Can You Tell the Difference Between Japanese and Korean Makeup?

  • Makeup trends are raging lately in the beauty community. In Asia, some of the most popular makeup trends come from Japan and Korea, two countries close to each other. Although slightly similar, the Japanese and Koreans have very different makeup styles and approaches, and they continuously evolve. However, people often get confused differentiating the two and telling them apart. Among the many similarities and differences between them, here are some of the most noticeable ones that can help you determine which is which.

    Face Makeup

    Starting from face makeup, the Japanese and Koreans use the same type of products but in different ways.


    Both like to use BB creams to cover any skin discoloration. As we get older, our skins change due to various reasons. One of which is the sun and its harmful effects on our skin can lead to freckles and wrinkles. BB creams often provide a sunscreen protection, also known as SPF, in order to minimize skin damage from UV radiation.

    When it comes to the shade of the base makeup they use, Koreans lean towards a brighter skin color. In their makeup rules, a lighter-colored base is good to enhance the youthful skin; while the Japanese use a color that matches their skin tone for a more natural look.


    Concealer is needed to cover eye bags and darkness under the eyes as well as places that the base cannot cover, such as the pigmentation around the nose which women have because of their hormones. The Japanese and Koreans’ concealer usage is pretty much the same.


    Since both are aiming for a fresh look, blush is a must. It gives the face color and makes you look more awake. What differentiates the two is the amount of product that they use: Koreans use just a hint of blush so that their face will not look flat, whereas the Japanese use intense blush on their cheeks. Some Japanese people even like to apply it higher than their cheekbones and under the eyes, and usually, they drag it to the side of the nose.

    Eye Makeup

    In the past, Japanese girls were recognized to be doll-like by the way they do their makeup. They like to use contact lenses that are bigger than their eyes and use bold and dark eye makeup known as “Gyaru.” But these days, less Japanese girls are doing such makeup, making the comparison between the eye makeup of the two trends harder.


    The Japanese and Koreans like using light pastel colors like peach, light orange, lavender, and pink on the lids. The difference is that the Japanese apply pale, shimmery colors on the inner corners or tear duct areas, whereas Koreans likely use the shimmery colors on their lower lash lines.


    Koreans like doing small winged eyeliners, while the Japanese rarely does. Instead, they use an eyeliner on the upper water line to define their eye shape.


    Koreans love to draw their eyebrows thick and straight but using soft strokes to draw their eyebrows to prevent them from looking too dark and bold. Black eyebrow pencils are rarely used. Whereas the Japanese like to look more natural so they try to match their hair color and follow their own eyebrow shape. That way it will look more natural.


    The Japanese usually just follow their natural lip shape and use a lip gloss to have shiny and plum lips. On the other hand, Koreans like giving their lips an ombré effect to make them look thin and petite.

    Ultimately, the difference between Japanese and Korean makeup is the techniques they use on applying makeup. Hopefully, with this article, you will now find it easier to differentiate the two.