The strict standards to achieve a Korean appearance that’ll match up to societal expectations have always been the same. Generally, they go for a youthful and innocent image, which is also probably why all Koreans have identical looks or facial features.
Over the years, Korean women are pressured to uphold the strict Korean beauty standards for several reasons: to fit into society, to have a higher chance of getting a job, and even to avoid being bullied. In fact, South Korea has high beauty standards not just for women but for men also.
Korean men invest in beauty products for skincare and makeup. And some even go under surgeries to enhance their natural features.
To attain the ideal look, they try to resemble popular Korean idols and actors—the epitome of Korean beauty standards.
Some of them became beauty icons, just like ASTRO’s Cha Eunwoo, who charms fans all over the world with his perfectly flawless face.
Korean male beauty standards are pretty similar to female beauty standards. If you want to know more about these beauty features, let’s have a read!
Korean Male Beauty Standards
There are a number of beauty features to complete the ‘ideal man’ look. To discuss each feature, we’ve made a list of Korean male beauty standards that are still strictly followed up to this day:
- Pale and Flawless Skin
- Small Face
- Big Eyes
- Double Eyelids
- Well-defined Nose
- Plump Lips
- Styled Hair
- Height (180cm)
- Clean Look
- Androgynous Body
1. Pale and Flawless Skin
There is a historical root of Koreans’ pale and flawless skin obsession. Back in the past, it symbolized wealth and power as people with tanned skin are considered commoners since they work under the sun.
For many years, Koreans desired to have pale skin because it became one’s asset to ‘look beautiful’ in society. Thus, it also became one of the many beauty standards for men and women to this day. But to have flawless skin, one must have no visible blemishes, uneven skin tone, and skin damage.
So, to achieve pale and flawless skin, most Korean men invest in skincare and makeup products. In fact, Korean men are the world’s biggest male spenders on beauty products, while some even go for beauty treatments. They also lead healthy diet and lifestyle to maintain clear, smooth, and fair skin.
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2. Small Face
Since Koreans have small eyes, their face tends to look bigger. It is believed that having a big face or head makes the body look small. So, Korean men and women resort to different methods to achieve the perfect face proportion.
To make their face look smaller, they go for a sharp V-line and pointy chin. When taking pictures, they tilt their head until they find a good angle and use filters to enhance face proportions.
Another way to attain the illusion of a smaller face is through contouring. They use makeup to shade the outer lines of their face to make them look slender. Some even go through a surgical procedure where the jaw is shaved to give the appearance of a small face.
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3. Big Eyes
Having big and innocent-looking eyes is also important to fit into male beauty standards.
Although Koreans are born with small cute eyes, they still prefer big eyes paired with a small face as it serves an overall youthful look.
Bigger eyes are achieved through plastic surgeries or makeup tricks and techniques. Even Korean male idols wear eye makeup not only to match their theme or outfits but to make their eyes appear bigger, wider, and more awake as well.
4. Double Eyelids
Unfortunately, big eyes are not enough if they don’t come with double eyelids. Since Koreans have natural monolids, Korean men are willing to undergo a surgical procedure to enhance their eyes.
The ‘double eyelid surgery’ has become a sensation in South Korea and a much better choice than using tape, eyelid glue, or makeup to create double eyelids. It even became a great graduation gift for teenagers as it adds a lot to their youthful appearance.
5. Well-defined Nose
A well-defined nose is another crucial feature in male beauty standards as one with an ideal nose is seen as an attractive person.
A Korean man’s nose should be high-bridged and straight with a round pointy tip. It should also blend or fit with the other facial features so that it’s proportionate to the face.
Apart from using makeup, this beauty standard has pushed a lot of men to reshape their noses through surgeries like ‘rhinoplasty’—another popular type of plastic surgery in South Korea that improves the nose’s appearance.
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6. Plump Lips
The ideal Korean male face would not be complete without the ‘cherry-shaped’ lips. This term is popular in South Korea as it defines the perfect lip shape that the Korean male beauty standards insist.
To pull off the pouty lip effect, the lips should be small yet plump. It should look volumized on the top and bottom lips’ middle area to give a cherry-like look. It can be achieved with makeup, but some get lip fillers to make it look more natural.
BTS’ Jin is a great example of a Korean man with seemingly perfect plump-looking lips. He is also considered one of the male Korean idols with the sexiest lips.
7. Styled Hair
Hair dyeing has become a part of Korean culture since the K-pop industry gained popularity. Korean people started dyeing their hair in all sorts of colors similar to their favorite idols. But aside from following the trend, Koreans also dye their hair to maintain a youthful look.
To add style, Korean men choose from a variety of haircuts and then add color to their hair to pull off a unique and fun hairstyle. Teenagers usually use vivid colors, while some prefer darker shades. Even elders dye their hair regularly to cover gray hairs and to look younger than their age.
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8. Height (180cm)
Having a considerable height is another social advantage. Those with short height might look cute to people from other countries, but sadly, in South Korea, one with short height can be a victim of ‘heightism’ or height discrimination from society.
Also, tall men are considered visually pleasing. A Korean man should be at least 180cm tall to fit into the beauty standards. So, most Korean men take hormone shots or over-the-counter supplements to get taller.
Read More: Why Koreans Are So Tall?
9. Clean Look
If you observe, you’ll notice that most Korean men have clean-shaven faces and short hair.
This is because a clean complexion is considered more appealing as facial hair and long hair make a man look as if he isn’t taking care of himself. To serve a presentable look, Korean men shave their facial hair regularly. They also maintain short-styled hair and even dress according to trends.
10. Androgynous Body
Given that there are a lot of soft masculinity and flower boy images presented in the K-pop industry and media, having an androgynous body (not too skinny yet not too fat or bulky) became one of the ways to look attractive.
While some Korean men spend a lot of time in the gym to build muscles, most Korean men prefer to look like a pretty/soft man rather than a tough guy, so they just simply eat healthy foods and do minimal exercises to maintain their androgynous body.
Read More: How K-Pop Idols Lose Weight?
Now you know the important beauty features in Korean male beauty standards!
Considering that South Korea is the ‘Beauty Capital of the World’, there’s no wonder why unrealistic beauty standards have become a norm and most people are encouraged to enhance their physical appearance to belong.
But no matter how strict it is, some still choose to embrace their natural look and believe that being their own unique self is pure beauty.
If you’re looking for more posts about K-beauty, you can read this blog post about Korean female beauty standards.