Today I bring you a quite different post.
Since I finally got into Korean beauty, I’ve been thinking a lot about the cosmetics and beauty industry and how it is perceived and used in society differently in the western and eastern cultures. So I wanted to share a few thoughts on it in this post, which is more on the reflection side than in the practical side.
Anyway, fear not, because I have an article about the Versace Fall 18 Fashion Show and a Sephora Haul coming soon for those of you who like a little more action!
And now let’s get into the subject.
In a world and society dominated by media and social interactions, everything has been accelerated and made fit for consumption till the point that human beings are being literally objectified as one more product to keep the wheel of capitalism turning.
Beauty, in what we know as the first world, has left their complicated and rigid beauty standards to become directly one more packaging made of plastic that is sold to us through all our senses in everyday life, and we have to take and wear if we want to be a part of that fabulous and dazzling constellation that is the system. While minorities and collectives are fighting more than ever for the acceptance of every culture, appearance, mental disposition, sexual preference, nationality, identity and everything else, the media is responding in an way as extreme as they could have fought back. Humans, and therefore beauty, is no longer a product of nature but of the human race itself, and like always, those who have the money also have the power.
What I mean by all this is that cosmetics procedures, surgeries and looking all the same is ‘trending’ (kind of wishing that turning humans into dolls could never be a trend) more than ever. Surgery has always been there and has always been kind of addictive to those who submitted themselves to it, but now, the fever is as high as ever and we all know what the goal of every average woman (that fits into the profile of beauty standards victim and has the money to become one) is: to look as plasticky as they can till it no longer even feels right or healthy.
For me, I must say that it is really disheartening to see interesting (and not interesting) women reach the fame (or wanting to reach it) just to start filling their lips and faces just to make makeup look better.
Makeup is no longer used to enhance features, but features are ‘enhanced’ (or say better destroyed) to glorify makeup. High cheekbones to make that highlighter pop, lips filled like a balloon so liquid lipsticks appear smooth as they can, pointy noses to match those highlighted cheekbones, high and pointy eyebrows that are later filled and fixed, and spacious eyelids to show off those cut creased looks that advertise eye shadow palettes more than a billboard.
You may think it sounds too harsh but it’s just how reality is, though it is sad.
In the middle of all this western capitalist madness, I realized that Korean beauty has become such a kind and ‘viral’ trend to follow for one reason: it takes people back to thinking that their natural beauty should be treasured and taken care of instead of erasing it to implement a new one in place of the one they were born with.
Korean beauty has that ritualistic nature that soothes our souls while also being part of the consumerism industry (it would be naive not to think so). What I mean is that this kind of industry is the nicer side of a coin that we are bored to try to resemble.
Faces and features are not used in Korean beauty to make the most of products, but on the other hand, products are used to preserve and take care of those, surely also in a highly addictive way that will also imply its own risks and that probably will end in cosmetic procedures too, but at least the philosophy is different. And I think that it has have such a tremendous success precisely because we are tired of the stress and the pressure of western trends. It is an industry too, of course, but one that changes the game we have been playing for so long.
Korean Beauty takes back that traditional feature of beauty where it was a ritual one followed to feel and look better. While in western beauty standards the individual no longer matters and three hours of hair, makeup and choosing outfits leave you feeling equally or more empty than before, Korean beauty uses that calmness that we are so desperate for to build their way to success. And if I have to choose, as many people have thought too, I prefer to give my time and my money to an industry that at least take the time to make it look (or to really do) like they care about the health and well being of each person.
What I mean is, if they make it look that way that well, I highly prefer it to what western industry is expecting from me.
Just in case there is some people that haven’t taken a look into what the Korean beauty madness is about, it is all about looking healthy, young, and preserving that health and youth as much as you can. The main concern is not makeup (though of course there is a use of it) but skin care, and self care in general since that ritual side of beauty is highly exploited in it. And it is a good exploitation, I mean, in beauty industry you are always going to find strict standards that are not really looking after your well being but after their benefits, but if I have to choose between the philosophy of glorifying makeup and silicone and fake nails and wigs and fake lashes and fake everything, and the one of spending more and more time taking care of myself in an endless routine of skin care products, I will surely choose the second one.
Industries are never kind, but I think that the success of Korean beauty in the western society as well, is based on that people have finally found a trend in which they feel good about themselves and where they can finally rest of trying to look completely different that themselves. An endless skin care routine at least allows you to take that time for yourself and think and enjoy the moment freely, without worrying about the end result, because it is probably going to be going to bed and have a good night sleep, not having to worry about looking perfectly fake for whatever hours you have to face social interactions as it is in the western world.
I think that this is mainly what I wanted to share, though I could sure go on writing about it for much longer, but my conclusion is:
Korean beauty and Asian beauty trends in general have succeeded so much, and I foresee an even greater success, in the western society because they are an escape from the beauty standards of the western industry that we are so tired to try to fit it. They are a change. They allow us time to breathe and reconnect with ourselves. And sure they are an industry too, and as it is happening already, one that western society will swallow and turn into a money making machine for their own benefit too, but at least their philosophy was different. At least, allow me to think even if it’s too innocent an idea, they intentions were good. And probably nothing is going to make me think that the intentions behind lip fillers were good too.
And that’s why this past year, it finally kicked in for me too, probably because it was also the time that even I needed to escape, and I finally gave into the Korean beauty trend because, opposite of what we are accustomed to, it felt right.
I hope this served both as a reflection and as an introduction for the Korean beauty posts to come from this point on, and, also I hope, for a greater concern in general about self care.
For a New Year when we matter more than what is meant to embellish us.
Thank you for reading and see you soon!