The Korean beauty industry and the people of color

Are you a fan of Korean pop?Soko glam What about its beauty industry? Over the years the Korean beauty industry has taken the world by storm, initiating thousands into its cult by the day. Vibrant packaging, sleek names, and a daily beauty ritual (sorry routine) that makes you feel like you have some sort of special connection with those flawless beauties being plastered all over the net. Indeed South Korea is the beauty capital of the world!

KbeautyBeing introduced for the first time into this strange world at the age of 15, this was only five years ago. I couldn’t help but be captivated by how visceral the influence of this new culture could be on me, I barely understood what they were saying but somehow I got this larger than life feel from them. It was hypnotic.


However, it didn’t take long before the comparison game commenced. Their ideas became my ideals. their standards, my own. “They must be better than us,” I thought, why else would they have such influence. and so, without willing it, a Koreaboo was born.
I wanted to be like them, to look like them, to talk like them, and to act like them. And so as a result, I discovered Kbeauty. It was fun, engaging, everything so different from what I was accustomed to.


I had always been unsatisfied with the beauty trends in my country which was all too similar to that of the United States. The Koreans nevertheless, focused more on skincare, their makeup style was delicate, natural, and in their words “ulzzang”, they couldn’t have possibly spoken my language any better.


Being a curiosity junkie, I delved deeper into all the Korean people had to offer in terms of beauty, but along the way, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of dissatisfaction with what I was being offered.

black in Kbeauty?

I see it all the time, it’s all over YouTube. I see a lot of YouTubers, especially the African Americans shaming the industry for not catering for the darker population, and this includes fair-skinned people with a tan! I used to be one of these people, but not until I got over myself and obsessions to really see the big picture. to see and appreciate their culture and its people, and to use such knowledge as tools to better understanding who they are, their society and why they do what they do. Over the years I’ve always wondered what exactly made cultures so appealing to international audiences. and no, it was not just as a result of the exotic appeal they present. One of the factors, in my opinion, is pride and dignity.

I have noticed that you can sell almost anything to anybody if you are confident about what you’re offering, there is this hypnotic effect such aura has on human beings, it makes us wonder if actually what you’re selling could be true. And with curiosity always comes a fall

Sonia adeka

Korean cosmetics for dark people So no, there may never be room for darker people in the Korean beauty industry, why?
Well, Kbeauty; ‘Korean beauty’ was not meant to accommodate the needs of any race other than that of the Koreans’, you won’t find a darker shade or multicultural or multiracial products because as a homogeneous state, everyone is traditionally paler and pretty much looks the same.


Kbeauty, as well as Hallyu, celebrates and promotes Korean society. It is a reflection of who they are as people. So no, unless you possess similar features as them, you will never truly find a place.But guess what? you don’t have to fit in. One of the seductive attributes of the South Koreans is their ability to embrace their heritage, to embrace who they are. Remember, just a couple years back, way before the Gangnam style explosion or even after, no one in the west or around the world would have ever dreamed of the Korean trend being a thing.

what about the Korean cultural appropriation of black people?

This has always been a touchy subject for black people in relation to the Korean pop industry.
In my opinion, as an African, I am not bothered by it. I feel this is a positive step towards globalism. No culture in the past has ever progressed solely on its own, from language to customs, economy, and religion. This is a step towards the desegregation of people all over the globe. You can still be a proud son or daughter of wherever you are from and yet be adopting the temperaments and characteristics of other communities. It doesn’t make you any less of you than the other For this same reason, I think it’s cute when a white person or someone not of an African descent wears the native Ankara or tries to learn the local dialect

Studies has shown that very rarely is anything in its natural form absolutely pure. This too goes for the modern-day human being, very rarely do you find a person of a pure race.

Sonia Adeka

How to navigate south Korea’s beauty industry as a person of color

Foundation cosmeticNow while there may hardly be much makeup products produced in Korea to cater to the needs of people from our community. this, however, does not mean that you are absolutely excluded from enjoying a host of other products available in the market. Besides in terms of makeup, there are tons of other brands out there with wide enough product ranges to accommodate everyone’s needs.

just know that being a darker person, you won’t be finding any foundation, concealer, BB creams and setting powders for your skin tone. however, for lipstick, eyeliner, makeup tools, mascara and the likes which have little to do with your skin tone, they’ve got you covered.Innisfree cosmetic products also, if you keep natural curly\coily hair, it is almost impossible to get anything for that too.

nevertheless, the Korean beauty industry provides a wide host of skincare products that are arguably one of the best in the planet.


just kidding 😝. Korean skincare products are actually quite affordable, a lot of the times you could get quality products from established brands for a way cheaper price than you would have paid for the same purpose cosmetics in comparison to some of the western or local brands. the only thing is knowing where to shop for those products and which brands to pay attention to.
the most popular pit stop in the west for Korean cosmetics is Soko Glam. Soko Glam is an awesome place to shop for authentic products as there are a lot of fakes floating around the internet. however Soko Glam may not be for everyone, it is quite pricy and not everyone from where I’m from considering the exchange rate of our money against the dollar can afford to shop there. I’m pretty sure it’s the same too, although to some varying degrees for people in the west or around the world.


I went snooping around and I found great places at which I could get the same products for almost half the retail price of the west. but I wouldn’t be sharing that today, I have to create suspense. it’s a blogging thingSince every Saturday is our beauty day, I will share with you where you could shop for cosmetic products, the best products on that site and a critique of them.
So till next time, stay beautiful!

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Here are some of my selects

Cosrx low PH gel cleanser $9.77

Innisfree green tea seed cream $18.88

Son & Park beauty water 340ml $31.92

Klavuu nourishing care lip sleeping pack 20g, 0.70oz $13.50

5 Replies to “The Korean beauty industry and the people of color”

  1. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this site. I’m hoping to see the same high-grade content from you later on as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own, personal site now 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw, this was a very nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances seem to get something done.


  3. Hi, so after reading, I did some research and itsnot just black people that they don’t cater too, there are also darker skinned Koreans. They are just not pale. Also i think it’s regressive to say that when it comes to to the appropriation of black culture your response is “the world is a melting pot” Black people have been criticized and stereotyped for their skin. But when it comes to to these same people appropriating black culture all of a sudden it “a step in globalization”
    Besides that there are koreans who are dark people like Han Hyun Min, Insooni, Yoon Mi-Rae, etc. they don’t necessarily have to make black people type of makeup but it sends a very loud message that “dark” is not acceptable.
    Fact that when black culture is on black peoples it’s “ghetto or not so good” but on white people or Koreans its “wow, high fashion, melting pot.” You see the problem?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I see your point👌 thank you for taking the time to share your opinion on this platform, I really appreciate it. This is how people learn and broaden their perspective view of life and society in general.


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