Base makeup differences between Japanese, Korean and Chinese

Date: 2016-05-24
Browse Times: 36

Since it is always hard to distinguish people of the three East Asian countries, I asked myself the question during my travels: how to distinguish the makeup appearance and habits of each woman of each country (Tokyoite, Shanghainese and Seoulista) ? By looking at them in the streets and taking notes, I was trying to get their insights about why this foundation or why this liner, why starting with that brush and ending with that blend… in summary also I could learn about historical/societal/sociological/cultural dimensions of it which is I guess the basis of Consumer Science and cosmetics development - understanding state of art and needs, prospect for what people wait for-. I, as a non-Asian guy could gather heredown a few elements about the makeup looks of  ‘standard ‘ Chinese, Japanese, and Korean women. Not exhaustive and very relative (Chinese women adopt baby doll makeup like Japan, and Japan get inspired of Korean dewy complexion…), it is still a good reflexion basis that I can share with you today.

Of course nothing is 100% generalisable and it is only my vision as a Junior in the cosmetic industry... but still you may agree with many things below I guess ?

Enjoy !


Base makeup differences between Japanese, Korean and Chinese

> Complexion: pale to ivory white skin, not really dewy like Kor or porcelaine like Jp, something where the notions of translucent and limpidity are the keywords and make the difference. It means skin should look fully hydrated which Chinese will consider then as a luminous to glowy face, whereas those 2 words covers other definitions in Jp and Kor. They call it princess or empress-toned face skin, in reference to the past aristocracy of China. Contrarily to foundation and cushion or tinted moisturisers, the use of the blush seems less predominant as giving colors in the middle of the cheeks seem less important to them.

> Eyes: importance of the line of the eyeliner, that has to make the eyes ‘drawn’ and ‘opened’ by generally going up with bow form. Upper eyelashes with a mascara should go up the sky too to make the glance wider, volume and length are criteria always appreciated as claims. Under-eye region is most of the time concealed then glittered, and eyeshadows is not only placed on the lids like Jp and Kor but widely forming an oval around the eye to create this dimension of big space.

> Lips: more fancy or intense colors than the two other countries. Chinese like extremes and dont promote the Korean plain coral lip bar or Japanese girly pink gloss. They would rather get full bloody or dark lips with lipsticks (which seem to be the favorite galenic), or some times fancy colors like yellow (see Chris Chang collection for MAC in the previous article)

Discussion: China is big and beauty varies (not same in Shanghai as Chengdu, Xi’An and Nanning) and I did not take also Taiwanese and Hong Kong women into account this time, though I know they look not same at all.  Recently, no-makeup makeup trend and a wish for natural look as well as kawai look from Jp impacts a lot in China which means it diversifies consumer identities even more


Base makeup differences between Japanese, Korean and Chinese

> Complexion: cushion in hand, dewy to slightly mat, Korean women want a perfect flawless skin, contoured following the V-line to make their face looking like an oval. Like Jp, they want to volumize their skin like 3D. Top of the cheeks, nose and top of eyebrows are always luminous to allow the face to have this natural shimmer. Pink, beige and peach blushes are always appreciated, more than the two other countries, more spread off on the whole cheek especially the upper part. Two keywords are then the healthy glow and smooth/vibrant skin. 

> Eyes: puppy or cats eyes, Korean women want to make it bigger and talk about XXL eyes. Liner trait is very regular and They exploit the bump in the undereye region named aegyosal to colour and/or glitter it. Also the eyebrow must be light, thick and legerely bent off on the edge, not circular or linear like before. They love also to use colored lenses and false eyelashes like China and Japan. Eyeshadows on the lids are elongated to give almond shape to the eye and comport medium-toned purple, copper, black or peach, pink and coral tones - sometimes glittery on the top but not a majority - and with a gradient to let the light come from above making the eyes bigger.

> Lips: Korean women prefer lip bar or colored lip balm to gloss and lipsticks. They prefer fuchsia, plain or sweet pink, coral, orange or light red colours, always vivid but not fancy nor nude. Before it was just-bitten lip trend, which evoluted today on what we call gradient lips. Sometimes they use highlighter to make the down lip more brilliant at the center. Many of them accord the lip shade with eyeshadow and/or nail polish, especially pink and peach tones.

Discussion: Korean product turnover is very fast but beauty is still quite standardized, way more than Japan and China. And the addiction to plastic surgery has also to be taken into account. Though it will change for sure, one day there will be more diversified beauty looks… but the country still leads innovation and trends in this domain. Seoulista (see article before) is a good example of it.


Base makeup differences between Japanese, Korean and Chinese

> Complexion: Japanese women are looking for a natural, fresh and floral look, very feminine, sometimes judged as ‘ innocent’. Base makeup is a flawless porcelaine skin tone, not luminous to dewy like Kor and Cn but definitely more clear matte.Blush go from pink to red and generally concentrated to emphasize the volume of the center of the cheek. Key words are volumized 3D face and baby skin. Recently we also talked about low and gym skin (see article before).

> Eyes: Japanese women like Kor and Cn want bigger eyes too, mainly named as doll eyes, with not an almond shape like Kor but a circular aspect. Then black eyeliner or pencil trait is very strong like China. They dont put foundation on the undereye and like to put sometimes a false glittery tear, to make it look saggy, no aegyosal. Eyebrows are short and thick, and edge-bended too like Korea. Eyelashes should look very volumized and long, sometimes in a dramatic aspect quite inexistant in Korea. They love to use eyeshadows but very lightly to just suggest some color to the eye, not too much. Color range is too broad, more various than the two other countries.

> Lips: Japanese want plumpy lips, always airy to fizzy. Though they use lighter colors than Kor and Cn, it still stays feminine with dominance of pink, coral and sometimes blue.

Discussion: Japanese women use more products than China but less than Korea for the makeup. From kawai manga girl to the Ginza Tokyoite there is a huge gap as well, but as seen before many trends are developping on this market too. And like Korea men make up cases increase…

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