For some years now, cosmetic products from Korea and Japan have also been gaining more and more followers in Europe. What is the reason for this? Is it just the allure of the exotic or are cosmetics from the Far East a little ahead of Western care and beauty products?
What is the beauty secret of East Asian women?
How do they do it? Korean and Japanese women always have flawless skin. Or have you ever seen impure skin or even a tiny pimple on them? Even wrinkles seem to appear later and look young for longer. Is it simply predisposition? Is the proverbial Asian serenity behind it?
Thorough cleansing ritual
Whether women or men: Koreans and Japanese always look like bounced out of the egg. They place an extraordinary value on cleanliness, be it in the household, in shops and even on train platforms. It goes without saying that they pay special attention to the cleanliness of their own bodies. Thorough washing of face and body is a traditional ritual. They take their time for this.
For the face, a quick cat wash with a damp washcloth or a cloth soaked in cleansing lotion is out of the question. Rather, they combine the two by first cleaning the face with special cleansing products such as a make-up remover or cleansing oil and then rinsing thoroughly with a washing substance dissolved in clear water – for example a gel – until the last traces have been removed. Green tea is also valued as an external application because of its skin-cleaning properties. A peeling once a week to remove dead skin cells for a clearer complexion is popular.
New Trend Asian Beauty
To care for their skin and hair, Korean and Japanese women do not necessarily always use international products, but often domestic cosmetics. They attach great importance to high quality and products with natural ingredients.
The allure of the exotic may play a role in the fact that cosmetics from Korea and Japan are now also increasingly in demand in Western countries. However, the Asian beauty trend would only have been short-lived if the cosmetics had been an extraordinary eye-catcher in the bathroom but left something to be desired in their use.
There is a small anecdote from the 1970s about the good care effect of Asian products: A delegation from Europe visited the manufacturing plant of a Japanese sake producer. Sake is a Japanese rice wine. There was a skin expert in the group who noticed the young appearance of the hands of the employees in the factory.
His assumption that the sake base ingredients rice and yeast would delay the formation of wrinkles on the hands was confirmed in laboratory tests after his return. By adding certain amino acids and vitamins, the researchers developed a wrinkle-retarding active ingredient complex called Pitera.
In fact, many East Asian skin care products often contain rice among other ingredients. Since the 1970s it took several years before the positive effects of the ingredients on the skin texture and other effects of Korean and Japanese cosmetics began to enthuse Europeans – but better late than never.
What is special about cosmetic products from Japan and Korea?
How did Japanese and Korean cosmetics boom in Europe in the first place? Is it just the variety? Or can they do something that the others can’t?
Haven’t you already experienced that with a skin cream or face mask the promised benefits remained below your expectations? Doesn’t it seem normal to you that cosmetic products with sensational chances of success are advertised, which are only partially fulfilled later? Especially with cosmetic products, advertising often exaggerates a little. Customers are generally experienced enough to know what is behind certain formulations or how they have to interpret certain descriptions. With this expectation, European customers also buy cosmetics from Japan and Korea. Then comes the astonishment: the products from the Far East often really deliver on their promise as announced! So they bring more than expected. This is already part of the huge success of Asian cosmetics in Europe.
Typical for Japanese and Korean cosmetic products is their primary function as problem solvers. The individual articles deal specifically with problems of skin or hair – be it dark circles under the eyes, skin impurities, too dry or oily skin, an impaired skin barrier or dull hair, to name but a few.
In addition to the high effectiveness of the recipes based on scientific findings, the easy structure of the care products is also convincing. Moreover, many of these products consist of natural ingredients. Among them are some that play hardly any role in European skin care products – for example rice, green tea, bamboo, algae, ginseng or Asian vegetable oils. Nevertheless, this does not give carte blanche that cosmetics from the Far East are basically all good. Of course there are differences in quality here as well.
A look at the list of ingredients is always worthwhile. As usual, ask yourself whether a remarkably inexpensive product can deliver good quality at all. Conversely, a high sales price is no guarantee for corresponding quality. Here you can again orientate yourself on well-known brands and recommendations from friends. Blogs can also be a good source of information.
