In other countries, men are obsessed with beard because it symbolizes power, strength, dominance, maturity, and masculinity. They even style it to get their look just right and appear more attractive. However, for Korean men, it’s a different story.
If you’re a long-time K-Pop and K-Drama fan, or perhaps you’ve been to South Korea, you’ve probably noticed that the majority of men don’t have facial hair. For some reason, they tend to go for a clean-shaven look over a suave beard-mustache combo.
If you want to know why Koreans don’t have a beard, you’re in the right place! Keep reading and see the answers you’ve been looking for.
Can Koreans even have a beard?
Sure they can!
Just like men from other countries, Korean men can grow a beard, but they usually don’t grow it out because they prefer hairless. Still, some men can’t really grow facial hair, and it’s probably because everyone is different—so does the growth of body hair among humans.
One theory even suggests that it’s linked to the climate, as those who live in places that consistently experience cold climates tend to develop more body hair than those who live in warmer areas.
Why Do Koreans Don’t Have Beard
In South Korea, it’s not normal for a man to have a beard. Plus, a beardless face has become a ‘standard.’ At this point, you might be really curious why almost every Korean men have a clean-shaven look. So, to answer your question, we listed the eight reasons why Koreans don’t have a beard:
- Historical Reasons
- Work Culture
- Beauty Standards
- Korean Women Preferences
- Influence of K-Pop Idols and K-Drama Actors
- Skincare Routine
- Fear of Being Judged
1. Historical Reasons
Statues or pictures of ancient Korean emperors and Korean historical dramas are solid proofs that Koreans can have beard and even grow it extremely long! But why do Korean men don’t have facial hair these days? Let’s take a quick glimpse at Korean history.
During the Joseon era, men were not allowed to harm any of their body parts—including hair—so they let it grow long to respect and take care of their bodies.
However, during the Gwangmu era, when civilization and Western lifestyle was introduced to Korea, men were educated about hygienic practices, and the clean-shaven look became a standard.
2. Work Culture
For Koreans, a beard is considered dirty and shows poor hygiene. Therefore, having a beard can leave a negative impression.
In some workplaces, men are obliged to shave their facial hair to look sophisticated and presentable all the time. Korean men with beards find it hard to get job offers or pass job assessments.
Some companies can even fire their employees for not following the ‘no beard rule.’ So, having a beard became associated with being poor and lazy.
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3. Beauty Standards
Apart from a small face, big eyes, well-defined nose, and plump lips, a man will not fit the Korean male beauty standards if he doesn’t have a clean-shaven face.
It’s because a clean look is considered more attractive and presentable, and facial hair is an undesirable trait because it makes a man look older than his age.
To achieve slow facial hair growth, Korean men invest in beauty products. Some even go to beauty clinics for beauty treatments like ‘laser hair removal’ and ‘intense pulse light’ to remove facial hair and slow down hair regrowth.
4. Korean Women Preferences
Want a great tip on how to look good and attract Korean women? Shave regularly and maintain a clean-shaven look!
Korean women prefer beardless men as facial hair is considered a negative feature. It makes a man look too masculine, unhygienic, lazy, and incapable of taking care of himself, so it instantly turns off Korean women.
Additionally, a beardless man is ideal because a clean look makes one appear youthful, soft, and pretty, which are also a part of male beauty standards.
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5. Influence of K-Pop Idols and K-Drama Actors
Korean actors and K-Pop idols are beauty icons, so people would do their best to know their beauty secrets and look just like them.
Male K-pop idols maintain a ‘flower boy’ or clean look because it attracts many fans. Even the K-drama heartthrobs Lee Minho, Gong Yoo, and Lee Dong Wook continue to capture women’s hearts as they literally age like a fine wine with their beardless faces!
Although some idols and actors prefer having a beard and a mustache, most still go for a clean-shaven look to be desirable and attractive to young fans.
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6. Skincare Routine
When you live in the ‘Beauty Capital of the World’ where people are obsessed with clear skin, you’ll have to adapt the standard lifestyle to fit into society.
In fact, Korean men are committed to skincare as much as women because of the strict beauty standard. So, they often shave their facial hair to make their skin stand out and look smooth, clean, and clear. It also allows them to do their skincare routine well and apply beauty products easily.
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7. Fear of Being Judged
For Koreans, appearance is very important as they believe it tells who and what you are. Since having a beard is considered dirty and unhygienic, it might also indicate that a man is emotionally unstable or going through emotional suffering because he’s not taking care of his body well.
Also, the media popularized the clean-shaven look as men with rough beards in Korean movies represent those who hit rock bottom and live on drugs and alcohol.
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Genetics defines how thick and thin a man’s beard is and how fast or slow it grows. Another reason why Koreans don’t have a beard is because of their genes.
They develop lighter beards compared to men from other countries because the sensitivity of their hair follicles (sheath of cells surrounding the root of the hair) toward testosterone (male hormone) is low. They also age slower, so their facial hair growth takes time.
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Are the opinions of Koreans about facial hair changing?
Based on some social interviews and opinion videos online, we can tell that Koreans’ opinion regarding facial hair is not changing. Although some are fine with a styled and well-groomed beard, the majority of respondents (mostly women) still think that it is unhygienic.
But others believe facial hair should be accepted and considered normal as one should style the way he wants. So, some ditch their razors and let their facial hair grow despite the negative opinions. Even K-Pop idols and Korean actors are pushing the ‘dirty-sexy’ look to break the standards of Korean people.
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Most Korean men don’t have a beard, but it doesn’t mean they can’t grow one. It’s just that there are biological and cultural reasons why they choose to maintain a clean-shaven look, even though it’s a tough decision for those who want to keep their beard and style on their own.
We hope that this blog post answered your questions! Tell us your thoughts on the comments section below.
Want to know more interesting facts about Koreans? Read this post about the main differences between Korean men vs Japanese men.