beauty . Makeup

The Difference Between Japanese And Korean Makeup

Similar, but different

When it comes to East Asian beauty looks, Korean and Japanese techniques have often been interchanged with one another. They have numerous similarities, that is true. Both bank on having soft and luminous skin through an in-depth skincare regime, as well as creating a natural, youthful makeup look. But there are subtle differences between the way Japanese women apply their makeup compared to that of Korean ladies. If you’re interested to know what they are, do read on.


To start off, we have the brows. Eyebrows shape the face, depending on how they're done. Both Korean and Japanese makeup styles want to create a youthful appearance, so the brows are especially important. While both Korean and Japanese women prefer a natural-looking brow, the shape and products used are what differentiate one from the other. Korean women prefer a perfectly straight brow shape while in Japan, women would fill in their brows by following the natural arch of their brows. They would also use brow powder to create soft, natural brows while Koreans would use apply brow gel in a lighter shade from their hair colour after filling them in.


Both Japanese and Korean makeup trends emphasise the innocent and wide-eyed looks but they achieve them in different ways. In K-beauty, eyeshadows are often applied in a gradient — shimmer on most of the eyelids with a darker shade towards the outer corner of the eye. They would also use a lighter shade with shimmer to further emphasise the bags underneath their eyes — the aegyosal — creating a doe-eyed look. In Japan, women would be more likely to use natural eyeshadow colours with a slight hint of shimmer to enhance their eye shape.


To further create youthful eye looks, both Japanese and Korean women use eyeliners to define the shape of their eyes. When it comes to eyeliner, Korean girls line their eyes by drawing downwards at the end, instead of winged out, in what is called “puppy eyeliner” style. Among Japanese women, eyeliner looks could either be a thin line following their upper lash line or a more fun subtle cat-eye.


Blush is often where people get confused between the two styles. The drunk, hangover blush is quite prevalent in Japanese beauty. However, they would often use a nude or cherry hue for their blush colour, which is then applied directly below the eyes in an inverted triangle shape. In Korea, women gravitate towards a peachy or pink-toned blush and apply it more conventionally on their cheekbones.


Finally, the lips. This is another instance where the two styles are noticeably different from one another. Japanese girls would opt for a glossy lip in a bold red or pink shade. Korean beauty trends have always been about the gradient and blurred lips; gradient lips are done by applying the lip colour on the centre of the lips and blending it outwards while blurred lips are created by gently smudging the edges of the applied lipstick. Korean lip colours are often done in oranges, muted reds, and pinks.

Here’s how you can perfect the drunk blush look, Igari style.