Disclaimer time. As many of you know, I am a white chick, married to a Korean, living in Korea, being fluent in Korean. As you may also be aware, this is a beauty blog and I try to keep it light-hearted and stay focussed on my goal of reviewing K-beauty products. But here’s this topic that I have been mulling over for some time, that I wanted to discuss. It’s basically me thinking out loud. I don’t know everything, and I don’t have all the answers.
Just as a quick aside. I might be completely wrong with what I am going to put forward. I am happy for you to call me out and/or tell me where I am wrong. I look forward to constructive discussions in the comments. 🙂
The Criticisms leveled at K-Beauty
Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ll be aware that there are a whole lot of discussions going on around race, diversity, inclusivity. I am keeping an open mind, I want to learn and I want to be more aware of what is going on in the world. I try to question my own beliefs and values, and I try to be better and do better.
At the same time, I have been noticing this trend as of late. There are open letters to Korean cosmetics companies, urging them to be more inclusive. K-Beauty is being petitioned to diversify and to be more accommodating of people of colour (POC). Some of those open letters can come across as kind of nasty and accusing, and it rattles me just a bit, because Korea is my adopted home country now, as well as my husband’s native country. I’m feeling kind of protective of Korea in that regard.
In particular, K-beauty is being called out for their sunscreens, many of which have a tone-up effect (read: white cast), or which are mineral based and thus create ashy tones or an aforementioned (but not marketed as such) white cast, which is perceived as unflattering on darker skin tones.
There are also products purported to be brightening, which is considered to be part of colourism. Do note that bright skin does not equal white(r) skin though! It’s also possible that perhaps, some words get lost in translation.
Furthermore, many articles that I see popping up online are critical of the shade range of Korean base products (foundations, BB creams, concealers, powders and makeup cushions), most of which range from fair to light to medium shades but usually don’t include shades for darker skin tones.Continue reading “Does K-Beauty really need more Diversity?”