Eastern Vs. Western Beauty: What’s The Difference?

Contributed by Rebekah & Elly

Image courtesy of mabelkwong.com

Beauty, Fashion

February 2, 2023



Beauty, Fashion

February 2, 2023



Contributed By

Rebekah & Elly


Over the years, the beauty industry has grown to become a major part of our lives as a way to boost our personal confidence and express our unique personalities. 


However, most beauty trends are influenced by a myriad of different factors such as culture, social dynamics, and more, therefore resulting in significant geographical differences in the way people approach beauty- particularly between the east and west.


Here is our breakdown of some key differences between the two sides of the globe, and how you can achieve the look you prefer.


1. Tanned Glow Vs. Porcelain Perfection

It’s no secret- most westerners love a good tan. A healthy tan is associated with having the means to head to an island in the sun somewhere when the weather at home gets cold, while the less fortunate have to stay back and weather the winter. 

Numerous celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Anniston, and Jessica Alba are famously fans of getting fake tans in order to achieve a healthy summer glow. Sun spots, or freckles, are also seen as a cute thing in the west, so it is not uncommon for people to even draw on fake freckles on their face to create an adorable, sunkissed look.  


Kim Kardahsian sporting a bronze glow in Cabo, courtesy of mirror.co


To achieve a shimmering, bronze glow, you may opt to try out a protective tanning oil like this one from Supergoop to ensure even coverage from the sun while keeping your skin smooth and moisturised. Plus, it’s part of Sephora’s Clean At Sephora series and comes in an adorable, sunshine yellow bottle! Alternatively, you may opt for a shortcut with an all-over bronzer, such as this one from Fenty Beauty that provides you with an enviable, Instagram-ready glow! 


On the other hand, in the east, bright, clear, and porcelain complexions have long been the preferred skin tone, due to the fact that they are associated with luxury and not having to perform manual labour under the sun. 


In Chinese, there’s a saying ‘一白遮三丑’ which, roughly translated, means that one fair trait can cover three ugly traits. This goes to show just how strong the emphasis of pale skin is in Eastern beauty standards. 


Furthermore, easterners place a lot of importance on anti-aging when it comes to beauty, and understand that tanning their skin under the sun is likely to produce wrinkles and sun spots in old age.

Taeyeon from GIRLS GENERATION showing off her famous pale complexion on stage, courtesy of koreaboo.com


To this day, most easterners place a great emphasis on sun protection, with plenty of different formulations of sun protection flooding the market.

Those with sensitive skin will love the  Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun with Rice and Probiotics SPF 50+, an organic option which is formulated with fermented rice and grain extracts that nourish and calm the skin. For the budget-conscious, the Purito Daily To-Go Sunscreen with SPF50+ is a great choice. For more of a (worth it) splurge, the Sisley Paris Super Stick Tinted Sun Care SPF50+ allows you to easily reapply throughout the day without disturbing your makeup.


2. Cat Eyes Vs. Doll Eyes
Another major difference between eastern and western beauty trends is the ideal eye shape. When applying their eye makeup, most westerners strive to lengthen their eye line in order to create a cat-like effect that creates an almost intimidating, “wow effect” sort of look. 

This is usually achieved by using a felt tip liquid eyeliner like this one from Stila to outline the top lid and flick the line at the end to create a bold ‘wing’, then softening the look with neutral eyeshadow to make it look more natural. Eyeshadow is blended in an outward motion, and false eyelashes (if any) are focused on the outward edge of the eye to intensify the cat-eye shape.

Selena Gomez looking sultry in a bold, 60’s-inspired cat eye, courtesy of whowhatwear.com


In the East, however, most people tend to prefer a round, ‘kawaii’, ‘doll eye’ look with double eyelids that has long been considered to look innocent, feminine, and alluring. Blepharoplasty, also known as double eyelid surgery, is one of the most common cosmetic procedures among eastern women, used to create the effect of a larger, more Western-looking eye.

If you’re not keen on going the surgical route, you can always ‘cheat’ a double eyelid with double eyelid tape, or brighten up your eyes with shimmery eyeshadow in light, pastel hues. Additionally, strategically placed individual lashes focused on the centre of your eye can help you craft a doll eye effect.

@vaenbeauty using the ‘Be My Valentine’ eyeshadow palette on pinterest.com


3. Chiselled Contour Vs. Youthful Blush
Overall face makeup is one of the most noticeable differences between eastern and western makeup. Generally, westerners strive to achieve a fierce, bold look with high, protruding, and heavily contoured cheekbones often complemented by arched brows and a full, matte lip.

To create a western-style base, use a full-coverage, matte foundation with a long-wearing primer to ensure your makeup lasts throughout the day. You can achieve a chiselled look with a contouring kit like this one from Kevyn Aucoin, using the darker contouring shade in the natural hollows of your cheeks and the lighter shades to highlight the high points of your face. Pop some blush on your cheeks and throw on a lip cream like this one from Rare Beauty to tie it all together!

@kyliejenner in after her contouring tutorial, courtesy of popsugar.com


In contrast, women from the east are more partial to a natural, youthful overall makeup look. Important elements of this are of course, a light, ‘glass skin’ complexion with a rosy flush on the lips and cheeks and a fluffy, full brow that isn’t too arched. 

A great hack for this is using a lip tint like this one from Romand instead of lipstick, which helps achieve a more natural look. For glass skin, look for foundations, concealers, BB creams, or tinted moisturisers that are water-based for a dewier appearance, and gently draw on a natural-looking eyebrow with a brow pencil that matches your natural hair colour.

Beauty guru @ponymakeup showing off her collaboration with MAC Makeup, courtesy of fashionnetwork.com


They also like the ‘V-shaped’ face shape, which can be achieved using light contouring colours that are almost undetectable on the face, but make a huge difference on the overall result. Check out the video below from international makeup artist Pony for some inspiration!

courtesy of ponysmakeup


It’s truly amazing how you can achieve two polar opposite looks with just a few key products and different techniques! The next time you’re getting ready to head out, try out these different beauty styles for yourself and see how easily you can transform yourself.


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