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Does South Korea have beauty standards?


South Korea is known for its booming beauty industry, with countless skincare and makeup brands originating from the country. But with this focus on beauty, it begs the question: does South Korea have beauty standards? In this article, we will explore the cultural and societal influences that shape South Korea’s perception of beauty.

History of Beauty Standards in South Korea

Historically, South Korea has placed a strong emphasis on physical appearance. This can be traced back to the Joseon Dynasty, where noblewomen were expected to have fair skin and delicate features. Fast forward to modern-day South Korea, and these beauty standards have only intensified. With the rise of K-pop and Korean dramas, there is a growing pressure to conform to a certain standard of beauty.

Skin Tone and Texture

In South Korea, fair skin is often considered the epitome of beauty. This belief stems from the idea that lighter skin signifies wealth and status, as those who worked outdoors were more likely to have tanned skin. Additionally, smooth and blemish-free skin is highly valued, leading to an abundance of skincare products and treatments.

Facial Features

Facial features such as large eyes, a high nose bridge, and a V-shaped jawline are popular beauty ideals in South Korea. These features are often achieved through cosmetic surgery or makeup techniques such as double eyelid tape and contouring.

Body Shape

Similar to Western beauty standards, a slim figure is prized in South Korea. However, there is also a growing trend towards a more athletic and toned body type. This can be attributed to the rise of fitness culture in the country.


Hair is another important aspect of beauty in South Korea. Long, straight hair is often favored for women, while men may opt for a more tousled or textured hairstyle. Hair color is also popular, with shades such as ash brown and platinum blonde being particularly sought after.


Makeup plays a significant role in South Korea’s beauty standards, with many women and men incorporating a daily makeup routine into their lives. The “no-makeup makeup” look is a popular trend, emphasizing natural-looking skin and subtle enhancements to facial features.


Fashion in South Korea is often influenced by the country’s pop culture, with K-pop idols and actors setting the trends. Clothing styles range from cute and feminine to edgy and streetwear-inspired.

The Influences Behind Beauty Standards

There are several factors that contribute to South Korea’s beauty standards, including media and advertising, societal pressure, and the country’s history of beauty ideals. Additionally, the influence of Western beauty standards cannot be ignored.

The Dark Side of Beauty Standards

While striving for beauty may seem harmless, there are negative consequences associated with South Korea’s beauty standards. Plastic surgery addiction, body dysmorphia, and an unhealthy obsession with appearance are some of the potential dangers.

Beauty Standards Across Cultures

It’s important to note that beauty standards vary across cultures, and what is considered beautiful in one country may not be valued in another. Understanding and respecting these differences is crucial in promoting body positivity and self-love.

The Future of Beauty Standards in South Korea

As South Korea continues to make its mark on the global beauty industry, it will be interesting to see how its beauty standards evolve. Will there be a shift towards more diverse representations of beauty? Only time will tell.


In conclusion, South Korea does have beauty standards that are heavily influenced by cultural and societal factors. While these standards may have their drawbacks, it’s important to recognize and respect the beauty ideals of different cultures. Ultimately, true beauty comes from within and should be celebrated in all its forms.

What are beauty standards in Korea?

In Korean culture, physical features such as a small v-shaped face, fair skin, symmetrical eyebrows, a slim body, and double eyelids are highly valued as they create a youthful and innocent appearance.

Why does South Korea have high beauty standards?

Koreans place value in looking good, believing that it is important for everyone to appear attractive. As a result, they invest a lot of resources – time and money – into their skincare regimen. Korean beauty salons are also in high demand among both genders, as many seek to enhance their physical appearance.

Does beauty matter in Korea?

Individuals have unique preferences when it comes to physical appearance. For instance, some may prefer tall and fair individuals while others may not. In contrast, in Korean culture, many still regard their beauty standards as universal, leading to prejudice against those who do not meet this standard.

What is golden ratio in Korean beauty standards?

Traditional Korean design objects have a shorter proportion ratio of 1:1 or 1:1.333, as opposed to the golden ratio of 1:1.618.

Are big lips attractive in Korea?

A research study discovered that Japanese women tend to prefer thinner lips, while Korean women generally prefer fuller lips. This aligns with a previous study conducted by Ioi et al, which also found that Korean women are more accepting of slightly larger lips compared to Japanese women. This was reported on November 1, 2017.

What country has the strictest beauty standards?

According to a worldwide study conducted by the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in 2015, South Korea was ranked among the top ten countries with the highest number of cosmetic surgeries. In Korea, beauty standards place importance on characteristics such as a slender body, radiant skin, a defined jawline, fair complexion, straight eyebrows, flawless skin, and big eyes.

One factor that has contributed to South Korea’s beauty standards is the country’s competitive job market. In a society where appearance is often linked to success, many individuals feel pressure to conform to beauty ideals in order to improve their job prospects. This can lead to a sense of inadequacy and low self-esteem for those who do not fit the mold.

Another aspect of South Korea’s beauty standards is the influence of social media. Platforms such as Instagram and YouTube have given rise to a new generation of beauty influencers, who share their tips and tricks for achieving the perfect look. While this can be empowering for some, it can also perpetuate unrealistic beauty standards and lead to feelings of inadequacy for those who cannot achieve the same level of perfection.

Despite these challenges, there are also positive aspects to South Korea’s beauty culture. The emphasis on skincare and self-care has led to a focus on overall health and wellness, with many individuals incorporating exercise and healthy eating into their daily routines. Additionally, the popularity of K-beauty has led to an increased interest in Korean culture and traditions around the world.

In conclusion, South Korea’s beauty standards are complex and multifaceted, shaped by a variety of cultural, societal, and economic factors. While there are certainly negative aspects to these standards, there are also positive aspects that promote self-care and overall well-being. By understanding and respecting these beauty ideals, we can learn to appreciate the diversity of beauty across cultures.

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