The Three Kingdoms & Korean Fashion

Throughout each of the Three Kingdom eras, women and elites were often informed of what beauty products were acceptable via the Gyuhap Chongseo. The Three Kingdoms included from oldest to recent: Silla, Goguryeo, and Baekje (BC 37~668). Much of the information and knowledge of skincare and beauty from the Silla era was carried onto the Goguryeo era where further advancements were implemented. The Gyuhap Chongseo detailed the proper ways to do one’s makeup.

The Goguryeo era was thought to be excessive by Joseon standards. During the Joseon dynasty, Confucianism dictated what was acceptable in terms of beauty with a focus on the inner self. Korean beauty often flowed from the lower-class to the elites as many elites mirrored the female entertainers, known as gisaeng. Korean Beauty accessories (typified by YesStyle) and containers were then invented and sold. Trade and imports from other countries, like Russia and China, then became more frequent.

This is evidence of South Koreans’ strong interest in physical attractiveness. South Korea has the world’s highest rate of cosmetic surgery per capita. It has become the destination for nip and tuck tourism. The tough standards in South Korea have created the “Escape the Corset” movement to cast off the country’s rigid beauty standards. This movement was created by a group of women that wanted to put a stop and challenging tone of the most beauty-obsessed capitals in the world, their long-accepted attitude towards plastic surgery and cosmetic. This movement was inspired by the #MeToo Movement. The Korean wave has led to unrealistic beauty standards among young people in South Korea. More advertisements on cosmetics and facial beauty products are found in South Korean fashion magazines than those in the United States.

The value that South Koreans have placed on physical attractiveness can influence a young person’s self-esteem and interpersonal and romantic relationships, for those who are not so up to the standards. Social aesthetical preference for women’s wearing makeup and having a small ‘heart-shaped’ face is strong. In South Korea, pressure for conformity against people that leave the mainstream path is relatively intense as compared to other advanced, democratized countries.

Dr. Jart is a South Korean skin care brand. It was created in 2004 by entrepreneur Lee Jin-wook, with consultation from dermatologist Dr. Jung Sung-jae. Their name is an abbreviation of “Doctor Joins Art”, which reflects their positioning philosophy as “a fusion of dermatological science and art”.

Dr. Jart+’s best-selling products include moisturizers from their Ceramidin and Cicapair lines, “rubber” face masks and BB creams.  The brand is noted as the first to introduce BB creams to the American market in 2011. Dr. Jart’s parent company, Have & Be, was acquired by Estée Lauder in 2019.

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