K-BEAUTY 101: The Main Differences Between Korean and Western Cosmetics.



The fundamental differences between Korean and Western cosmetics are many, but can be reduced to two main categories: philosophy and method. Ironically, the same ones that have animated the scientific debate since the dawn of mankind 🙂 Let’s analyze them together for K-Beauty 101, a new column of miloon.eu dedicated to spreading the basics of Korean cosmetics, deepening principles, methods and practices.

A different philosophical approach.

The substantial difference between Korean and Western cosmetics lies in the cultural model.

If we were to compare these two schools of thought, we could use two popular ways of saying.

“Prevention is better than cure” against “The End Justifies the Means”.

Prevention is better than cure: the road to perfect skin.

Korean Skincare is based on the cult of perfect skin, the true obsession of the Asian people. But in Korean tradition, healthy, radiant, compact skin is not obtained overnight. On the contrary, continuous attention and a lifestyle are needed to positively reinforce this moment.

Unlike Western cosmetics, Korean cosmetics are based on a series of coded steps. The Beauty Routine, that is a series of steps based on as many products to be repeated at least two readings a day. If followed methodically, this beauty routine will take the skin to a new very high level. The goal to achieve is the glass skin, shower a mirrored skin, a perfect skin, characterized by the “Glow”. “Glow” is the English term for the property of a surface to create the illusion of emanating its own light, and is synonymous with healthy, radiant skin with uniform totality and embodies the ultimate ideal to which every self-respecting beauty regime tends. Visit our section dedicated to Miloon’s Glow mask kit, a selection of masks for a dream skin.

We can summarize by saying that Korean cosmetics focuses on the individual, intervening on the regularity of his lifestyle and, with the goal of perfect skin in mind, explores the causes that led to the onset of six problems.


The End Justifies the Means: The Western Approach.

Unlike Korean cosmetics, which are ritualistic in nature, Western cosmetics have a more utilitarian dimension. In this order of things, the focus is on the effect and not the cause. Therefore, we tend to focus less on the rigor of a treatment and much more on its ability to generate visible results in the short term, often using shortcuts such as higher dosages or using temporary solutions, not investigating thoroughly the reason for the problem, breaking the harmony that exists between nature, treatment and the ‘individual himself. The comparison we love to use to describe this difference is with the diet. Often we need to be in shape for an event and to do so we often use only temporary solutions, with behaviors that are harmful to the body, such as cycles of forced fasting or giving in to the flattery of rapid remedies that are really unorthodox.

A very different cosmetic industry.


But that’s not all. The other big difference between Korean and Western skincare is the degree of market development in these two different regions of the world. Although Western cosmetics are based on a truly long-standing herbal tradition, the influence of pharmaceutical chemistry is very strong. As far as Korean cosmetics are concerned, on the other hand, research supported by medicine is very strong and the use of technology is instead used only to enhance its effects. Think for example of the use of fermented products to increase the power of the effects of Korean skincare products, or the extraction technique R Vita W by Frudia. This innovative process allows you to obtain low temperature nutrients to provide valuable antioxidants to the skin. Seed and fruit extracts are processed with extreme care, precisely to preserve the color and smell.

The degree of development.

But the different traditions they refer to are not the only difference between skincare. The market for Korean skin care products is much more prolific than the western one. Every month, the Korean skincare market launches between 20 and 30 new products, while Western skincare launches between 2 0 and 40… per year. When it comes to research Korea is the country to keep an eye on, being the country that has exported the most sought after (and natural) ingredients of the revolutionary products of recent years, some of which have become emblematic and popular perhaps also due to their intrinsic novelty, such as wasp poison or snail slime.

In conclusion, we can say that the main difference between Korean cosmetics and Western cosmetics lies in the different link between individual tradition and market. While the Korean model proposes a greater attention to the millenary process in which the individual and nature are linked, the western school appears more tied to a concept of technology aimed at hoping for the packaging of nature.