Korean vs Japanese vs Western Beauty

    Korean vs. Japanese vs. Western beauty products: Which is better?

    When it comes to beauty products, three main regions dominate the market: Korea, Japan, and the West. Each region has their unique style of beauty, and it can be hard to decide which is the best. So, which one is better? In this blog post, we will compare Korean vs. Japanese vs Western beauty products and see who comes out on top!

    The difference between Korean, Japanese, and Western beauty products

    Generally speaking, the ingredients are the main difference between Korean, Japanese, and Western beauty products.

    Korean beauty products often contain natural ingredients like ginseng and green tea. For instance, the Korean skincare brand Sulwhasoo’s best-selling product, the First Care Activating Serum, contains ginseng, while Japanese skincare tends to focus on science and technology. An example is the Japanese skincare product SK-II’s Facial Treatment Essence, which includes over 90% PITERA™, a natural ingredient that has miraculous effects. On the other hand, Western beauty products tend to use more intense chemicals made in the laboratories, providing a more instant and targeted result for the skin.

    Another difference between the three is the packaging. Korean beauty products often come in cute and girly packaging, while Japanese beauty products tend to be more sleek and elegant. Western beauty products, however, are all over the place when it comes to packaging.

    Besides, the application process of beauty products is also quite different between Korea, Japan, and the West. For example, Korean women often use several steps in their skincare routine, while Japanese skin care secrets focus on using fewer products with multiple purposes. On the other hand, Westerners are more likely to have a more straightforward skincare routine.

    Korean Beauty Makeup | Carsha

    How to choose the best type of beauty product for you?

    Now that you know the main differences between Korean, Japanese skincare, and Western beauty products, it’s time to decide which is the best for you. 

    If you’re looking for natural ingredients such as herbal extracts, Korean beauty products are the way to go. This is because most Korean beauty products are known to be gentle and practical at the same time. In addition, Korean beauty brands often aim more to nourish your skin by penetrating nutrients deep into your skin, creating stabilised glowy skin in the long run. Also, Korean beauty brands are more suitable for those with sensitive skin since natural ingredients are less likely to irritate.

    On the other hand, if you prefer products that give you visible results fast, then Western beauty products are more likely to meet your needs. Western beauty brands usually focus a lot on laboratory tests so that customers can clearly understand the effects of the product with supporting data. In addition, Western beauty products often come in various formulations to target different skin concerns such as acne, wrinkles, or uneven skin tone. Therefore, if you have a specific skin problem that you want to solve, Western beauty products are probably your best bet.

    Western Beauty Skincare | Carsha

    Indeed, people with problematic skin usually prefer Western beauty products since they are more targeted and intense. The Microdelivery Peel by Philosophy is a good example; it is an at-home peel that uses glycolic and lactic acids to exfoliate the skin. On the other hand, while treating the same problematic skin, Korean beauty products for oily skin like Donginbi Red Ginseng Soft Peeling Gel are less intense as they use natural ingredients like red ginseng extract.

    As for Japanese beauty products, they are somewhere in the middle. If you can’t decide whether you want natural ingredients or more science-based products, or if you're going to try something new, then Japanese skincare might be the right choice for you. The minimalist approach of Japanese beauty brands often creates unique products that you can’t find elsewhere. For example, the Meishoku Placenta Whitening Eye Cream contains placenta extract to brighten the skin around your eyes.

    The benefits of using Korean, Japanese, or Western beauty products

    Their benefits are pretty similar and depend more on the exact item you choose. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, so it depends on what you’re looking for in a beauty product. They can be equally good or bad; it all comes down to the ingredients and your skin type.

    For example, suppose you have dry skin. In that case, you can get similar moisturising effects for your skin no matter if you pick Power 10 Formula Q10 Cream Capsule One A Day by the Korean brand It's Skin, or the Bio-Performance Advance Super Revitalizing Cream by the Japanese skincare brand Shiseido, or the Super Multi-Corrective Cream by the Western beauty brand Kiehl's. 


    In terms of their pricing, Korean beauty products are usually more affordable than Western beauty products, while Japanese skincare is somewhere in the middle. Thus, if you are tight on budget, a benefit of using Korean beauty products may be saving some bucks for you.

    After all, as long as you pick the right product for your skin type and concerns, it doesn’t matter whether it is a Korean, Japanese, or Western beauty product. The important thing is that you are using a product that works for you.

    Japanese, Korean & Western Skincare | Carsha

    Do Korean, Japanese and Western beauty products have different skincare routines?

    Korean skincare products are usually famous for their step-by-step process, starting with the lightest product and ending with the heaviest one. This is because each product needs time to be fully absorbed by the skin to work most effectively. A Korean skincare step includes double cleansing, exfoliating, toning, using essence, sheet masking, and moisturising.

