4 reasons why I think Korean cosmetics and skincare triumphs over Western’s

Korea vs western

The age-old question, Korean skincare or western cosmetics?  Which one is better, which one should you turn to, and is it right for you?  I started getting into Korean cosmetics about two years ago and I fell hard in love. Why you ask? Here are the reasons why I think everyone should give Korean cosmetics a try.

1) Korean skincare and cosmetics are more advanced
     Because the Asian market is so dense in population and Asian women demand for the best of the best when it comes to their skin, companies have to come out with interesting and cost-effective products.  Think about it, a typical Korean women’s daily skincare consists of 10 products and steps to complete: makeup wipe/ remover, cleansing oil, exfoliator, toner, essence, ampoule, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturizer, night cream and during the day you’d have to use SPF.  I have heard the extreme measures where women would put on SPF even working indoors in front of the computer since they believe the light from the computer could also ruin their skin.

     One major reason why Asian women pay such close attention to their skin is the environment that they live in.  During the springtime, there is something called the “Yellow dust” which is a dust storm containing sulfur (acid rain component), soot, ash, carbon monoxide, and other heavy metal components (mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic, lead, zinc, copper) along with viruses, bacteria, just all around not good stuff for your health and your skin!  Imagine living in that environment for months, of course, it would be natural for Asian women to pay close attention to their beauty and health.  Heck, I would too!yellow dustImage from wikipedia

Yellow dust defenceEtude House Dust cut facial mist, Etude House Dust cut finish cream , Etude House Dust cut sheet mask

     Asian women also have to deal with extreme weather changes such as the scorching summer heat, and flesh-chilling winters.  With all that change, it definitely is not good for the skin.  Heavy oil secretion during the summer would lead to breakouts, staying indoors in an air-conditioned building would dry up your skin, while the chilly winter winds would leave your skin parched and dry, lusting for the water content of moisturizers and creams.  Luckily I live in Vancouver with no humidity, calming chilly winds, and well… rain for 9 months out of the year HAHA.  I don’t have to worry about the extremities but we still need to take care of our skin!  

     Big companies such as L’oreal and Estee Lauder would go to Korea with new products not yet released worldwide just to test the waters. Why?  Because Asian women are cutthroat when it comes to their skincare, they will tell you straight up if it is SH*T, online and offline.  Friends, heck even strangers would come up to you and tell you to your face if you look absolutely ratchet that day.  If a product was well received in Korea, it would most likely excel in the rest of the world.  My mom would always come up to me and be like “Wow you look like you crawled out of hell, whats world with your skin?”  But then she would follow that up with “Let’s go for facials” or “Here drink some of this weird Chinese herbal tea”, so really you can’t really hate her because you know she is saying it out of love.

    Only recently did the Western market tap into the BB cream craze.  The Asian market had BB creams for almost a decade now and only about three or four years ago did Westerners come out with these “so-called BB creams”.  I call them so-called BB creams and roll my eyes every time I’m in the drugstore strolling along the cosmetic aisle because it is not a true BB cream.  No, I’m not stating that because it does not come from Korea, but because companies now seem to slap BB cream on their repackaged products which used to be tinted moisturizers.  They don’t understand that BB cream consists of a lot of goodness such as high SPF with PA+++, skincare benefits, and medium to full coverage.  Quite frankly Western “BB creams” are poo.  Yea, I said it… I haven’t found a BB cream that is as good as the Korean ones I have used.

bb cream wars

2) Koreans find the weirdest ingredients, and it works?!? Dafuq?
     Snail secretion, bee venom, snake venom, horse oil…. Have you heard of these before in your skincare?  If you have then you are familiar with Korean skincare for sure.  These are things that Westerners would raise an eyebrow upon and definitely would not hit the Western market for the sheer fact that it is too “weird” to be marketable for Westerners.

weird korean skincare

      I too was once super weirded out by snail secretion when I was first introduced to my favorite BB cream at the time (the hot pink BB cream from skin79) had a snail secretion version and was supposed to be super moisturizing.  I have dry skin so naturally I was super curious about the snail version but not brave-hearted enough to bite the bullet and spend money on the full-size BB cream.  I chickened out and bought three sample pouches for a couple of bucks and to this day I have still not used the BB cream but I have come to accept the “weird” ingredients have a norm thanks to the Korean skincare brainwashing.  Then again, I am Asian and have eaten weirder things (no not dog meat okay, I can never fathom putting a piece of Bobo’s, my dog, into my mouth.. BLAH NO!) so these products do not surprise me one bit no more.  I could go more into detail about all the different weird ingredients you can find in the Korean skincare and cosmetic market but I think that deserves another post on its own, don’t cha think?

3) Korean skincare and cosmetics are friendly on your wallet
     Every human on this planet should be taking care of your skin, it is the biggest organ of a human body and you only get one in your lifetime.  So skincare is a must! I don’t care if you are male or female.  Let me ask you a question… YOU WANNA LOOK LIKE A WRINKLE PIECE OF POO or FLAWLESSSSSSSS and age with grace and make people take a second look when you say your age? HMM? USE SKINCARE DAMN IT. Don’t give me the bullsh*t that skincare is “too expensive”, I’m telling you there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Korean skincare products! 

