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….