Everyone has their own opinions about what is beautiful or attractive — beauty is subjective and varies with each individual; however, culture can have a major impact on how we perceive beauty. I thought it would be interesting to compare the different makeup styles and beauty trends of Korea and America as they’re drastically different.
I created two makeup looks, inspired by each country, to show you the differences. I broke down all the products used for each look and if you’re interested in hearing my thoughts on which style I like more, make sure to read to the end!
In Korea, women focus on enhancing natural beauty with minimal makeup. Dewy skin is key — the “glass skin” look is a popular K-beauty trend that focuses on having healthy, luminous, translucent skin. In addition, Korean women usually have full brows (no arch) with subtle eye makeup (simple eyeshadow with soft eyeliner and just mascara, no false lashes), brightly tinted lips, and a flush of color on their cheeks (little to no contouring). Also, did you know that under-eye bags in Korea are considered to be youthful and attractive?! Yes, it’s true and there’s a term for it: aegyo sal (loosely translated to “cute skin”). I’m now a little less self-conscious about my eye bags — yesss!!!
In America, a matte complexion is more preferable with strong contouring and highlighting. Arched eyebrows are favorable, eyes are elongated with winged liner or smoked out using various eyeshadows for a sultry effect, and lips are full and matte (or glossy). False lashes are also a must!
K O R E A N M A K E U P L O O K
For this Korean inspired makeup look, I kept my eyes simple with a soft wash of color on the eyes, accented with a shimmery eyeshadow to brighten them up, finished off with a bright pink lip. I attempted to do the “glass skin” look and focused on giving my skin a healthy radiance with a seemingly translucent effect rather than a full coverage finish. I was lucky to have had a good skin day when I shot this look — thank goodness! I usually prefer a matte complexion over a dewy finish, but I loved the way my skin looked here — less makeup gives a more youthful appearance!
- I cleansed and moisturized my skin prior to makeup application, then I applied the Erborian Glow Creme all over for an instant brightening and dewy effect.
- Next, I patted on a light layer of the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (Fair) to even out my complexion and diminish imperfections like redness, dark spots, and acne scars.
- For a bit more coverage under my eyes and around the corners of my mouth, I used the COVERGIRL Vitalist Healthy Concealer (Fair).
- To maintain the skin’s dewiness, I only applied setting powder under my eyes to set the concealer and prevent it from creasing, and on my T-zone area (forehead, nose, and chin) where I normally get the most oily — I’m loving the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Pressed Anti-Aging Finishing Powder.
- I wanted an even more glowy finish, so I dusted the Guerlian Meteorites Birthday Candle Pearls onto my skin to add more radiance.
- I contoured my nose and cheekbones lightly with the N.Y.C. Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder (Sunny).
- For blush, I used the Le Metier de Beaute Mystique Creme Fresh Tint.
- To highlight my cheekbones and nose tip, I opted for the Guerlain Meteorites Baby Glow Touch Luminizer (Baby Glow) with the Becca Cosmetics Vanilla Quartz Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter on top.
- On my brows, I used the shade Midnight from the Eylure x Vegas Nay Brow & Shadow Pro Palette.
- For my eyes, I used only two eyeshadows: Etude House Look At My Eyes Cafe Eyeshadow (PK007) and the shimmery rose gold color (top left) from the COVERGIRL Hot Kat Katy Kat Eyeshadow Palette. I finished off the eye makeup by lining my upper lash lines with the Urban Decay Demolition 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil.
- False lashes are optional and Korean women don’t normally wear them (they only wear mascara), but I love the flirty and sultry effect of lashes, so I couldn’t resist wearing them; this lash style (unknown brand) is quite dramatic — a shorter and more natural style would be a better option if you’re not into the voluminous look.
- My lip color is the Memebox I’m Lip Crayon (CY209 Irene). The gradient lip trend is so popular in Korea, but I can’t pull it off because I think it looks weird on me, so I just applied the lip color regularly onto my lips.
A M E R I C A N M A K E U P L O O K
American makeup trends can be very bold and dramatic, yet artistic and utterly alluring — the cut-crease technique is one of the trends that I have come to love and obsess over. It exploded on Instagram and it won’t be disappearing any time soon! I’m a creative being, who loves to experiment with colors, so I’m incredibly fond of vibrant makeup looks. It’s the artist in me. This look features a full coverage complexion with intense smokey half cut-crease eyes and glossy nude pink lips.
- I turned to my go-to base products, as usual, for this look — they consist of the: Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation (128), Hard Candy Glamoflauge Heavy Duty Concealer (Medium Light), and Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder (Transparent).
- Since I have a very round face, contouring is a must in my makeup routine; I love to use the
- N.Y.C. Smooth Skin Bronzing Face Powder (Sunny) to sculpt my face — I apply it onto my cheekbones, forehead, sides of my nose, and my jawline for more definition and a slimmer effect.
- I wore eyeshadows from the Flirt Cosmetics Love Is Sweet Eyeshadow Palette (shades used: Cupcake, Jelly Bean, Cocoa, Candy Girl, Wintergreen, and Honey).
- I completed the eye look by creating a bold winged liner with the E.L.F. Cosmetics Jet Black Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, then finished off with the Mademoiselle Lash Jenai Silk Eyelashes — a bold look requires a pair of lash that is just as dramatic, so go big!
- On my lips, I mixed the Flirt Cosmetics LookAtMyLips Matte Liquid Lipsticks in Bash Love and Hot, Not Bothered together with the E.L.F. x Christian Siriano Tinted Lip Oil (Pink) on top for more shine.
It’s fun to try out trends, but at the end of the day, makeup is about preference. If you like it, do it! Wear whatever makes you feel good! I don’t care for rules because makeup has none. 🙂
So, which makeup style do I like more? I think the Korean makeup style is too subtle for me — I love a full glam with eyeshadows, liner, lashes, contour, highlight, and lots of lipstick!
What about you? Do you like the Korean style or the American style? Let me know down below!
Thank you for reading!