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NOW READING K-Beauty Envy Has Everyone Shook Because — Surprise! — It’s Here to Stay
April 23, 2018

K-Beauty Envy Has Everyone Shook Because — Surprise! — It’s Here to Stay

Get over the whole “X is the new K-beauty.” Why? Because Korean beauty’s gone mainstream. It’s no longer a fad, a gimmick, or a cutesy trend. K-beauty has changed the way we will forever approach skincare by setting the standard waaaay up here. So stop with the K-beauty envy and the “other’ing.”


I don’t know what has gotten into the beauty industry, but it seems to me like everyone is absolutely SHOOK over K-beauty.


And by shook, I mean envious. Every single week, for the past month or so, I’ve gotten emails from one of the websites I subscribe to with one of these headlines:


“Move over K-beauty, x, y, z is here.”


“Why _____ is the new K-Beauty”






And in these articles, people talk about how K-beauty is SO rigorous and complicated and cutesy and not for the busy working woman and all of these other absolutely ridiculous opinions.


Can we not?


k-beauty envy


For every person that tries to discredit K-beauty’s influence on the beauty world, there are 10 more people trying to jump on the bandwagon. Bath and Body works sells sheet masks now (along with every other company ever). Neutrogena has double cleansing offerings. Olay is playing with texture and offering up whipped foaming cleansers. Pixi did a collaboration with Caroline Hirons called the “Double Cleanse” — a phrase Hirons says she came up with herself, but … we know the deal. You can even go in your local drugstore and find snail essence and oil cleansers. It’s undeniable that K-beauty has entered the mainstream and is here to stay.


Sure, some K-beauty products are collaborations with the Sanrio character Gudetama and some products are shaped like wine bottles and popsicles. But why isn’t the same type of energy given to certain mask companies who make ridiculous glittery masks with Sonic the Hedgehog and My Little Pony? There’s an entire market for unicorn-inspired makeup, but a cutesy lip balm is too much? Why the shade towards K-beauty?




I think there’s still this sense of “otherness” when it comes to K-beauty. People look at K-beauty and all they see is the exterior — the sheet masks, the fun, cool products, the K-pop glam, and the romantic K-dramas. But what they don’t see are the superior formulas and meticulous focus on ingredients. They don’t take into account that the Korean beauty industry is light years ahead of everyone else technology-wise. And they don’t think about how there are brands that are simple and geared towards a fuss-free routine.


K-beauty definitely isn’t all about elaborate 10 steps and slathering on a bajillion products to achieve “glass skin.” The amazing thing about Korean beauty is that you can make it and customize it to whatever you want. You can have 10 steps, or you can have only three, but you know that you’re using products that typically have better ingredients and better formulations than Western products. And that’s just facts.


Instead of trying to discredit K-beauty, I’d love to see more articles on smaller, indie brands. I’d love to see the mainstream media focus on the effectiveness of the products instead of so much attention on all of the “weird and wacky” K-beauty products. I’d love to see more focus on real people who use K-beauty in all different ways: two steps, 12 steps, and everything in between.


K-beauty is here to stay. There’s no competition. Let’s all just be friends and slay our skin together, OK?


Have you noticed the K-beauty envy in the Western beauty industry and the mainstream influence of Korean beauty? What K-beauty-inspired products have you seen on the shelves? Let us know in the comments!



Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.



I think this becomes especially problematic when the media pits jbeauty vs kbeauty. There is a definite othering happening, as if the white world can only handle one token Asian at the table. I really dislike the way this hurts both beauty lovers and people just trying to live their lives. Instead of trying to push kbeauty off the pedestal it's on, why not invite everyone else to step up their game?

I cannot tell you how many of the "this is the new K Beauty" articles I'm seeing around and it drives me up the wall. I understand that it's really just a bunch of marketing tactics to drive traffic to websites or read about new brands that have paid for advertisement, but it really does end up sounding so disrespectful. Korean beauty definitely has reputation for being this massive, extensive process and it can be if you want, but like the article stated it's not about excessiveness, it's about customization and making something fit your needs. I've been looking in... Read more

AAAAAAMMMMMEEEEEENNNNN!!! It's like everyone has nothing to write and just jumps on whatever bandwagon the other outlets are covering. And doesn't it smack a bit of the old, ooo, this Asian is good but that Asian is bad? OVER IT!

It feeds in to so much exotification and model minority crap as a whole but even on just a more surface level, it's lazy writing. If you want to mention K Beauty that badly to get your SEO up on an article, at least try to not go for the lowest hanging fruit possible.