How North And South Korean Beauty Has Changed Over 100 Years

Watch How Korean Beauty Standards Have Changed In 100 Years

In another brilliant video from The Cut, we see how fashion and beauty standards have changed in the last 100 years. This time, the team focus on Korea.

And while The Cut's previous videos proved beauty standards had been influenced by politics in places such as Iran, their latest exploration is made all the more interesting by the fact that it also considers how region effects beauty.

It begins with one image of Korean beauty, but splits into two to show how trends in North Korea and South Korea changed after the country split in 1945.

Tiffany Lee demonstrates the looks from both sides of the border from 1910 to 2010.

In 1910, women wore their hair in elaborate styles decorated with ornamental fastenings.

A decade later, they opted for a more natural look, wearing hair loosely tied up.

By 1940, women across Korea wore red lipstick, perhaps reflecting Western influence due to the US occupation between 1945–48.

But in the 1950s, the country and its beauty standards changed dramatically.

The Korean War occurred between 1950 and 1953 and although many mark it as the reason Korea slit permanently, the country was originally divided after WWII.

From then on, women in South Korea emulated Western beauty standards more and more, while women in North Korea became more militarised.

In the 1960s, looks for women in both North and South Korea became more feminine as they left the days of war behind. Fashion in South Korea was more sexualised than in the North though, as General Park restored some political freedom.

In the 1980s women in South Korea embraced big hair and bold make-up with the return to democracy in 1986.

At the same time women in North Korea, under Kim Jong-il, opted for a more muted look with minimal make-up.

In the 1990s women in South Korea contiued to experiment with fashion and beauty, with bright colours and butterfly clips being the norm.

Women in North Korea wore their hair short and pushed behind their ears.

A militarised look returned for women in North Korea in the 2000s as North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2002.

Those in South Korea wore smoky eye make-up and make-up much like women did here in the UK.

By 2010 the divide in beauty standards is more subtle but still present.

While it is not unusual for women in the South today to use contouring in their make-up and wear false lashes, women in the North again take a more natural approach to make-up.

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