    On the other hand, the Japanese skincare routine is about simplifying the skincare routine and using fewer products. The idea is that less is more and that you should only use what you need. So, for example, a Japanese skincare routine might only include cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturising.

    As for Western beauty products, there is no set skincare routine. People tend to use fewer products than Koreans and Japanese, but there are no hard and fast rules. Also, Western beauty products usually target specific skin concerns, such as acne, wrinkles, or dark spots, so people typically have a few different products that they use for other purposes and implement them into their skincare routine as needed.

    How to incorporate Korean, Japanese, or Western beauty products into your daily routine?

    If you want to try out Korean skincare brands, an excellent place to start is with different types of sheet masks. Sheet masks are thin sheets of fabric soaked in nutrients and serums that you put on your face for 20-30 minutes. Korean skincare is well-known for its wide variety of sheet masks so that you can pick one depending on your skin concerns. For example, if you want to brighten your skin, try a sheet mask that contains vitamin C or niacinamide. This mask is not irritable and suits everyone; one example is Dr.Jart Cryo Rubber Mask With Brightening Vitamin C. It is a fun mask to try too!

    Dr Jart Cryo Rubber Mask With Brightening Vitamin C | Carsha

    If you want to try out Japanese beauty products, a good place is with cleansing oils. Cleansing oils are an essential part of your skincare routine if you wear makeup daily, so why not substitute the one you used with an effective Japanese cleansing oil? Don’t worry; cleansing oils will not make your skin oilier if you have oily skin. In fact, they can actually help regulate your skin's oil production. You may start with the Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi+ Pollutant & Dullness Clarifying Cleansing Oil; it is the most cost-effective cleansing oil among the brand and is well-known for its performance.

    Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi+ Pollutant & Dullness Clarifying Cleansing Oil | Carsha

    As for Western beauty products, an excellent place to start is with drugstore products. Drugstore products are cheaper than all Western beauty products and more accessible than high-end products.

    However, that doesn’t mean that they are less effective. In fact, many drugstore products are just as good, if not better, than high-end products. For example, the brand, La Roche Posay, has always been a favourite among dermatologists. One of their best-selling products is the Uvidea XL Tone-Up Light Cream in the Rosy shade; it is a great drugstore alternative to the more expensive BB and CC creams.

    Uvidea XL Tone-Up Light Cream in the Rosy shade | Carsha

    The cost of Korean, Japanese, and Western beauty products

    Korean beauty products are usually more affordable than Western beauty products, especially cosmetics. Korean cosmetics brands such as Clio and 3CE are inexpensive, but the shades and textures are just as good as the slightly expensive Western beauty brands, such as MAC and NARS.  Korean skincare brands like Mamonde and Innisfree are also unbelievably affordable to try out. However, there are also some high-end Korean beauty brands, such as Sulwhasoo and Whoo, that are in the same price range as high-end brands in Western beauty, such as La Mer and La Prairie

    There are also many affordable Japanese beauty products, such as skin care products by the Japanese skincare brand Sekkisei or Japanese cosmetics by the brand Canmake. However, Japanese skincare can sometimes be as expensive as Western beauty high-end brands, such as SK-II

    Western beauty products tend to be the most expensive, or I'd say for most of the time, the most luxury skincare is from the western beauty brands. On the other hand, very affordable Western beauty brands are sometimes made in China, like E.L.F. Cosmetics, making it not necessarily a Western beauty brand. Huda Beauty is also another inexpensive and best-selling brand in the Western beauty market, they are made in Dubai, though. 

    Which type of beauty product is most popular in the United States?

    Until today, Western beauty products are still the most popular beauty product in the United States. This is because Western beauty brands are way more accessible than Japanese skincare or Korean skincare brands. Big retailers like Sephora, Ulta, and Nordstrom have better pricing on Western beauty brands most of the time, whereas Supermarkets like Walmart and Target also sell Western beauty products, but they don’t really sell Korean skincare brands or Japanese skincare products.   

    That said, with more Asian culture being popularised in the mainstream media, such as K-Pop and J-Pop, there has been an increase in the popularity of Korean skincare and Japanese skincare in the United States as well. Therefore, if you search for “Korean skincare brands” or “Japanese skincare” on Google, you will see many results in English, meaning that there is a demand for information on these topics. And, because of social media, it is easier than ever to find out about new products and trends from Korea and Japan.

    On Sale Makeup USA | Carsha

    Final thoughts on Korean vs. Japanese vs Western beauty products

    So, which is better? Korean skincare, Japanese skincare, or Western beauty products? The answer is: it depends. It depends on your skin type, budget, and what kind of products you are looking for. However, all three types of beauty products have their advantages and disadvantages, and you don't actually have to choose just one. Instead, you can mix and match products from all three types to create a skincare routine that works best for you. I hope this article helped you understand the differences between Korean, Japanese, and Western beauty products. Thanks for reading!

    Back to blog