Face in Korean Space

The term ‘face’ and the face itself play a vital role in Korean Culture and in Language Behavior. Koreans believe that everything concerning one’s birth, degree of education, sophistication and fate is related to face  There are many Korean expressions using word ‘face’ , for instance : ‘My face is wrinkled’ means I am ashamed, ‘his face is wide’ means he has many influential friends or ‘one has no face to see’ means he/she is very sorry for what has happened. 
Not only that, face-reading is also one of the most frequently practiced as fortune-telling devices. Face-readers are hired by some of the Korea’s leading businesses to help them select from among job-applicantss. Face-readers can present during job interviews of college graduates in some of the nation’s leading companies (Kun-Ok Kim, Chung-Ang University, 1993).

Having read this article, I can now understand how important the appearance to Korean people. Since culturally, face is an important body part, it is no surprise how someone tried hard to look at their best. If there’s a possibility my prospective employer hiring a face-reader, of course I would like to have my face looks perfect! No wonder you would see girls touch up their make up at anywhere even in the bus. Or today we can also easily find range of Korean face products for men. No surprise if you walk streets of Seoul finding high school boys with obvious BB cream on his face (as it colour differ from the neck!). 

information from one of plastic surgery hospital

However we can’t separate between good appearance and beauty. Which in Korea the standard is even higher than it used to be. When I type on google ‘eyelid korea’, there are 536,000 result with the first 2 pages pretty much of services to have such surgery in Seoul and South Korean girls obsession to it. The world is now wide open for Korean with their super fast internet and it is easy to have new standard of beauty. By nature, most Korean babies will not have double eyelid and it was never become a problem before. But now double eyelid could be one of the parameter of looking good. Today, double eyelid surgery is perhaps the most common cosmetic surgery in South Korea which cost around 1,5 million korean won. Gangnam district in Seoul would give us oh-so-plenty choices of plastic surgery clinics. 

typical ads for surgery found at subway stations

Still about the face, perhaps it also why Korean is the one who has ‘Face Shop’ rather than ‘Body Shop’ (beside this brand name is taken already). Face Shop is only one among hundreds of Korean cosmetic brands. Korean beauty companies are growing rapidly because Korean (particularly women) are voracious beauty consumers. But ever since the great BB cream takeover of 2012, all eyes have been on Korea’s beauty scene, from global world! BB cream could be one of Korea’s most successful export to U.S with Amore Pacific brand as the major player. This company is like the Estee Lauder of Asia, it owns multiple beauty brand from luxury to medium class market (fashionista.com). 

male model for brand ambassador of cosmetic products. very common sight in Korea.

Inside South Korea itself, every brand has its own niche. Even the elders would maintain its beauty, particularly face, by diligently apply various cream onto their face. I saw this every time I am with them at changing rooms or sauna. Korea cosmetics is just so many so there should be something for someone. 

If you are intrigued to try too but not sure which one, you can start your own research on each products. Most Korean cosmetic brands is available in Geoje. From the premium such as Sulwhasoo to Etude, which loved most by young adults and girls. Still confuse? As a start, the instant face mask which come with wide range of selections suitable for various skin can be found from every brand in many different shops. If you are lucky, you can have each pack as low as 500 won only! Who knows it could give a Korean sensation to your face. Acayberry, Aloe Vera, Honey, Lemon, Avocado even Paprika mask is out there. Dare not? 

k-pop artist selfie with face masks. 


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