Decoding the Korean Beauty Standard

Korean beauty, or K-beauty, has taken the world by storm. Flawless, youthful skin, sharp features, and a touch of aegyo (cuteness) are the hallmarks of this coveted aesthetic. But what exactly are the Korean beauty standards, and how did they develop?

Korean beauty ideals have transformed throughout history. Pale skin, small lips, and a heart-shaped face were considered beautiful. Influences from neighbouring China and the West also played a role, with trends like bold brows and rosy cheeks gaining popularity in the 20th century.

The Modern K-Wave

The rise of Korean pop culture, or K-pop, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries significantly impacted Korean beauty standards. Idols with symmetrical features, v-shaped jaws, and large, expressive eyes became the epitome of beauty.

Key Characteristics of Korean Beauty

Here are some key features of the modern K-beauty standard:

  • Flawless, Dewy Skin: A “glass skin” appearance with a healthy glow is paramount. This involves a multi-step skincare routine focused on hydration and gentle exfoliation.
  • V-Shaped Jawline: A sharp jawline is considered aesthetically pleasing. Some achieve this through makeup contouring, while others may opt for cosmetic procedures.
  • Large, Round Eyes: Double eyelids are prevalent in K-beauty, and eyelid crease enhancement procedures are popular. Large, round eyes are often accentuated with eyeliner and mascara.
  • Aegyo-Sal: The fatty deposits under the eyes, often seen in children, are considered cute and youthful in Korean beauty. Some achieve this look with makeup techniques.
  • Small, Straight Nose: A high, defined nose bridge is considered ideal.
  • Gradient Lips: Gradient lips, with a darker shade concentrated in the center that fades outwards, are a popular K-beauty trend.

Beyond the Korean Beauty Standards

While these are some dominant features, it’s important to note that Korean beauty is not monolithic. There’s a growing movement towards embracing individual features and celebrating diversity. Additionally, K-beauty is as much about a meticulous skincare routine and a focus on healthy habits as it is about achieving a specific look.

The Korean Global Influence

Korean beauty products and routines have gained immense popularity worldwide. The focus on hydration, layering skincare products, and innovative ingredients has revolutionized the beauty industry.

There are many famous Korean beauties, but here are a few of the most recognizable names:

  • Song Hye-kyo
  • Jun Ji-hyun
  • IU
  • Lisa (Blackpink)
  • Jisoo (Blackpink)

The Takeaway

Korean beauty standards offer a unique aesthetic with a strong emphasis on skincare. While some features are dominant, individuality and self-expression are gaining traction. Whether you’re drawn to the K-beauty routine or simply admire the flawless complexions, there’s no denying the global impact of this ever-evolving beauty trend.