Korean beauty standards are often discussed on a global scale with a focus plastic surgery and cosmetic enhancements all aiming to achieve the ideal "Korean" look. However Korean makeup is also extremely transforming, and a lot of the before and after's you see of Korean plastic surgery is actually contributed to makeup and photoshopping as well, not just their surgery skills. This is often an overlooked part of the before and afters you see everywhere.
I've always loved the way Koreans do their makeup, I feel they are extremely careful with their application and always love to make it look as natural as possible. I fell in love with Ulzzang makeup initially, which is a very dramatised doll-like version of Korean makeup, much like "gyaru" styles of Japanese makeup, so you will see some of this show up in the way I've decided to do Korean makeup here too.
So lets being exploring the differences of the makeup trends of the East vs West. In this case Korea which is known as one of the most influential countries in Asian makeup trends as well as American makeup, also a huge source of styles and trend amongst Western countries thanks to hollywood and dare I say, the Kardashians.
In this video I wanted to show you and highlight the differences I have noticed in the makeup trends between Korean makeup vs American makeup and I think it'll be an entertaining watch :)! Again please take all these points at face value, it's aimed to be entertaining, and not stereotyping :)
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For a written version of everything I've covered in the video please read the below sections :)!
Contact lensesIf you do wear contacts, light coloured contacts like blue and green are incredibly popular in American makeup because it makes some of the smokey makeup looks pop. However in Korea brown circle lenses that make your pupils larger are so common! It creates an innocent and dolly expression. Black and dark browns are the most popular colours!
The primer I'm using helps your makeup stay and you will notice that it blends in really well with your skin tone. Primers used in American makeup are either clear of have a slight and sublte pearlesent finish.
Korean primers in general are a lot more brightening! A lot of the newer primer products come in various colours like pinks and greens to help colour correct the sallow or olive skin tone in favour of a whiter and piny toned skin colour. In general, they are much more brightening and lighten your skin slightly.
The point of american foundations is to match your skin colour, some also use a slightly darker shade to mimic a more tanner and blowy colour on the skin. In general the colours tend to me more yellow based as well. The foundation also usually offers medium to heavy coverage. Otherwise a tinted moisturiser is usually used for sheer coverage.
In Korea Cushion foundations are extremely popular! They offer both BB and CC formulations and usually have brightening and are infused with lots of moisturising essences, which is why it is usually very liquid and comes in a cushion sponge. Korean also really love the dewy look, which means the finish is almost oily looking and well moisturised. And although my finish isn't extremely dewy you can see it is dewier.
I don't have a lot of differences to point out in terms of concealers. Let me know what differences you've noticed! Thanks to your comments it's been said that Americans prefer drawing a large triangle with a concealer shade lighter then their foundation colour. Koreans use it to conceal blemishes and imperfections.
Now contouring has been a huge trend in american makeup, so I had to include this! The point of contouring is to bring out some nice chiselled cheekbones, create a narrower forehead, a strong nose bridge and overall stronger face lines. Highlighters are also used on the cheekbones, bridge of nose and above the cupids lips and chin. It's quite common to use largely contrasting contour colours, however I've chosen to use a more subtle collor pallet. For the cheeks bronzers are a popular colour and it's applied underneath the cheekbones up to the temples. Also some coral and peach colours are a favourite to add on top of the bronzer for a sophisticated look.
In Korea contouring is not that popular, more often then not highlighters are used to bring out the cheekbones, nose bridge and forehead lines with only subtle contouring on the nose and jawline. Contour colours are a lot more subtle and are often only 1 shade darker then their skin colour. Pink blush is a popular choice in Korea and is applied on the apples of the cheeks in a round manner for a really cute and innocent flush.
American makeup comes in many different brow shapes, but a natural arch is quite popular and really helps you open up the eyes. Now i'm struggling because my brows have been groomed straight, but I'll try my best. Also adding concealer to clean up brow makeup is common and this is also used so that there is a strong and sharp line between the brown and the skin. Strong and clean brows are one of the cornerstones of American makeup - apologies though for messing it up a bit :P trying my best.
Korean brows on the other hand are generally straighter and thicker. The colours they use tend to be also more powdery looking and light, not as bold. They prefer they brows to be very soft and natural and lighter in colour.
Emphasising the crease and contour of the eye is a common theme in a lot of american styles of eyeshadow. Cut creases, smokey eyes all love to bring out the creases and contour of the eye. Darker colours are used in the crease and outer V with highlighting colours used on the brow bone, packed onto the lids for cut crease looks and inner corners. Bright and bold colours with heavy pigments are also very popular and there is so much creativity with eye looks! Also blending is a huge part of American eyeshadow looks because of the number of colours used! In terms of eyeliner shape, the winged liner is a classic shape of American makeup, because it opens up and pulls up the eye into a more youthful and sexy shape and it's common to smoke out the lower eyelid with a darker colour. The look isn't finished without some bold lashes created with either mascara and/or fake lashes!! The longer the better!! The overall impression is sexy, confident and fierce!
For Korean eyeshadow looks, the emphasis is really on brightening the eye socket! Lots of shimmer and pearl finishes are used with lighter colours like champagne, pinks and light browns commonly used. Most of the time only a single colour is needed, sometimes 2. Because a crease is not always a common and most of the time not very deep, usually a single wash of colour or a dual wash of colour is blended out and used to brighten the eye. However shimmer and pearl colours are commonly applied to the inner corner and lower eyelids to create an aegyosal" or cute eye bag effect. The dark colour is usually applied along the lash line as opposed to the crease and joined to the outer third of the lower lash line. An eyeliner look following the natural eye line or coming straight out the side is common. Overly slanted eyes are considered too fierce in Korea so more natural curve is adopted. Curled lashes are incredibly important to open up the eye and a few coats of mascara is applied. but overly long lashes are not a common look in Korea makeup. Natural looking lashes are preferred.
Lip liner is commonly used in American makeup because bold coloured lip looks are common and lipliner helps prevent the lipstick from bleeding. Lipliners are also increasingly used to "over line" the lips creating a larger and poutier lip which I have tried to do here. Also nude colours are a favourite with pigmented and matte lipsticks a popular formulation choice. Here I have decided to apply a nude colour and also don't forget the gloss for large pouty kissable lips! Well not really kissable because boys hate getting gloss on but it LOOKS kissable :)
The gradient lip is pretty much the number one lip look in Korea. Many colours are used but pinks and peaches are most popular. I've chosen this bright pink to create my gradient lip look. Just apply colour to the centre and use your fingers to dap out. Cherry is also becoming a very common and popular colour these days. In terms of formulations tints are probably the most popular lip formulation, and pigmented glosses that are like lipstick are also quite commonly found. Instead of lipliners, congealer is often used to conceal the lip line, and tone down lip colours to create an illusion of small rose bud lips where the colour is only strong in the centre of the lip. It's the complete opposite of American makeup!
So now we've completed the look!! I must look pretty silly with a half half face on but I really wanted to show you the differences at the same time :)!!
Love you guys :)!