Indonesia,” she mentioned. In the future, Kusuma Kosmetika would love to introduce more shades that are flattering to Indonesian skin tones, free from whitening and free from other beauty standards. 

Want some recommendations on small businesses in the beauty sector? Check out our AAPI Hawaiian beauty business spotlight here!