With the rise in popularity of K-Pop artists such as Psy (lest we forget the musical gem, Gangnam Style), South Korea and its pop culture norms are, in my opinion, becoming the newest craze on the American scene. For those who are unfamiliar with the South Korean pop culture scene and beauty norms, here are a few points to know:
Skin is in – very pale, very firm skin is a beauty must-have; making popular skin treatments such as spa facials, firming masks/creams, anti-aging products and even skin bleaching.
Nip/Tuck – Unlike the plastic surgery common in the US, Korean plastic surgery focuses primarily on the face. And yes, all the cool kids are doing it. According to a blog post by Amy of Fashion’s A Stranger, “Estimates range that 50-75% of South Korean women in their 20s have undergone some form of cosmetic surgery”. The most common types plastic surgery include eyelid surgery to achieve the more desirable Western round eye and double eyelid, and jaw reduction surgery.
Don’t forget the boys – Flower Boys, or Kkotminam as they are known in Korean, are men whose focus on beauty, skin care and fashion rival even the girliest of girls. Some of the biggest male pop stars in Korea are no stranger to makeup, wild hairstyles, and spa days. Mind you, this is not a commentary on their sexual orientation, but common practice among most Korean men in their twenties and thirties. ABCNews.com just produced an expose regarding this exact phenomena —> South Korean Men Cosmetics-Crazed
Check out this K-Pop inspired shoot I did last year entitled “Top Class”…
Knowing my love for all things beauty, my dear friend (and seasoned world traveler) picked up a few facial masks for me to try out on her trip to South Korea earlier this year. Naturally, I could not wait to give them a try!
Upon opening the packaging, I was shocked to find cloth mask sheet that resembled a cross between my childhood nightmare Jason and a Mexican luchador. To the best of my ability, I applied the dripping wet mask to my face and let the healing mixture marinate on my skin for 15 minutes. Within moments, I could feel a gentile tingle telling me that the mask was working.
As difficult as it is to look cute while the mask is on, the end result is totally worth it. Of the two masks, my favorite was the Royal Jelly. With its essence of honey, grapefruit and peach leaf extract, it left my skin feeling hydrated, refreshed and smelling delicious! I will definitely be shopping the pages of Amazon.com to try more of these unique Korean exports and hope that you will too!
Until next time dolls, Keep Calm and Gangnam Style On!
(Thanks for the shirt, Jess!)