Welcome to Mother’s Day Week at The Klog! In honor of the hardest-working women on the planet, we’re publishing a collection of articles and videos devoted to moms-to-be, new moms, and the moms we’ve been relying on for years. Here, we asked two mothers—one Korean and one French—to compare the Korean aging approach with the French aging approach.
Meet Meegyeong Park, the mother of our digital content and marketing associate, Tina. She lives in South Korea (we recently published her entire skin care routine):
Now meet Katalin Berenyi, the cofounder of Erborian, a skin care company that fuses Korean and French ingredients into multi-tasking products, and the mother of three daughters. She lives in France:
Here’s how they both approach aging.
How do French and Korean women view aging?
Meegyeong: I think respect for the elderly is built into traditional Korean culture. In the past, aging was seen as a positive thing because it’s a reason for you to gain respect from the community. But now with the internet and all the content that’s out there, there’s more of a tendency to put emphasis on what’s visible on the outside. I think this encourages people to want to stay young, no matter what their age. Women especially are sensitive to aging and want to look younger, not only in terms of having good skin and being fit but also in terms of having a healthy body. I think this desire to have vitality and lead a youthful life is getting stronger and stronger, and I even see this desire among young people.
Katalin: French woman and Korean women are really different. Not only because the needs of the skin are different but also because our perception of what aging means is different. French women are laid back and they’re casual about their beauty. They are very simple. A little black dress is enough. We have the kind of feeling in France that a little nothing is enough. But that’s not obviously true because we use foundation, sunscreens, concealers, serums, and powders, but the effect is always natural and casual.
Is looking young a top priority to Korean and French women?
Meegyeong: Looking younger is extremely important in Korean culture and especially among Korean women. Beyond giving you personal satisfaction, looking younger is a huge advantage that helps you move up in society.
Katalin: For us, aging is not so much a problem. It’s more about aging well. We don’t want to look young, we want to look good, which is fundamentally different. We think we look good if we are slim and are very casual with our hair and look.
What are the biggest aging issues Korean and French women are concerned about?
Meegyeong: It’s more important to not do harm than to hope that something expensive will solve your problems. Things like drinking or eating too much, smoking, excessive sun exposure or meat consumption, and being too stressed are all things that cause your body to lose balance. It’s important to help your body return to its healthy state as soon as possible by staying away from those harmful things.
Katalin: We are not concerned about aging in France. The most important thing for French women is to look good and not necessarily to look young. This means letting the sun give you some freckles, because we think that can be cute and it can be a part of your personality. We don’t really like wrinkles but we don’t really hide them either. French women are concerned with keeping their shape and their femininity because the main idea is to be feminine. You also need to have a personality. French people really like when you have a personality.
How do they address signs of aging?
Meegyeong: I think meditating, getting therapy, and reading are great ways to take care of your mental health. For your physical health, things like yoga, Pilates, hiking, walking, trekking, playing golf, and other forms of exercise are useful, as well as eating a lot of organic, seasonal fruits and vegetables. But the most important is communicating with your family, having good relationships with them, and supporting each other. It helps you be at peace.
Katalin: We go to spas. We have good relationships with facials and pampering. We have really promoted the spa and wellbeing industry and it’s really thriving and it’s something that women do. They go for anti aging facial, and sometimes they spend an entire week at a spa.
What do Korean and French women think about Botox?
Meegyeong: Botox is becoming more and more popular. The effect isn’t permanent, and personally, I don’t think there are major side effects to really worry about. Many Korean women get Botox every six months, so about twice a year. I found out recently that you can get it more frequently with a lower dosage. Botox prevents and reduces fine lines but it also seems to help with anti-aging in general.
Katalin: Many French women use a little bit of Botox. You just have to put the right dose and never too much. You want to keep your expression and your personality. Women do some Botox but always in very low doses because we really think personality is the main thing, and you have to be expressive to have a good personality. So you don’t want to have the “perfect face” without being able to express your emotions. The key words in French when it comes to aging is “simple” and “personality.” It’s never “perfection.”
Are there any unique things that are part of the French and Korean aging approach?
Meegyeong: Besides Botox, there are fillers you can get to flatten out smile lines or the lines between your brows. You can also use fillers for a non-surgical, temporary nose job. There are cosmetic lasers that firm your skin like Fraxel and hyaluronic acid treatments that brighten skin and boost hydration. There are different ways to do facial massages as well.
Katalin: French women love to eat really healthy things. We don’t have to be told, ‘You need to eat healthy things.’ A French woman always eats salad and greens and we grow up eating greens. We always eat greens, and they’re extremely good for the skin and provide really good antioxidants.
What’s the most important anti-aging product to Korean and French women?
Meegyeong: It’s hard to pick one thing. There are so many things that are important, like night creams, products that contain plant oils or ceramides, sunscreen, hydrating creams and moisturizers in general, or products with hyaluronic acid. Sheet masks with ingredients like aloe, green tea, like the Manefit Natural Gift Green Tea Pore Care Sheet Mask, and charcoal, like the Goodal Black Charcoal Mask Sparkling Clear, also seem popular.
Katalin: The number one product is cream. We are champions in cream consumption. We use day creams, night creams, and we love to change them. The cream is always number one product when a brand launches a product. French women love how they provide multiple uses. They bring in moisture, but will also bring in comfort and protect. It’s a simple solution to many issues.
What’s the best compliment you can get about your looks?
Meegyeong: When I was younger, I thought the biggest compliment was I’m beautiful or that my skin is flawless. Now that I hit my 50s, the best compliment is that I look younger than my age.
Katalin: The best compliment we can have in France is, ‘Oh, you really don’t look 50!’ But it’s not because your skin looks perfect, it’s because you’re dynamic and you dress well. We don’t focus too much on details; we have a more holistic approach to beauty and skin.
What can the world learn from Korean and French women’s approach to anti-aging?
Meegyeong: Be invested in the concept of anti-aging and believe that taking care of your skin to stay youthful throughout life is important. The next thing would be to seek out and understand the correct information out there about skin care and get in the habit of putting your research into practice every single day.
Katalin: Women can learn to have a no-stress approach to anti-aging. Aging is not an issue. The issue is to be well for your age. You have to be better for your age. You have to be dynamic for your age, and you have to be well moisturized for your age. You have to be the best of what you can be, but with always keeping your personality.
+ What do you think about the French aging approach and Korean aging approach? Sound off in the comments!