Japanese Beauty Vs Korean Beauty: How The Two Trends Compare

Which make up team do you sit on?

The trend for Korean beauty products has taken over our shopping aisles, our #shelfies, and many of our faces. However J-Beauty is preparing to give K-Beauty a run for its money in 2018, as Japanese beauty products are once again growing in popularity in the UK.

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Though there are some similarities, these Eastern Asian takes on makeup and skincare differ on the desired result.

Here’s the low down on the four main areas that vary the most:


The Korean beauty trend is known for being lengthy and including steps such as essence (a hybrid between a toner and serum, that preps your skin before moisturiser) and ampoule (a concentration of many active ingredients to treat a concern). Toner, moisturiser, SPF and eye cream are also applied and sheet masks are used frequently.

Whereas, the increasingly popular Japanese beauty routine involves applying fewer products in light layers. The focus is on hydration and key ingredients are hylaronic acid and aloe vera.

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Both beauty trends like to exaggerate the eye. The Japanese makeup trend prioritises a thicker cat eye and uses eyeshadow to open up the eye.

The Korean trend favours blush tones on the eye with a thin wing pointing downwards for a “puppy liner” effect. A wide-eyed effect is created by blending eyeshadow underneath the eye.

Beauty YouTuber Jenn Im is an advocate of the Korean trend and accomplishes the rather doe-like look in the shot below.


Both J and K beauty use blush instead of bronzer to give a pinched-cheek effect.

The ‘hangover look’ is not just a social media beauty myth, it is popular in Japan. To achieve this look you must blot blush directly underneath the eyes. K beauty is more simple when it comes to pink cheeks - the application required is simply your typical blusher application.

As the Japanese beauty look is slightly more matte, the use of highlight is subtle, whereas for Korean beauty any product which makes the face look more hydrated is a winner.

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As the Japanese beauty trend is toned down, lip products chosen are the “your lips but better” variety.

With Korean beauty, it is about looking as fresh as a daisy and lips usually have some kind of gradience. A pinker colour is placed gently in the middle of the lips and then washed over with a non-sticky lip gloss to look like you’ve just had a popsicle.

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Decided which trend is for you? Here’s how to shop the looks:


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