If you love K-Beauty as much as we do, then you must be dying to know more about the Korean Beauty Culture and Korean Beauty products. Well, you have come to the right place! We will cover everything there is to know about the K Culture, their daily lifestyle, their staple diet, and their secrets to the infamous Glass Skin. Korean Women are admired by women all over the world for the fair and flawless complexion they effortlessly boast. But effortlessly is only how it appears, but in real life, they are disciplined and dedicated to taking consistent measures to preserve their youth and keep their skin in the best state possible.
But first, let’s talk about Korea as a country itself. Korea as a whole is the most unique country in the world. It lies in the East of Asia, separated into the North and South, and is considered two different nations as they operate under two separate constitutions. North Korea is run by a communist dictator that deprives its people of freedom rights which include several basic human rights without any exposure to the rest of the world including limited internet access within the country.
South Korea on the other hand is officially known as the Republic of Korea populating 51 million inhabitants. Half of the country’s population lives in Seoul, the capital of Korea. South Koreans live free lives at their liberty, they live under pressures of societal norms such as achieving much higher than what the rest of the world would consider average.
In fact, South Korea ranks number seven in the Human Development Index (HDI). A globally used statistic that considers years of education, life expectancy, and per capita income that determines the quality of life. All of which is used to measure the country’s development rate. The variables in the HDI were chosen with the reasoning that a country’s development should take into account their human capabilities and not only by the growth of the economy.
The Korean Culture
South Korea in the 20th century leads a fairly modern way of life as they are granted freedom rights and they are free to move in and out of the country at their own will. Everything that describes something as Korean starts with K. For example, see below:
K-Pop → Korean Pop Music
K-Beauty → Korean Beauty
K-Drama → Korean Drama TV
K-Culture → Korean Culture
They have even come up with a Netflix spinoff screening platform where the most popular Korean TV shows can be watched, called K-Flix. Now that we know this rule, we can start referring to everything Korean by adding a K before the noun.
K-Culture is bold and bright in terms of aesthetic and sensory elements. The music when enjoyed must play at maximum volume. Fashion must be color and occasion coordinated and nothing is done without meaning.
Korean Culture is largely driven by Confucian principles. The notion of Confucianism is built around the worship of the ancestors and human-centered virtues in order to live a peaceful life. The concept is often compared to Buddhism, however, what separates the two is a debate whether Confucianism is a religion or just a belief system whereas Buddhism is with no doubt a religious belief system. Cultures based around the Confucian philosophy emphasize respect towards their elders and good moral behavior. They are strong believers that the manifestation of virtuous behavior such as respect, altruism, and humility will aim towards achieving cosmic harmony.
Korean Beauty standards are relatively high compared to that of the West. The results are often considered unrealistic and unattainable for Westerners. However, what is not taken into consideration is that the secret to Glass Skin is not only found in the K-Beauty Skincare products used. In fact, it is a lifestyle that Korean women lead, which entails a nutritionally packed Kpop Diet filled with fermented foods that contain different levels of anti-oxidants. This is referring to what the average Korean consumes on a daily basis.
In addition, they make every last effort to protect their skin from sun exposure. It goes to the extreme of wearing gloves over their hands, an umbrella when it is not raining and some even wear masks over their face regardless of the heat of the day. They will do anything to protect their skin from any kind of sun exposure. Therefore, Sunscreen is without a doubt the most vital step in any Korean women's skincare regime to maintain the look of Glass Skin.
How Korea became the capital of pop culture
Despite the Korean cultural norms of being conservative, the culture has recently gained popularity amongst western cultures, setting unique trends that the world has never seen before. They call it the Hallyu, a Chinese term that translates to the Korean Wave. It all started with sheet masks then K-Pop music became the preferred music genre around the majority of East Asian countries.
Not long after, Korean drama emerged on Netflix as a new genre and now the whole beauty industry is flooded with Korean Beauty products and ancient methods that are now only being discovered by westerners. Koreans call the cultural emerge Hallyu which literally translates into the Korean Wave.
The Korean Beauty culture
There is so much more to the Korean Beauty Culture than actually meets the eye. However, what meets the eye is emphasized when it comes to K-Beauty Standards. The standards are realistically unattainable without elective surgery and extreme measures to maintain it.
The majority of Korean women aspire to recreate a youthful appearance through extensive skincare regimes and just like the rest of the world, plastic surgery. However, skincare lies at the core of the Korean Beauty Culture to achieve a glass skin effect. Glass Skin lies at the center of Korean Skincare Routines which they achieve through a standard 10 Step Regimen.
Korean skincare is promoted by the appearance of glowing glass-like skin, also known as glass skin. his term is widely used in the K-Beauty culture because Glass Skin is the ultimate skincare goal for anyone who believes in the power of Korean Beauty Standards.
Glass Skin is represented by “the glow” that every skincare fanatic is trying to achieve. In fact, some beauty products are described as Miracle Glow Milk, implying that the use of the product will rapidly bring you closer to achieving Glowing Skin. The faces of all Korean Skincare brands represent what they call glass skin.
