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How Korean Beauty is different to Western Beauty?


Have you ever wondered how Korean Beauty is different to Western Beauty?

From the ingredients in the products, to the formulations, packaging, approach and even their purpose, we’re chatting 8 main ways that Korean skincare differs from Western skincare.


Topics discussed in this episode:

The Focus on Skincare vs Makeup 

Whereas western cosmetics tend to focus on using makeup and application techniques to cover flaws, the Korean philosophy is that beauty begins with great skin.

Korean products focus on skincare to fix any underlying problems rather than covering them up.

Studies have shown that 89% of Korean women spending their money on skincare rather than makeup!

Even Korean makeup products tend to focus on repairing skin issues (while covering up). Skin79 is a great example of a Korean brand that blends makeup coverage with skincare properties.

Layering Products vs exfoliating

K-beauty is all about light, thin layers.

Korean skincare focuses on soothing and nourishing the skin, making sure it is properly hydrated. This can be contrasted to Western skincare, which tends to focus on exfoliating to reveal new skin.

There is less of a focus in K-Beauty on scrubs, retinols and harsh acids.

Instead, each product in a Korean beauty routine serves a specific purpose.

Another reason for Korea’s obsession with layering? The Korean weather, which is much more extreme than many western countries.


Koreans take UV protection very seriously. There is also a lot of focus in K-Beauty on “whitening products” (which we would call “brightening” in English).

Try APLB Gluthatione Ampoule Serum for brighter skin with fewer dark spots.

Less Focus on Anti-Aging and More on Holistic Approach to Skincare

While Western skincare generally focuses on anti-aging, Korean Beauty is all about listening to the skin’s needs with a holistic approach.

Layering hydration while also preventing damage from environmental factors, pollution, and harmful UV rays is key.

Deep Hydration

Koreans are obsessed with hydration. The goal is “Chok Chok” skin.

Double Cleansing 

The Korean Double Cleansing Method is a two-step process that involves washing your face with an oil-based cleanser, followed by a water-based one.

Using two different cleansers at night is designed to remove makeup, dirt and build-up for cleaner, softer, and smoother skin.

Ingredients and Formulas 

Korean skincare focuses on using innovative and original ingredients and techniques, so that new products stand out amongst a sea of competition.

Recent trends have included snail mucingalactomyces (yeast extract), bee venomginsengfermented ingredientscentella asiatica and even lotus!


Korean cosmetics are cheaper because manufacturing costs are lower in Korea. There is also stiff competition among the brands in Korea.


Innovation is key for Korean beauty labels, as there are thousands of companies competing against each other. It is said that Korea is 10 years ahead of western skincare technology.

Another thing is that there is less red tape when it comes to bringing new skincare to the market. 


Resources for this episode:

Skin79 Korean BB Creams

What is Skin Brightening

APLB Glutathione Ampoule Serum

The Korean Double Cleanse Method

How Korean Skincare is Different to Western Skincare


What to do if you Liked this Episode:

Take a photo of yourself listening to the podcast and tag us @stylestory_kbeauty



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