Being a makeup and skincare hoarder, er, beauty enthusiast, it always makes my heart flutter whenever I’m on a quest to find items that work well for me and look good on me. I don’t know how other people may look at it, but for me, exploring makeup and skincare items can also be somehow likened to reading a book and being able to travel in your mind. Whenever I read or research about a new Taiwanese-brand mask or a Japanese-brand toner, I feel like I’m transported to other countries too, beauty-wise, that is.
It is quite easy to fall into biases when it comes to skincare or makeup (Is your shelfie looking American? Korean? Intercontinental?), especially when you find certain brands or items that are well-suited for your needs or maybe even your budget. But if you’re a beauty newbie or simply overwhelmed by all of the quirky and long-named items in the beauty market, read on and find out how some Asian beauty markets are uniquely their own, or how they may be similar with each other.
What to expect: Cute and innovative packaging; a variation of face masks ranging from lace, hydrogel, slices of fruits/veggies, etc.; products to achieve glowy/chok-chok/glass skin; lightweight skincare items that can be layered on the skin.
Out of all the other beauty markets to be mentioned here, I’m probably most acquainted with Korean skincare and beauty. Korean beauty blew up immensely following the K-pop and K-drama waves that took over the country. The selling point of K-beauty is that their products are user-friendly and no-fuss.
Korean beauty is also known for its goal of achieving natural, healthy-looking skin, whether through makeup or skincare. Facial masks are also one of the many things that put K-beauty in the market. If you’re new in the beauty world and can’t be bothered with the famous 10-step skincare every single night, wear a face mask that promises to be your best friend and take care of all your trouble for you in under 20 minutes.
What to expect: Clean, sleek packaging; innovative products (powder face wash pods, anyone?); lightweight skincare items that pack a punch.
Japanese beauty is known for its innovations (think silicone facial mask cover so you can move around with your sheet mask on) and simplicity. Glowy and baby-soft skin is the goal in mind, similar to Korean products.
Japanese beauty brands also carry some of the best cleansers and skin lotions that suit even those with very sensitive skin. The products are also fruits of long-term research and labor as the Japanese believe in having items that are and will remain reliable even in the long run.
What to expect: Incorporation of local herbs to skincare; products catering to skin brightening; clean, sleek packaging.
Thai beauty is well-known not only for healing the skin but also for reawakening and detoxifying it. Thai products are effective skin brighteners, best for those who find themselves suffering from dark spots, pigmentations, and those with dull skin as well. More so, their skincare products make use of herbs that benefit and cleanse the skin.
What to expect: Lots of face masks each addressing a skin concern; skincare items mostly incorporating herbs and plants like bamboo; clean, sleek packaging.
Taiwanese beauty runs in a quite similar circle with Korean and Japanese. Taiwanese brands also carry some of the best facial masks on the market, most often with natural ingredients that heal the skin such as pearl, bamboo, and tea tree.
Their approach towards skincare is clean with a high consideration of climate and most importantly, skin condition and texture. Each product is well curated to suit a certain skin type to ensure efficacy.
Whichever beauty market you’ll be inclined to dip your toes into, it’s highly unlikely not to find anything that would suit your lifestyle or skin well. With the wide variety of approaches and products each market specializes in, it is but a matter of researching and reading about products, find which ones you’re willing to try out, and find those that your skin, and your wallet, will feel best with.