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Here Are The Differences Between American And Korean Makeup

American and Korean Makeup styles aren’t glaringly different – but there are preferences that set the two apart. In media, the latter is much more youth and skin oriented, while the former is all about that kontour (sorry). Obviously, there is plenty of overlap, and while no rules are set in stone, there are some trends that definitely lean towards one side more than the other. While I don’t play favorites, it’s always fun to compare, right?


Dewy reigns supreme in South Korea, with an emphasis on healthy, glowing skin. A smooth, luminous complexion is as must, and skincare is where it all begins. The ten-step Korean skincare routine keeps skin looking flawless, with or without foundation. BB creams or cushion makeup are favorites–with buildable coverage that leaves skin looking airbrushed to perfection.
skinkoreanImage: Stylenanda
Matte or dewy – what’s your preference? While the western world isn’t as obsessed with sheen (or are we?), that same goal of clear, radiant skin transcends borders.
Image credit: Mugeek, Elle


Koreans tend to keep things more simple. With a simple drag of puppy liner, and some shadow and highlight to accentuate (or create) aegyo sal, a typical eye look is bright, natural and youthful. Brows are usually on the straighter and fuller side–another key to looking more fresh.
Images:, Stylenanda
Western makeup is fond of the cat or smokey eye, and thick, lush lashes to make things more sultry. While brow shapes are varied, a thicker brow is often desired (so long, pencil thin brows of the ‘90s and early ‘00s). A high arch adds definition to the face, with angles especially flattering to a rounder face.


A fresh-faced glow is a popular Korean look, so blush is typically applied with a light hand. Placement is quite high on the cheekbones or highlighter instead of blush is used to accentuate a dewy glow. Pale colors, such as light pink, peach or even lavender are preferred.
Stateside, blush is traditionally applied on the apples. Bronzer or contour powder is a popular choice under the cheekbones in order to sculpt the face. Definition is key.
Images: Bellebeirut, Justjared


When it comes to lips, unlike Korea’s 10-step skin care regimen, less is more. The ever popular gradient lip (darker colour in the centre of the mouth, lighter colour on the edges) is often achieved simply by applying the colour into the middle of the lips and blending out. Otherwise, a simple swipe of colored lip balm will do.
lipsamericanImages: Stylenanda

If Instagram is the Bible, when it comes to lips, Kylie is king. Lips are overlined, accentuated, and contoured; and lately, matte shades have been a social media favourite. Glitter lips, as seen on Naomi Campbell at the VMAs, are also making a splash online.
lipsamerican (1)
Images: People

Which looks are your favorite?

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