Korean Beauty Standards: Korean vs. Western Aesthetics

For men and women, the definition of beauty is constantly evolving. What’s in today is out tomorrow. What’s hot this decade is a nod to the last one. Currently, Korean Beauty is the latest trend in this ever changing tide. The explosion of K-pop has all eyes (and wallets) glued to The Land of the Morning Calm. With a beauty industry worth $6 billion and quickly growing, South Korea is the new beauty mecca. Korean beauty standards are a distinct alternative to their Western counterparts. High and narrow noses, “glass” skin, natural lashes, and a “rosebud” pout are a few of several features that comprise this youthful look. If you want to learn more about Korean vs. Western Aesthetics, then keep scrolling.

Korean and Western Beauty Standards: So What’s The Difference?

1. “Glass” Skin

Matte but (hopefully) never flat are the #skingoals of the West. Moisturizers, primers, concealers, and foundations promise “oil control” and a “shine free” wear. However, for Korean beauty standards, a little shine never hurt anybody. On the contrary, K-beauty praises the glossy, better known as “glass” skin look. This aesthetic entails a poreless, glowing complexion. The West recreates this glow from layers of blinding highlighters that even Sharpie would approve. Yet, in Korea, this glow comes from within, or better yet beneath, juicy, hydrated skin.

2. The Natural Lash

To be fair, what girl doesn’t appreciate the perfect natural eyelashes? Big brands such as NARS, Maybelline, and Lancôme promote lash “boosting, plumping, and pushing” mascaras. Too Faced’s best-selling mascara even claims its “Better Than Sex” due to its lengthening and curling abilities. False eyelashes, known as falsies, are another popular beauty product in the West. Korean and Western beauty standards differ in their search and capture of the ideal lash. While K-beauty enthusiasts love a good lash, their idea of “good” is less dramatic. Korean beauty standards prefer a simpler, naturally curly lash. Eyelash curlers and an extra coat or two of mascara nixes the need for falsies. This creates a feminine, yet youthful aesthetic.

3. The “Rosebud” Lips

In the West, every girl is still searching for that perfect nude lippie. The nude lip is a look, notably popularized by the Kardashian clan, central to the mainstream Western aesthetic. If it’s nude and matte, then you did that, sis. For K-beauty (I think you’re starting to see the pattern) the nude look isn’t ideal. Over browns and peachy nudes, pinks and roses reign supreme in K-beauty. The West chases the full, mature pout, a la Angelina Jolie or now, Kylie Jenner. However, the Korean goal is the “rosebud” aesthetic. This ties in to that youthful and fresh appearance that is so highly sought.

4. The Ideal Nose

A surprising, but prominent distinction between Korean and Western beauty standards is yes, the nose. While no one wants a nose that doesn’t suit their face, there is an ideal nose in K-beauty. This nose is small and dainty. This aesthetic is popular in K-pop. Celebs who aren’t naturally endowed with this feature go under the knife to obtain it. Lucky for them, Korea is not just the beauty mecca for complexion, lip, and eye products; it’s an elite player in the field of cosmetic surgery. Korea is home to some of the most highly trained surgeons and first-class clinics. Rhinoplasty is one of the most common procedures practiced. Countless international and domestic patients have raved about their speedy recoveries and stellar results.

Beauty trends come and go. Today’s slay is yesterday’s faux pas. However, with its emphasis on a young, natural aesthetic and innovative products, I don’t see K-beauty’s


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