Lipstick In Kindergarten? South Korea’s Magnificence Trade Targets Youngsters


Magnificence manufacturers in South Korea are providing “more healthy” cosmetics for youths comparable to unhazardous lip crayons.

Final 12 months in kindergarten, Yang Hye-ji developed her morning routine. Uniform? Examine. Homework? Examine.

Make-up? Undoubtedly.

“Make-up makes me look fairly,” the 7-year-old mentioned on her second go to to the ShuShu & Sassy magnificence spa in Seoul.

She was wrapped in a child-size pink gown and carrying a bunny hairband. Her face was gently touched up with a puff. Her lips received a swipe of pink gloss.

South Korea’s cosmetics business, generally known as Ok-beauty, has change into an Asian powerhouse and world phenomenon for its rigorous step-by-step regimens.

However exacting magnificence norms additionally put huge strain on South Korean ladies, making the nation one of many world’s facilities for cosmetic surgery. And more and more, the sweetness business is taking a look at youthful and youthful ladies.

That’s stirring issues that contact on many core social debates in South Korea: how a lot a society ought to worth look, whether or not messages about magnificence crowd out different aspirations for younger ladies, and whether or not it is proper so as to add much more strain to an already stress-packed childhood of lengthy college hours and make-or-break exams.


Make-up makes me look fairly,” a 7-year-old mentioned on her second go to to a magnificence spa in Seoul.

“The shiny cartoon heroines younger ladies admire are absolutely made up from head to toe,” mentioned Yoon-Kim Ji-yeong, a professor on the Institute of Physique and Tradition at Seoul’s Konkuk College. “As they placed on the make-up and placed on the costume to mimic the characters, ladies internalize {that a} lady’s success is carefully related to magnificence.”

Advertisers will not be delicate.

“I watch my mother and I observe her. I’m rising up right this moment,” a billboard commercial promoting make-up kits for 6-year-olds proclaims, with a photograph of a younger lady in class uniform making use of lipstick.

A YouTube video of a 7-year-old placing on lipstick, titled “I wish to put on make-up like mother,” has attracted 4.three million views, whereas related movies present younger ladies sharing their “elementary college make-up routine” and “unboxing my Hiya Kitty make-up package.”

ShuShu Cosmetics is a pioneer in Ok-beauty’s outreach to youngsters. Began in 2013, it operates 19 boutiques throughout South Korea, providing “more healthy” cosmetics for youths, comparable to water-soluble nail polish, and unhazardous lip crayons in a spread of “edible” colours.

There are sticker earrings and tattoos, “sun-whipping” cream cleanser, “fancy lady” cleaning soap and goat-milk shampoo carrying the slogan: “I am not a child.”


Within the spa and wonder parlor, ladies ages Four to 10 can get pleasure from a spa expertise for $25 to $35.

Within the spa and wonder parlor, ladies ages Four to 10 can get pleasure from a spa expertise for $25 to $35, that includes a foot tub, a foot and calf therapeutic massage, a face masks and make-up, and a manicure and pedicure.

“The motto of our magnificence spas is that youngsters can join with their mothers whereas enjoying with them,” mentioned Grace Kim, a supervisor at ShuShu Cosmetics. “Our merchandise are protected for pregnant ladies as properly.”

That is hardly a pattern that’s unique to South Korea. Kylie Jenner has constructed a cosmetics empire value an estimated $900 million largely concentrating on teenage ladies, whereas youngster magnificence vloggers are additionally in style in the USA and elsewhere.

For many years, lecturers of all stripes have pored over the influence of strain on youngsters and younger ladies within the West to adapt with unreasonable requirements for look and physique kind.

However such issues in South Korea additionally now embody ladies so younger they’ll barely learn the packaging on the sweetness merchandise aimed on the kindergarten crowd or youthful.

South Korea is residence to one of many world’s high 10 magnificence industries, value in extra of $10 billion, with per capita cosmetics spending of $45 in 2017, increased than the $37 People spend and a worldwide common of $21, based on market analysis agency Mintel.

It has one of many highest charges of cosmetic surgery on this planet, with one in three ladies ages 19 to 29 saying they’ve undergone procedures, particularly on their eyelids, based on a Gallup survey. It additionally has the world’s highest variety of plastic surgeons per capita, based on a 2017 examine by the Worldwide Society of Plastic Surgical procedure.

Ok-beauty can be changing into in style in the USA. Final month, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., shared her skincare routine impressed by Ok-beauty’s elaborate multistep skincare routine involving an arsenal of merchandise.

ShuShu is already promoting its youngsters’ cosmetics in Singapore and Thailand, and plans to develop to the USA and elsewhere.

The youngsters’ magnificence market is increasing as make-up is promoted as a “new play tradition” for kids, mentioned Lee Hwa-jun, an knowledgeable on South Korea’s magnificence business at Mintel. “Beauty firms in South Korea are more and more curious about youngsters as potential new shoppers.”

Comparatively small start-up firms are main the way in which, Lee says. “Beauty giants additionally present curiosity in increasing their buyer base to youthful ladies, however they’re rigorously weighing the professionals and cons, as concentrating on youngsters might stir a backlash.”

Some ladies are already combating again.


South Korean model ShuShu is already promoting its youngsters’ cosmetics in Singapore and Thailand

Freelance make-up artist Search engine optimization Ga-ram declared that she would refuse purchasers’ requests to use cosmetics to youngster fashions.

“I discovered it completely weird that precise make-up kits have come instead of toys that youngsters play with,” she wrote in a Fb publish in Could. “Please cease consuming pictures of youngsters posing with closely coloured cheeks, crimson lips and curled hair.”

Nonetheless, the pattern seems not possible to cease, mentioned Kim Ju-duck, a professor of magnificence research at Sungshin Girls’s College in Seoul, with the media more and more exhibiting pictures of younger ladies carrying make-up, and with cosmetics accessible to preteens and youthful youngsters.

He surveyed 288 ladies in elementary college in 2016 and located that 42 p.c wore make-up. He mentioned the proportion has risen since then.

On the PriPara Youngsters Café on the outskirts of Seoul, ladies ages Four to 9 can costume up like their favourite anime character, get pleasure from a spa and have gentle make-up utilized. They’ll bounce on a trampoline, store for meals in a play retailer, strut down a catwalk, carry out their favourite Ok-pop tune in a recording sales space and dance in a mirror-lined studio.

PriPara positions itself as a “fun-filled house for kids to be taught magnificence and grooming in a hazard-free atmosphere,” mentioned the cafe’s supervisor, Moon Younger-sook.

“Women naturally wish to play with their mother’s make-up,” she mentioned. “Reasonably than placing on Mother’s lipstick laden with chemical compounds, the faux make-up here’s a safer approach to fulfill ladies’ desires.”

Kwon ji-hyun, 36, introduced her 6-year-old daughter and her 2-year-old son on a latest go to. She mentioned the house displays “a lady’s fantasies, a lady’s psyche.”

“It does take youngsters too early into gender roles,” she mentioned. “However my daughter does not have a skewed gender position. I did not elevate her to have a really set concept about gender roles.”

However critics see a extra damaging pattern.

“From Ok-pop divas to Ok-beauty cosmetics, the market capitalizing on ladies’s objectification has change into a hyper-saturated ‘crimson ocean’ in South Korea,” mentioned Yoon-Kim of Konkuk College, utilizing a time period describing an current market with cutthroat competitors.

“The market sees a ‘blue ocean’ for growth in youthful prospects, able to instigate and monetize their insecurities about their look.”

(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)

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