In the next section you will learn about differences in mentality, which also play a major role in Far Eastern and European cosmetics and which are responsible for the fascination and success of cosmetics.
One more thing to note: Korean cosmetic products are always products from South Korea. The people of North Korea have certainly also internalised careful personal hygiene, but they have limited resources for this
and nothing is known of any significant cosmetics production in North Korea – especially not for export.
What part does the mentality play in cosmetic expectations
Although East Asian cosmetic products are so successful in Germany and other European countries, they were often developed for different expectations than in this country. Obviously, this is not an obstacle to their sale in Europe, to which not only the Asians living here but also the Europeans themselves contribute greatly.
While in Germany a tanned skin is still considered more attractive than very light skin, in East Asia the lightest possible porcelain complexion is in demand. On top of that it should be flawlessly even. Therefore, the use of sunscreens is as natural in Korea and Japan as concealing face creams and moisturizers. Bleaching agents – which are harmful for the skin anyway – are not the issue here as most people in Korea and Japan are relatively fair-skinned anyway. They just want it to stay that way. So instead of going to a solarium, they would rather use a parasol and put on gloves.
By the way, did you know that the BB cream, originally invented in the 1960s by German dermatologist Dr. Christine Schrammek, quickly became successful after its introduction in South Korea and Japan in 1985? The balancing skin cream served exactly the Korean and Japanese beauty ideals of a bright and flawless facial skin. BB creams were advertised in South Korea by actresses as their beauty secret, which further boosted sales figures. Korean and Japanese cosmetics manufacturers continued to develop BB cream. They now also offer their own CC creams.
From an early age, mothers in East Asia introduce their children to careful body and beauty care. Negligence in body care is frowned upon. In particular, mothers teach their daughters the ideal beauty-promoting measures typical for the country, such as avoiding too much sunlight. Thorough cleansing followed by attentive skin treatment with moisturizing agents is just as much a part of this as the advice to stay in the shade more than in the sun, even in winter.
What happens so early as an important part of education shapes the feeling of beauty and the need for care for the whole life. This is combined with a deep knowledge of the Korean and Japanese women about the best beauty treatments. And so they do not overdo it with the use of face brushes and peelings, as they know very well that too frequent or ungentle use is counterproductive: the skin would be strained instead of cared for. This would lead to skin impurities. The skin could even slacken prematurely and look older because the two proteins collagen and elastin, which are jointly responsible for a youthful skin texture, are irrevocably damaged by overly energetic massages.
Applying several creams on top of each other is another feature of East Asian skin care habits. This is a special art, because of course the creams should not be applied indiscriminately. They are then selected and applied in a
order that they support each other in their effect. At first, a light cream is applied thinly and gradually more rich, heavier creams follow. A precise instruction is not possible at this point. There are simply too many different products. And: Even if you are interested in Korean and Japanese care products, you don’t have to imitate everything 1:1. You will also be so enthusiastic about the products. If you like, you can of course experiment a little with the individual creams and make-ups. But don’t overdo it here either, otherwise it can lead to skin irritations.
In Korean and Japanese everyday life, beauty care plays an important role. The care rituals might have another beauty effect, because the intensive occupation with skin and face care gets something meditative. Provided that the care does not take place under time pressure, it might be a relaxing ritual, and as is well known, relaxation also promotes a good appearance. This point of view fits perfectly with the East Asian mentality, don’t you think?
Do Koreans and Japanese women only use their domestic cosmetic products?
In Korea and Japan there are a large number of international cosmetics on the market in addition to domestic products. Of these, Koreans and Japanese prefer those products that correspond to their personal view of face and body care. Of the international and western cosmetic products, those that rely on natural ingredients are particularly popular. Sunscreens, creams for skin care and moisturizing as well as concealing products are popular with international products as they are with domestic cosmetics.
Do Asian cosmetics work equally well for Europeans?