Korean Skin Care Regime
By extensive skincare regimens, we really mean exhaustive, yet comprehensive routines that produce real results if applied correctly. The ten steps commence with double cleansing that makes up for step one: oil-based cleaning and step two: water-based cleansing to ensure squeaky clean skin. To take the cleansing to another level in step three: exfoliating to remove impurities in clogged pores and dead skin cells. This step can be swapped out for a chemical peel once a month. Followed by step four: a toner to even out the pH level of your skin, followed by step five: an essence to provide the skin that extra bit of nutrition that usually contains fermented ingredients if produced by a Korean Brand.
Then comes step six, a treatment serum to address skin concerns such as dryness or acne. The seventh step is the iconic Korean Mask sheet that boosts the skin closer to its goals by treating the face with a 20-minute application. Step eight takes care of the eye area which holds extreme importance given this is the area that ages first. In step nine, the routine gets locked in with a moisturizer and is followed by the tenth and most vital step: Sunscreen, the number one anti-aging measure according to Korean women.
A more condensed skincare routine aimed at deep cleaning your pores is Skin Gritting. This routine consists of oil cleansing then going in with a clay mask to penetrate your pores, then massaging with a carrier oil until congestion works its way out of your pores.
Most famous Korean Beauty Icons and brands
Korean beauty icons are the trendsetters of emerging K-Trends in the K-Beauty world. They advocate for some of the best brands on the market. Not only by means of influencer marketing where they are paid to do so, but famous people take the liberty to bring awareness to unsung brands that do not get the attention they deserve by using their own popularity platform to reach their audience.
Korean Beauty Icons
Celebrity icons are the advocates of all beauty industries. They are approached by the biggest brands to become the face of those brands. These icons can guarantee exposure to the brand through their fan base which is purely based on their celebrity status. The same goes for Korean Icons. Except these guys are called K-pop stars, whether they are singers, actors, models, or dancers.
Sehun from the K-pop band EXO
Sehun is a KPop artist from the boy band called EXO. One of the most celebrated music bands on the Kpop scene. The band consists of nine members who each have a unique role in the band. Sehun is not only a singer, rapper, and dancer, he also models and acts in popular Korean shows and movies.
Given his popularity within Korean pop culture, he is approached by several brands to use his platform to create awareness amongst his fans. He is also a brand ambassador for a popular skincare brand that we in the K-Beauty industry are largely familiar with; Dr. Jart+. He is particularly fanatic about the Dr. Jart+ Cicapair Range as has had issues in the past with acne-prone skin. Sehun claims that Dr. Jart+ has helped keep his skin in a healthy state.
Kim Soo Hyun
Kim Soo Hyun is a famous Korean Movie star whom in the western world we can compare to the celebrity status of Brad Pitt in Hollywood. He is currently the highest-paid film star and is In 2012 -2016 and 2021, Kim has appeared in the Korean Forbes Korea Power Celebrity 40, a list that names the 40 most powerful celebrities in Korea for that year. Kim is hired being many high-end brands in Korea and he is now the universal brand ambassador of COSRX, one of the cleanest and most adored brands in K-Beauty.
Best Korean Skincare brands
The best of the best Korean Skincare brands earn this esteem by providing results. Aesthetics and large claims mean nothing in the skincare world if the products do not deliver the results. However, some brands get more attention than others as they are smart enough to create hype around a brand for its image and the popularity it gains when a famous person’s face is put next to it. However, the hype around a brand as mentioned before will only sustain if products actually work.
Dr. Jart + was built by a dynamic duo artist and scientist who created a brand consisting of innovative skincare technologies mixed with artistic packaging that is pleasing to the eye. As we know, Koreans are suckers for aesthetics. Dr. Jarts products are the epitome of what K-pop represents and are largely popular amongst young adults. The brand is particularly well known for the Dr. Jart Cicapair range or the Dr. Jart Color Correcting treatment.
The Cicapair range was formulated for sensitive skin that shows signs of redness such as rosacea. Many skincare enthusiasts who struggle with those concerns swear by this product as it produces results fast. It is power by Tiger Grass which is also known as Centella, an emerging trending skincare ingredient that speculators believe that Dr. Jart + set with their Cicapair skincare line.
COSRX on the other hand is a more sophisticated minimalist brand. They portray a more clinical approach geared towards the future of skincare. Their mission is dedicated to finding the next best things for skincare. The company has formulated an entire range of products containing advanced snail mucin complexes, rice formulas, and propolis to name a few.
This company is geared towards providing the market with a product for every step in the Korean 10 step routine. They aim to be market leaders by putting entire ranges of skincare products on the market in an effort to keep customers loyal to the brand.
COSRX prides itself in creating products that are gentle yet effective, the brand takes precaution by incorporating ingredients into the products in a protective way that it slowly feeds the skin without over stimulating the cells which in many cases result in skin purging.