The Beginner’s Guide to Asian Cosmetics Part 1 : The Skincare Obsession



The Beginners Guide To Asian Cosmetics



Chances are that you’re reading this because you are an Asian Cosmetic Fan, or you have just discovered the beauty and pleasure of Asian Cosmetics and Skincare and wanting to learn more – but where to start?


Asian Cosmetics has always been around – particularly Japanese skincare and cosmetics. However, Korean, Chinese, Taiwanese Cosmetics and Skincare have been garnering lots of fans and attention all around the world – and the ‘Korean Pop Wave’ has also paved ways for Korean Cosmetics. Read about our comparison on Taiwanese, Korean & Japanese Skincare : here


In Part 1, I will be talking about Asian and their obsession with skincare and white skin. Asians are BIG on skincare products. In fact Asian countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan & China are one of the only few countries in the world in which skincare outsells make-up. Their constant obsession for white, flawless skin creates a huge market for companies to feed this obsession. And before you think that Asians are obsessed with White Skin because of their obsession with Caucasians or White People – think twice.



Asian skin whitening has a tradition that stretches back centuries. “The feminine ideal during the Han period for women of the court was almost unearthly white, white skin. Moon-like roundish faces, long black hair. You can see how a culture that maintained that as an early ideal might continue with an ideal that light skin equals beauty,” said Anne Rose Kitagawa, assistant curator of Japanese art at Harvard’s Sackler Museum.


Asia’s obsession with whiteness is also a reflection of economic status. “Those who had skin burnt by the sun were working in the fields, therefore, the whitening of the skin was a reflection of labor status,” said University of Houston historian Gerald Horne.


Historically, dark skin was associated with people who worked in the fields (also known as the poor). The upper class stayed indoors and in the shade. Asian countries look down on dark skin not because of racism but because they don’t want to be perceived as poor. Dark skin is poor, white skin is rich.



There’s even a creation story in Thailand. In the beginning god created man. At first, he cooked the people too much (dark skinned people). Then he cooked them too little (pasty westerners). Finally, he cooked them just right (light skinned Asians). ( Just for laughs )



Putting tradition and history aside, and talking in a scientific way, Asians are also more prone to pigmentation, due to excess melanin production. Melanin is a natural skin pigment that protects the skin from UV damage, therefore Asians are less prone to skin cancer.   Aging does not show up as wrinkles in Asians but rather as hyper pigmentation, dark spots, uneven skin tones, freckles, etc – therefore Asians take extra care when it comes to protecting their skin from pigmentation and start with ‘whitening/brightening’ products at a young age.



Just like how the Americans are obsessed with the physical body, the Asians worship the cult of the skin. Asia boasts the world’s largest skincare market per capita ( Japan being the lead ), and Asian women use and spend more money on skin care products than any other woman in the world. The average Asian women uses up to 7 skincare products a day ( cleansing oil –> cleansing foam –> toner –> essence/serum –> emulsion –> cream –> eye cream –> sun care product –> makeup base –> BB Cream / Foundation –> Loose Powder / Pact.



The perfect Asian skin is known as that ‘perfect milky glow’ which means flawless fair skin just like milk.





In Part 2, i will be discussing about brands that are unique only in Asian cosmetics….

0 responses to “The Beginner’s Guide to Asian Cosmetics Part 1 : The Skincare Obsession”

  1. I can put up with the whole toner/essence/cream/eye cream at night but I can’t slather all of that on my face before make up as I have very oily skin

  2. PLEASE. Be more vigilant in checking your facts to prevent posting misleading information to the public. People need to know the right information to protect themselves from developing diseases and cancers.

    “…Asians are also more prone to pigmentation, due to excess melanin production. Melanin is a natural skin pigment that protects the skin from UV damage, therefore Asians are less prone to skin cancer. Aging does not show up as wrinkles in Asians but rather as hyper pigmentation, dark spots, uneven skin tones, freckles…”

    This statement is completely FALSE. Asians ARE MORE PRONE to skin cancermelanoma!!!!!!!! This is because fair skinned individuals produce less melanin. In fact, darker skinned individuals produced way more melanin; therefore, darker skinned individuals = LESS risk for skin cancer. (They still, of course, can get skin cancer if they don’t protect themselves properly and effectively.)

    As you mentioned, melanin does cause hyper pigmentation, dark spots, etc. BUT melanin MAINLY FUNCTIONS TO PROTECT the skin cells from UV radiation damage. Melanin is produced by a process called – “melanogenesis.” It protects a subdermal layer of our skin from UVB light by appropriately absorbing and blocking any additional UVB from breaching deeper skin layerscells.

    As you may know, UV radiation absorbed by ANY living cells causes DNA damage. With DNA damage, cells can no longer undergo regular repair when needed. This will eventually lead to the cells trying to overcompensate for this and end up making TOO many cells, aka TUMOR.

    I guess this serves as a reminders readers of the blogsphere to take everything posted with a grain of salt…

  3. maybe you were comparing asians to like africans.. but i was comparing asians to caucasians.. so obviously caucasians would be fairer ? thank you for the insight.

  4. Perhaps you should clarify the comparison in the paragraph. Ethnicities aside, darker skin individuals are more protected than fairer skinned individuals.

  5. Being Caucasian has nothing to do with skin tone, but instead of bone structure. One can be a Caucasian and have fair to dark skin. Like some Asian have fair skin to very dark skin.

  6. Being African doesn’t mean Black. Africa like Asia or Europe is a continent of many ethnic groups. Not everyone in Asia looks Asian. The Asians in West, South, Central Asia are Caucasians. One in Central Asia either can look very Caucasian, Asian, or mixture of both.

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