beauty ideals

Things I Love: Laneige Water Sleeping Mask

I’m obsessed with Korean skincare (and makeup). I know I’m generalizing but many Korean ladies (and gents) really know their stuff and are METICULOUS with their massive multi-step skincare routine. Spas, massages, facials, dermatologist appointments, treatments, etc. are just part of their weekly routine. Not to mention…plastic surgery! South Korea is plastic surgery capital of the world.

I half-admire their society’s commitment to looking young and beautiful. I say half-admire because annyeong I too want to look like a gorgeously dewy poreless k-drama actress or k-pop idol. But living in a society where looks are everything is incredibly tough. Appearance matters in most societies, but it’s especially true in East Asian cultures. I say this as an East Asian who grew up in both the East and West. I’d concede that physical beauty is prized everywhere in the world. But in my opinion, one of the more positive things about living in a Western society is that there’s more breadth in terms of beauty ideals (I’m not saying today’s Western beauty ideals are any better, just that there’s more diversity). I find the East Asia’s conception of beauty ideal to be quite narrow (and somewhat unrealistic). I’m wrongly lumping all Eastern cultures together but in general, for women, the trend is to look young, natural, have milky-white smooth skin, double-eyelids, big eyes, small nose, and a slim, oval face.

And fight me on this, but East Asian guys can get away with not looking “traditionally handsome” as long as they’re je-ne-sais-quoi charming, have a high nose bridge, and are above 180 cm. Can we say double standards?? I’m not dismissing that there’s an unfair global prejudice against short men, but nevertheless, it’s still harder to be a woman. Anyway, I think this rigid female beauty standard has extended to the rest of the continent, particularly Southeast Asia. On one hand, as an Asian, I admire the asian-nification and rise of Korean influence on beauty and culture. On the other hand, it’s always hard to look like something you are not naturally. In Asia, is this modern Eastern beauty ideal an improvement over the near-unattainable Caucasian beauty ideal of yesteryears? Or is it merely another incarnation of the latter?

I don’t really know.

I also want to point out that in Asia, people tend to be more openly judgmental and vocal about your looks. Body shaming? It happens. A stranger auntie (stranger danger!) on the street would feel entitled to tell you you’re fat. Let’s just say the body positive movement has not made it to most of Asia. In S. Korea, you have to submit a headshot with your job application and your looks are absolutely judged – just like any of your other qualifications. As an aside, you also have to include your headshot in your CV in France…but my French mentor in HR told me it’s so they can put a face to the application (uh-huhhh sure).

Pretty people in general are at advantage in life. It’s a fact and I’m not bitter about it. You can’t help being born beautiful, just like you can’t help being born smart. It is the hand you are dealt in this life. I just hope that for the sake of our younger generation, we expand the definition of what it means to be beautiful.

Sorry for my long ass ramble lol. Now back to my regular programming….I wanted to talk about Laneige’s Water Sleeping Mask. I ♥ this product!! Getting enough sleep is still the best way to achieving good skin, but if you don’t get enough sleep, have no fear, there’s Laneige water sleeping mask!!

I use this about twice a week; you apply the gel on your face and leave it overnight and rinse in the morning. I don’t know what’s in this product but whatever it is, it’s 100% pure magic. Your skin looks and feels moisturized and revitalized, as if you got 20 hours of beauty rest.

You can buy it online here. In the U.S., Laneige was carried at select Targets, but I think they’re moving out of that distribution and into Sephora! Stay tuned.