Just How Different Beauty Is In North & South Korea

Photo: Courtesy of Cut Video.
We're always looking to Korea for the latest and greatest when it comes to beauty. But, when was the last time you took a step back and examined exactly how beauty has evolved through the territory's fractious history? With their latest short film, Cut Video does just that — following the history of Korean beauty over the course of 100 years.

For the first 40 years documented in the video, beauty trends align, as the country hadn't yet divided. The focus was on glowing skin, bright lips, and demure hair. But, after the Korean War, things divide fairly rapidly and drastically. While South Korea clung fairly closely to Western trends, North Korea embraced military styles and barely-there makeup looks. The differences become more markedly apparent as the years go on. In the '90s, ladies of South Korea wore butterfly clips and teased ponytails. But, in North Korea, they stuck to a simple makeup palette and short, blunt bobs.

Unlike Cut's original video and its subsequent piece on Black beauty trends, this video shows the cultural divide of two countries with a shared history. It also shows just how much the government controls things we never think of — like they way women choose to style their hair and makeup. Because South Korean government allows access to Western media, our trends have influenced trends in that country, just as much as theirs have influenced ours. But, since North Korea's government is restrictive, their national beauty trends aren't heavily influenced by Western ideals. Can you guess which country also fell prey to teased hair and neon makeup in the '80s? 

While the beauty trends are interesting in themselves, the cross-cultural currents they represent are even more fascinating. Check out the video below, and let us know your thoughts about the history of Korean beauty. (Cut Video)
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Just How Different Beauty Is In North & South Korea
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