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Spot the difference: Korean vs Japanese beauty trends

Spot the difference: Korean vs Japanese beauty trends

Cosmetics and trends from Korea and Japan have made a huge impact in the world of beauty. Korea is home to the latest innovations when it comes to products, while Japan focuses on the achieving better and better formulas for our staples. It's also interesting to note that the two countries, although geographically close to each other, have developed a few different approaches to skincare and makeup.

They do have a few similarities though!

  • Clear, white skin: This might generally be an Asian thing. While Caucasians love their tan, most Asians favor white skin. The love for fair, blemish-free skin can be linked to the olden times. Before, having dark skin meant you came from a poor family of farmers that worked under the sun all day while the rich stayed in the shelter of their mansions.
  • Large, wide-awake eyes: Both cultures often use eye makeup techniques to make small eyes look bigger. Using eyelid tape and glues is common, as these help to turn monolids into regular ones without needing surgery. False lashes and circle lenses (contact lenses which are larger than one’s iris) are also quite popular. 
Japanese actress Satomi Ishihara (Image via 1meee.com)

Japanese actress Satomi Ishihara (Image via 1meee.com)

Korean actress Song Jihyo (Image via Banila Co.)

Korean actress Song Jihyo (Image via Banila Co.)

And these are a few points where Korean and Japanese beauty trends diverge!

Matte versus dewy: Although a fair complexion is a shared preference, the approach to face makeup is quite different. Koreans love using dewy BB creams and cushion pacts to create a look with a luminous glow. Meanwhile, the Japanese like to keep their faces matte and often reach for powder face bases instead. This holds particularly true for the gyaru, Lolita, cosplayers, and even idols!

Japanese model Tsubasa Masuwaka (Image via xdslookbook.wordpress.com)

Japanese model Tsubasa Masuwaka (Image via xdslookbook.wordpress.com)

Korean pop star Hyuna (Image via wikia)

Korean pop star Hyuna (Image via wikia)

Eyeliner and mascara: Both countries are into neutral, shimmery eyeshadows but how they apply mascara and eyeliner definitely sets them apart. Japan is THE Holy Land of mascaras. They have some of the best long-lasting, volumizing, lengthening, super waterproof mascara formulas! This emphasis on lashes also lends itself to the abundant choices of false lashes - you could wear them every day and no one would judge you.

In Korea, they prefer a "puppy eye" tightlining technique, wherein eyeliner is applied super close to the lash line and flicks either horizontally or downward. This makes the wearer look more "innocent and pure". Koreans also make a big effort to emphasize their aegyo-sal or under eye fat or eyebags. When a shimmery color is applied in this area and a light contour below the bag itself, it is said to make one look youthful and bright!

Image via kavenyou.com

Image via kavenyou.com

Korean actress Song Hye-Kyo (Image via kpop.asiachan.com)

Korean actress Song Hye-Kyo (Image via kpop.asiachan.com)

Hungover or cutie: The Igari/hangover/fresh-out-of-shower rosy look is popular in Japan, wherein a generous application of blush almost right under the eye area is considered a sweet yet sexy look. 

Koreans tend to apply their blush JUST on the apples of their cheeks for that cute and youthful appearance. It's ever so slightly blended upwards to make it look more natural but color is never applied on the sides of your cheeks. The logic is that it makes your face look bigger.

Purple and lavender blush shades are used in Korea for an extra baby cheeks effect, while red blushes are the best pick for that sexy "I just came from the onsen" look that the Japanese favor.

Kiko Mizuhara for Shiseido Maquillage (Image via teammizuhara.tumblr.com)

Kiko Mizuhara for Shiseido Maquillage (Image via teammizuhara.tumblr.com)

Bae Suzy for The Face Shop (Image via onehallyu.com)

Bae Suzy for The Face Shop (Image via onehallyu.com)

Up or down: Koreans are the pioneers of straight brows, because a straight full brow is thought to contribute to a younger-looking appearance. Japan is catching up on this trend but most women still wear their arches up in a friendly non-mataray way.

Tint and gloss: Surprisingly, this is where one will find the greatest difference. While Korea is well known for their lip tints or stains, applied in gradient for that I-just-ate-a-cherry-lollipop look, the Japanese prefer full, plump glossy lips. 

So, is your beauty philosophy more like that of the Koreans or the Japanese?

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