When comparing East Asian and European cosmetic products, you may be asking yourself whether the beauty effects shown by Korean and Japanese women can be transferred to Europeans. After all, there is a different type of person living in East Asia. On average, East Asians have a few different physical details compared to Europeans. By the way, this has nothing to do with racism, they are biological facts.
Their smaller body size on average certainly does not influence the effectiveness of cosmetics. However, the structure of their hair, for example, is different: It’s usually smooth and strong. A hairdresser will tell you that cutting and styling the hair of people from East Asia is a change for him, if he otherwise only deals with European hair. He will also not recommend to his Asian customers all products for hair care that he advises his European customers to use. There is something else that distinguishes East Asian hair from European hair: Koreans and Japanese hair greys later than Europeans.
Since hair and nails are biologically regarded as appendages of the skin, the hair example is a good introduction to the consideration that the skin of the Koreans and Japanese is also slightly different from that of the Europeans.
than for Europeans and has correspondingly different care needs. And couldn’t it be that the beautiful skin of Asians is more a question of genes than of cosmetics? Could it be that they once hit the jackpot in the gene lottery? This would be to simply dismiss the justified question of the transferability of East Asian skin care successes to European skin conditions.
The answer is: Korean and Japanese skin care and cosmetic products are also extremely good for the skin of Europeans.
There are no essential differences in the skin structure of the ethnic groups. In East Asia mainly two skin types are represented: large-pored skin with a tendency to subunits and small-pored, sensitive skin.
The skin types of normal and combination skin which are also frequently found in Europe are considerably rarer there. Accordingly, the cosmetic offer in Korea and Japan is adapted to these skin types. Thus, you will find a wide range of problem solvers for large-pored impure skin as well as for sensitive skin protective skin care products, some of which are also supposed to strengthen the impaired skin barrier again.
The moisturizing creams offered in a wide range also achieve the desired effect with European buyers. Rich creams and nourishing oils which nevertheless do not leave a disturbing greasy shine on the skin – that is what you want, isn’t it? Skin care products with an integrated high sun protection factor, which protect against skin damaging UV radiation, are also contained in many western creams and lotions and are known for the fact that because of their sun protection the skin underneath ages more slowly. So why not try the Asian product variant?
In summary, there are no objections …
… against the efficacy of Korean and Japanese cosmetics on European users.
However, we would like to draw your attention to one exception: As I mentioned before, the East Asian ideal of beauty includes light skin. So you will hardly find any tinted creams or make-up products in darker shades here. At best, BB creams have a weak tinting to cover up certain flaws in the skin’s appearance.
Oh yes, and as far as discipline is concerned: you remember? Korean and Japanese women tirelessly carry out their extensive care ritual. It is a matter of course for them – not a duty, but a need. For them it is simply part of life.
Cosmetics from Korea and Japan: for you too!
So it is a matter of discipline and also a question of taste, not a biological question, whether Asian care products are suitable for Europeans. You will certainly find the right product for you among the variety of articles.
What is so fascinating about Korean cosmetics
At first glance, Korean cosmetic products often stand out for their colorful and imaginative presentation. Although they are items for teenagers and adults, the containers of some products are designed as cute as if they were intended for children. Added to this is the exotic appeal of cosmetic products from the Far East. The cosmetics from Korea available in online mail order were not only produced there, but some of them were even sent to you directly from Korea after your order and not from a dealer based in Germany.
It is also the curiosity for the unknown, such as the ingredients that have not been used in western cosmetics, that makes Far Eastern cosmetics so attractive for Europeans. Care products with ginseng, bamboo and algae entice people to buy. Those who like to experiment even dare to try skin creams with snail extract.
Let’s introduce various Korean beauty products and start with the snail creams that you have probably just become curious about.
Korean secret weapon for beautiful skin: snails
Don’t worry, these are not pureed snails as a cream ingredient, but active ingredients from the slimy secretions of the snails. Snail mucus is said to keep the skin extra smooth and soothe wrinkles. Meanwhile not only many Korean women swear by this beauty product. Maybe you will too soon?