The one thing I cannot stress enough of after living in Korea is the importance of beauty. I don't think many people understand how big of an issue beauty is in Korea. "In order" to be qualified for a job, many Koreans get plastic surgery and the most popular are the double eyelid and nose surgery. When applying for a job in Korea, a photo must be attached on the resume.
That is how much they stress the importance of beauty. So where does that leave the rest of the world? Many girls are always chasing the trend and always looking fashionable, wherever they go, no matter how cold it is outside. You can find girls in skirts, stockings, and heels on a cold winter snowy day. In addition to the dress code, makeup is a must. The concentrated area of makeup is the eyes and you can see that most Korean girls have eyelash extensions which is false individual lashes glued to your lash line to achieve a look of fuller and longer lashes. It definitely comes in handy when you are on a rush out of the door and saves on your daily makeup.
In addition to having eyelash extensions, circle lenses is a big hit in Korea. Circle lenses are contact lenses which is an upgrade from color lenses from when I was in high school. Circle lenses are used by many Asian girls in order to have bigger, cuter, dolly eyes. In Korea, there are many different color, designs, and sizes for such contact lenses. I cannot deny the fact that I've been living in Korea so long that I've been using them daily as well. Although it is not recommended to be worn for more than six hours because of the size of the contact, many girls in Korea do it anyway.
Makeup is also a big thing in Korea and there are hundreds of makeup stores in Korea. In fact, you can find two of the same store on one block. Makeup is that important in Korea! With so many choices and so many more stores that are still popping up, the makeup industry is continuing to grow. Cosmetics and beauty is not only important to women, but men in Korea as well.
In fact, men sometimes spend more time getting ready than women. That explains their clear skin and why they are so fashionable here as well. Looking cute and fresh at all times is extremely important to Koreans. For this very reason, you will find mirrors everywhere in Korea. Train stations, elevators, hallways, and you will always find someone looking at themselves in the mirror. Guys usually fix their hair or check their outfit and girls are usually making sure their makeup is on point. When I say on point, I mean they will pull out a mirror in a coffee shop, restaurant, and on the train. It is not always a small pocket-sized mirror either.
You will find girls with mirrors that they would use in the house. There is no shame in using a mirror that big or fixing your makeup in public. The culture does worry me from time to time, not knowing how it would change me and my adaptation for when I move back to the States. I know for sure since I have been here, there has been small changes that I have made to my daily makeup routine. My family has noticed the difference and labeled me as being "more Korean." There is no harm in that, but being aware and knowing how far it goes is extremely important for anyone living in Korea!
Graduating with a double major in Communications and Chinese from Rutgers University, it wasn’t long after working in the Big Apple that Cindy Ung decided to take a break from the cliché 9-5 lifestyle and move to Korea to teach English for CDI. Making the bold step to leave her comfortable, mapped out life in the States, she has fallen more in love with the Korean culture as each day passes. With weekly mountain hikes, weekend road trips, discovering great foods and beauty products, constantly meeting new people, her life in Korea has been everything but mapped out.
Check out Cindy’s blog to get a glimpse of what Korea has to offer!