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Move over, contouring. There’s a new boss in beauty-town.
There’s no doubt that the Asian brand of beauty has been growing in popularity more and more in the past few years. If you’re updated in all things beauty, you’ve probably heard of the term ‘glass skin’, ‘gradient lips’, and ‘drunk makeup look.’ Snail essence on your face serum? Oh yes. How about pig collagen? Sounds a little bit icky, we know, but this particular ingredient has been gaining a following, too!
While Western beauty standards still have a strong following with its immaculate contours and blinding highlighters (Thanks, Kardashians!), Asian beauty is tailing quite close behind it, if not even gaining more popularity than it. Just how many beauty vloggers have dedicated channels to teaching mere mortal like us how to pull off the ‘Korean heroine’ natural makeup look? And with the rise of Asian beauty gurus like Michelle Phan and Pony who perfectly marry the Western’s love for on-point looks with their Asian aesthetics, it doesn’t come as surprising anymore that Asian-based beauty concepts have blown up recently.
The Asian-ification of the beauty world
Asian-ification is a term coined to refer to the continent’s increasing influence on the innovation of beauty. At this point, this concept has gone to more than just being a trend, it’s now a culture! In fact, there are numbers to support it. The NDP Group has estimated that brands from the east are now worth $44 billion and Euromonitor International predicts that 80 percent of 2019’s global skincare revenue gain will come from Asia!
True enough, Asia is continuing to be a really major growth factor in the beauty industry, especially in skincare. But how did this happen? According to professionals, the media, social media influencers, and even the ease of international shipping are all forces behind this. Mix this with the Western world’s growing open-mindedness to celebrating different types of beauty and talent both in culture and entertainment–Crazy Rich Asians, anyone?–and you have a superstar.
In the media, for example, more and more attention is being called towards recognizing beauty of different colors, supported by the growing popularity of Korean dramas and the Hallyu wave aka the Korean fever. K-pop groups are now dominating even the Western music industry, and their perfect aesthetics (poreless and glowing skin + natural, barely-there makeup) has made the rest of the world want to emulate them.
There is also a shift in the way we view beauty, too. From getting the latest makeup products, all eyes are now on the importance of skincare–a beauty perspective that is more holistic than simply knowing how to properly make a cut crease with your eyeshadow because you actually have to take care of your skin. There’s the 10-step Korean skincare regimen that has been making the rounds for quite a long time now, and then there’s also the much simpler Japanese-inspired use of all natural products on the skin.
Asian beauty influence is not exclusive to Korea and Japan, too. More and more leading beauty brands are signing influencers from Asian countries to represent them. There’s hijab-wearing Malaysian beauty Neelofa who was signed by Lancome last year and Taiwanese model I-Hua Wu who was tapped by Maybelline to be its global face. More and more brands are reaching out to Asian personalities to sell their products, and the world is now more than willing to listen!
Moreover, Asian countries have also built a reputation for being masters in skincare. Japan has always been known for creating quality products and Korea has now become a trendsetter of the latest skincare finds. Add to that their ingenious way of marketing their merch and these countries have become driving forces of the beauty industry.
It’s not just about looking good, it’s about the experience!
But what makes Asian beauty trends so different from Western ones? It’s really hard to pinpoint a single reason, but one factor is how immersive they are. Unlike Western beauty which focuses on how to cover your face with makeup, Asian beauty is all about enhancing it. It’s why skincare is so very important to Asians–because if you have perfect skin, you won’t need all the layers of makeup anymore!
The way they are made and applied also plays with curiosity. Korea, in particular, is a genius when it comes to constantly innovating its beauty products. Love paper sheet masks? Bah, boring! There are rubber masks now that promise better absorption and bubble masks that legit fizz and bubble on your face but give you a poreless complexion! Even if you aren’t a fan of Asian beauty yet, you’ll definitely be curious about these products that play with texture and style.
So much is the world’s obsession of Asian beauty that we even look back now at techniques that these countries have pioneered before. Lately, there was a blow up on the trend of using jade rollers which are said to have been used in Chinese beauty rituals for centuries. The Japanese traditional concept of “kitchen cosmetics”–where you use materials you can find in your kitchen–is also gaining popularity, too.
Smart beauty for smart consumers
Korea and Japan have branded itself to be world leaders in creating the best skincare and makeup lines. They are known to use innovation and technology in research and product development to make sure that they only provide the best to their customers. Asian consumers, in particular, are known to be really meticulous with everything they use and brands have matched them with top-notch processes that made their products known for their quality.
Obviously, as a beauty nerd, we don’t want to settle on a fleeting trend when it comes to taking care of ourselves. This is why Asian beauty has become so popular. It’s not just about the products, it’s also about wanting to innovate ourselves as smart consumers who know how to take care of ourselves.
True enough, Asia is now a mega-power in the global beauty industry. Even if you don’t consider yourself a fan of it yet, surely you have come across something they have pioneered–like BB Creams, peel-off lip tints–and enjoyed it.
In conclusion: if you want to be front and center on the latest beauty trends, you better train your eyes on Asia, lady.