thesis edit by experts how to find a ghostwriter for a book

South Korean Beauty Standards: Aiming for Perfection

South Korean Beauty Standards: Aiming for Perfection

Asian women are going to use a facial foam to wash cosmetics off the face

South Korean beauty standards are by far one of the strictest in the world. Koreans are quite particular with their aesthetic appeal because of several cultural factors that influence it. Over the past few years, Korean beauty standards have overtaken the Western ones partly because of the boom in Korea’s cosmetic and aesthetic industry. 

K-beauty or Korean beauty products have gained popularity in the marketplace due to their sheer affordability and quality. Nonetheless, K-beauty products such as sheet masks, moisturizers, cleansers, and even dermal fillers are projected to reach 14 billion US dollars by 2027. It is no question that the Korean cosmetic industry is one of the top performers in the world.

The use of somewhat exotic ingredients such as snail slime, starfish extract, bee venom, pig collagen, and others is an inherent characteristic of K-beauty products. Though these ingredients may sound weird and even disgusting at first, it has intrinsic properties that greatly help improve your overall appeal to make you feel radiant and rejuvenated. 

Growing demands for these products are driven by the tenets of Korean beauty standards and their implications for real-world usage. The philosophy of Korean beauty is the driving force behind the success of these products, and its characteristics are what propelled the industry into fame.

In terms of its socio-cultural and economic standpoint, Korean culture is inherently different from its Western counterparts. Korean culture is the fundamental core of what is K-beauty.

This article looks deeper into Korean beauty standards, their implications among gender types, and why it is so drastically different from its Western and other Asian counterparts.

Female Beauty Standards

Korean beauty, simply put, has one fundamental philosophy: an overall innocent look – a small face, big eyes, and a slim body to recreate that youthful look.

Koreans, compared to Westerners, have beauty standards, at least when it comes to faces, tend to center on cuter feminine looks. Koreans, overall, support faces that are slim, young, and youthful with small facial features and pale skin. On the other hand, Westerners prefer curvy faces, like Kim Kardashian or Rihanna, which is out of line for K-beauty.

Overall, Koreans prioritize the following for their beauty standards:

Small Face

These include having a pointy nose, plump lips, V-shaped jaw, and straight eyebrows. Having a small face in South Korea is the core of one’s beauty. Analysis and study were done by scientists that Asians, Koreans in particular, have smaller eyes, thus, giving them the appearance of a more prominent face. Furthermore, a smaller face is reminiscent of your childhood years, thus, giving you the appearance of being youthful or young.

Facial bone contouring surgeries are becoming popular among Asians, partly because of their flatter facial bone structure than their Western counterparts. V-line surgery, which comprises jaw and chin reduction and zygoma or cheekbone reduction, are popular options to change a Korean’s facial contour. A V-shaped face must have the proper proportions to enhance a person’s beauty – not too small or angular.

Pale Skin

White and flawless skin is the standard when it comes to Korean beauty. Compared to their Western counterparts, which often admire a golden-tan-colored skin, pale skin is a must in Asian cultures, especially in Korean society. 

Cultural factors have played into this idea that pale and white skin is associated with a more beautiful appearance. Thus, it is innately desired by Asians, more so Koreans. Darker colored individuals were associated with labor-intensive jobs such as farming and agriculture, whereas whiter skin was associated with a higher economic status.

Larger Eyes

Clear double eyelids and aegyo sal have been the center of eye beauty for Koreans. Since South Korean beauty is often fixated on achieving a younger look, having large and innocent eyes. Big, rounded, and almond-shaped eyes are considered a beauty piece since it emulates a youthful look. 

Slim Figure

While it is understood that Koreans have the lowest rates of obesity worldwide, admittedly, roughly 60% of Koreans are on a strict diet. It is due to their adherence to the standard of having a slim figure as one of the tenets of their beauty standard.

Their choice of having a slim figure is highly praised in Korean societies, and it is a sign of beauty in Korean culture.

Male Korean Beauty Standards

While women take the lead when it comes to achieving the typical standard of beauty of Koreans, men are also notoriously strict when it comes to beauty standards as well.

Compared to Western culture, wherein makeup for men could be attributed to femininity, in Korean societies, male beauty standards are pretty similar to those seen in females.

The current Korean beauty standard for men is quite simple: cute, feminine, and pretty figure towards an androgynous look.

However, due to Western influences, more Korean men have standards to emphasize a fitter and more masculine figure. Despite this, it will come as no surprise that Korean men wear moisturizing lotion, foundation, and even makeup when they are working out.

Whereas Western ideals of male beauty include James Bond in Europe or Thor in the US, Korean male beauty is defined by K-pop bands. Nowadays, Korean men are reflective of the beauty standards of male K-pop bands.

The market of Korean Beauty for Men

Korean men are open to beauty products despite the Westerner’s outlook that beauty products should only be reserved for females. It will be no surprise that Korean men are also adept at using makeup for their beauty needs.

Makeup is not seen as a gendered product in Korea. You can see men purchase makeup and other beauty products in Korea. Over the past decade, South Korean men have become the world’s most prominent spenders on skincare and beauty products.


Korean beauty standards have gained notoriety for being strict and unattainable, but these are common to the culture of a specific country. These beauty standards are a cultural phenomenon worth admiring due to their rapid pace of technological and cultural boom.

Let us also not forget that despite these K-beauty standards being strict, Western standards are also the same, if not stricter, to some degree. Beyond the universal beauty standard that we all share, each culture has its beauty standard worth admiring for its own merits.