Today, the Korean beauty industry is at the forefront of the most advanced skincare technology. It is believed that the South Korean skincare industry is 10 to 12 years ahead of the rest of the world! It therefore comes as no surprise that the beauty industry has a long history in South Korea – dating back to ancient times!
The birth of Korean skincare: The 3 Kingdoms Period (57 BC to 668 AD)
In ancient times, it was believed that your appearance affected your inner health, which meant that both men and women cared a lot about their appearance. The beauty culture was very strong, and South Koreans highly regarded self-care and grooming routines. This led to them implementing beauty rituals, including makeup and skincare. No matter your status or wealth, everyone participated within the beauty culture.
Goryeo Dynasty (668 – 935)
Cleansing soaps made from mung beans and facial oils became very popular. They used apricot and peach oil for brightening the skin. Makeup was still very popular.
Joseon Dynasty (1392 – 1897)
During this time, South Korea had their own versions of Japanese geishas, called Kisaengs. They set the beauty standards at the time, and many aimed to achieve their beauty. The Kisaengs had the most radiant skin which required a high quality skincare regimen. Skincare gained even more popularity, as radiant skin became the beauty standard. Blemish-free skin was seen as a sign of good health, further promoting the need to take care of one’s skin. They were also influenced by Confucianism; a belief that women are at their most beautiful when they look natural and modest. Unsurprisingly, heavy makeup declined in popularity and more emphasis was placed on skincare to achieve healthy looking skin.
The skincare routine included a facial cleanser, toner, facial oil, and face cream. Toners were made from cucumber, motherwort, and gourds. The face creams were typically made from beeswax.
The Industrial Revolution brought the mass production of consumer goods, thus homemade skincare declined in popularity. In 1961, South Korea banned the sale of foreign goods. This forced South Korea to develop their own unique skincare products, which (lucky for us) meant that the beauty industry in South Korea skyrocketed.
Today, South Korea is at the forefront of skincare technology. Women in South Korea spend more money on skincare than any women around the world. South Korea has become the worldwide hub for the latest skincare technology, research, and development.