0151ec366a836fff784f9bd806cfd3b0Image from web

    I have been there where I would dread using up a cleanser or cream since they were so expensive!  I’d go to Sephora and my jaw would drop at the price of one cream, $40-50 average.   That is just one product!! Don’t forget cleanser, moisturizer, toner, and god forbid spend more money on a serum!  That would be $300 easily!  I used to only use the Clinique 3 step since it was $75 for three things but they were too drying, too much alcohol, and not moisturizing enough.  Then I moved on to L’occitane shea moisturizer which was good for my dry skin, but nothing would help my flakey dead skin!! So frustrating.  Only about two years ago when watched the Korean beauty show called “get it beauty” and the era of Memebox when they were still available for international customers did I really get into Korean skincare and realized that it was cost-effective, ingredients that were good and I could actually afford experimenting with my skincare routine.  I found Korean products like peeling gels which only cost $7 to buy, compared to something I can find at Sephora ranging from $50-$100.  It’s definitely a no-brainer, why would you spend more money than you need to?  Listen to this little Asian girl, I know where all the deals at.

peeling compare

4) Korean skincare and cosmetics have cuter packaging
   From my experience, I have found Korean skincare and cosmetics to be super eye-catching whether it is cheap or expensive.  The reason is, Asian women are exposed to new products on a daily, so companies would have to invest more time in packaging which would draw use women to purchase it.  Not sure if it is just me but I feel like we are like crows, we like shiny things and cute things :D.  Diamonds, shoes, fluffy, bright-colored things, you name it! We love it all. You won’t find this kind of packaging in Western markets ;).


     Although I say I do prefer Korean cosmetics over Western cosmetics, I still do like some Western cosmetics for the sheer fact that I can physically walk into a Sephora, swatch stuff before I decide whether I want to buy it and I can always bring it back to return unless you are lucky enough to be living in Asia, you have easy access to these brands.  Korean beauty philosophy is based heavily on the health of your skin and natural beauty while Western beauty bases beauty on uniqueness and pretty heavy makeup.  I have been on both sides of the fence and I must say, I do like the Korean beauty philosophy a lot better since it is lighter on the skin and in the long run, the Korean way is better for aging.  So bottom line, I turn to Western cosmetics for heavier, higher-pigmented colored products while I turn to Korean cosmetics for skin care and sheer, natural-looking makeup items.  The best part of knowing what is out there in the global market makes me a better shopper, and a savvy mind and it definitely makes you think twice about your skin in the long run.

So what do you guys think?  Where are you from and what beauty standards, techniques, and products are unique to your country?  Tell me in the comments down below!

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Marjolein Kucmer

    OMG serious first time in ages I honestly read a blogpost again!
    I blog constantly everyday but I’m dyslectic and I actually hate reading blogposts (so much text) xD but I read when I really like the content or when a person writes the way I think(it’s easy then)…. you write about everything I love and you write the way I think! YAY! 😀

    I’m from the Netherlands and here it’s all about the basic bleh cosmetics and the face makeup you just named or you have to pay 100 or euros for something halfway Korean cosmetics offer. Plus the makeup standard here is Urban Decay, cheap brands like Essence & Catrice and ugly super cheap light pink lipglosses xD The Dutch are far behind and have no clue.. Well some beauty bloggers know a bit about Korean stuff, because we have one online store where you can get super overpriced bb creams and the beginner stuff.

    Personally I love Memebox for opening a door for me to online international shopping and Korean skincare & makeup, I’m unstoppable haha. Glad that Memebox is over though, feels free and I shop better things with that money now 😉 Super addicted to Etude House, don’t know how and when that happened, but I love it.

    I’ve shared this post with my mom & sister because they often ask me about it and this post is so good and clear, they loved it! Your opinion is my opinion and I like the new blog! 😀

    Ps I I do send very large comments 😉

    1. Christina

      HAHA I’m glad I write in a way that you can read comfortably. I try to write how I am like in person, swearing at all ;).

      I’m from Canada and we have all the things (well most of the things) that USA has, but drugstore products are going up in price too. Packaging is boring, products are always the same old same old. If you need any help on getting things from Sephora that you can’t get in your country, feel free to email me through the contact form :). I’ll be glad to be of an assistance.

      We all came from memebox haha, and I agree with you too. Now that memebox is over and done with since they don’t have international shipping, I have tons of skincare stuff but i haven’t touched like 80% of it. Been slowly using it hehe.

      Thank you for sharing the post, it means a lot to me!

      Thank you for reading.

      PS I love long comments~ Keep them coming! I live for them

  2. Tracy

    You are absolutely right. Western Cosmetics are so damn expensive. I could not afford buying myself good quality stuffs until I got a job. It’s been only a short while since I could finally adopt a good skincare routine for my skin. However, when i discovered Korean products, yeah, the packaging and the commercial films were so eye-catching and the celebrities and models all had that wonderful looking skin, I thought I should get that and when I used them, they were soooo good, despite being less expensive. Western stuffs are no match to Korean cosmetics.
    I live on a small tropical island in the middle of the Indian Ocean and it is so freaking hot here that I have to use SPF a lot to avoid breakouts, aging, etc. Thanks to korean cosmetics. they’ve got spf in almost everything. It is amazing how they got a product specific to any need a person could have, which can vary for different seasons, and skin needs. So, i can say that i found what I needed to get my skin back into shape.

    1. Christina

      Sadly i still love my sephora fix, but usually only two a year when they have a sale. Even now when i have a decent job that can pay for my make up, it still kills me to see the price. And now that i’m taking my hobbies of blogging a little more seriously, i have to decide between make up or camera equipement. I’m glad you agree with me hehe. 🙂 thanks for stopping by, hopefully you continue on reading.

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