Natural and Organic Beauty Magazine

East Meets West: The Differences Between Asian And Western Makeup

For many people, makeup has become an everyday essential because it can boost one’s confidence and looks. But did you know that makeup styles can vary a lot depending on where you live?

The type of culture you grew up with has a big impact on your standards of beauty. This is one of the reasons why the trend for Asian makeup and Western makeup has emerged.

There are outstanding differences that set the two apart.So if you want to learn more about the two main makeup styles used by people around the world, here’s an infographic that highlights the characteristics that differentiate Asian and Western beauty standards.

Asian Makeup vs Western Makeup: The Beauty Differences Unmasked


  1. Westerners aim for a fierce and confident look, while Asians are more geared towards a ‘light’ and more natural look. 
  2. Among Caucasians, tanning oil with little SPF is a beach essential while Asians commonly bring sunscreen with high SPF.
  3. Since 2015, the have grown by 300 percent in the US.
  4. In the 30 to 40 year old age group, Western women show greater concern about wrinkles. On the other hand, Asians show more concern about uneven skin. 
  5. According to Euromonitor, 2019 is when Asia will dominate global cosmetics sales by 80%. Of the total region’s growth, 75% has been expected to come from China.
  6. Korea ranks 3rd in Asia as the largest market for cosmetics. On a worldwide scale, it ranks on the 12th spot with over €6.6 billion in sales.


  • Fair Skin – In the past, you can tell if an Asian is wealthy or poor by the colour of one’s skin. For some Asian countries, having fair skin is associated with a life spent comfortably inside a home, away from the sun and hard labour in the fields. Fairness, on the other hand, is  a sign that you’re rich which signifies you don’t have to work outside.


During the Renaissance period, even European women also turned to unconventional methods to achieve pale and flawless skin including painting of mercury on their faces or using leeches to help them achieve a pale complexion.

  • Double Eyelid – Most Asians have natural monolid eyes. However, it’s culturally seen as unattractive and uninviting. It is a trend in many Asians (especially Koreans and Chinese) to aspire to have eyes that look rounder and bigger with hopes to achieve the double eyelids Westerners have. 
  • Slender Nose – For many Asians, the shape of the nose is one factor that determines if a person is attractive or not. Usually taller, more slender noses are deemed as attractive.


Approximately 1/3 of South Korean women between the ages of 19 and 29 have claimed that they had plastic surgery.

  • V-Line Jaw – The sharp, narrow (almost V-shaped) jawline is a sought-after look in Asian countries as it makes the face looks slimmer.
  • Small Face – A small, oval face is an indication of beauty in Asian cultures as its viewed as more feminine, delicate, and cute. In contrast, having a square face is considered to be very manly.


  • Tan Skin – In contrast to Asians, Westerners think that having tanned skin is a sign of beauty. It means that you are rich as you could afford to go on a vacation and spend time under the sun. Tan skin is also considered as a feature than can make a person look young, slim, and overall healthy.
  • Large Eyes – Westerners, like their Asian counterparts, also find large eyes attractive. Most women like to emulate shine and roundness to keep their eyes looking wide awake and open.
  • Slender Nose – People from the West aren’t necessarily obsessed with the shapes of their noses, compared to Asians. However, they still do appreciate a slender nose that’s proportionate to the rest of your face.
  • Full Lips – This feature has been long considered to be a beauty standard in Western countries. The likes of celebs such as Angelina Jolie, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner are today’s trendsetters when it comes to flaunting their big, luscious lips.
  • Sculpted Jaw – While the oval-shaped face is still popular in Western countries, most also find square-shaped faces attractive. This is because a wide and sculpted jawline can enhance the appearance of one’s smile.



Typically, Asians prefer a more natural “no makeup” makeup look to make them look younger and fresh overall. 


Most Asians use a lightweight foundation to create a dewy look and achieve bright, vibrant skin.

The so-called “glass skin” is one of the most popular beauty trends today, especially in East Asia. It makes your skin look poreless and smooth that it almost appears transparent, hence the name.


The eyebrows of Asian women are usually drawn and filled in at a straight line to achieve a more youthful look. 


A single swipe of colour from an eyeshadow palette and a thin, winged eyeliner are the only essentials an Asian woman needs to make her small eyes pop.

Some Asians even draw eyeliner around the waterline and wing it downward in order to give off an innocent vibe.


Like the eyes, a simple flush of peach or pink-coloured on the cheeks is enough to maintain the highly-desirable glowing look most Asians want.

Did You Know? In Japan, there’s a popular trend called “hangover makeup” where you apply blush underneath your eyes and across the bridge of your nose for that flushed look Asians get when they get drunk.


For the lips, Asians prefer to keep it light yet bright for a natural and hydrated look. Popular lipstick shades are baby pinks, glossy corals, and cherry red.

The gradient lip look is also a famous beauty trend in Asia in which you cover the lips with concealer and apply a tint on the inner portion of the mouth.


In general, western makeup looks are usually more bold and dramatic, giving you a sexy and confident aura.


Westerners prefer a foundation that is matte to look professional and mature. They also use powders and blotting papers to keep their skins mattified.

In addition, they make sure to conceal any bad parts in their faces such as dark spots and pesky eye bags.


Western styles tend to have dark-coloured eyebrows with a chiselled arch for definition. This ultimately creates a bolder look.

Did You Know? Some people even undergo microblading, a type of semi-permanent eyebrow tattoo, to avoid spending a lot of time doing sharply defined brows.


Smokey eyes are the go-to look of most Westerners. They tend to use darker colours on the outer corner of the eye to create depth and add a certain sultry effect.


Westerners find the sun-kissed glow you can get from the sun attractive. As such, they apply bronzers to add colour and life to the face. Lastly, a highlighter is added to finish the look.

Sharply-chiselled cheekbones are also popular which is the reason why many Westerners buy contouring powders.


Like their base products, people in Western countries prefer to use lipstick that has matte or semi-matte finishes. As for the shade, it varies between personal styles. 

Some keep it simple and nude while others like to rock bold, unconventional colours such as blue or black.

ALSO READ: The Emerging Fashion and Beauty Capitals of the World

Asian and Western makeup have their distinct differences–each one with a story to tell, as well. But no matter what your beauty standards are, keep in mind that there is a range of makeup styles that you can choose to complement your facial features and personal preferences.


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Ingrida Adomaytite

Junior Beauty Expert and Copywriter
I'm Ingrida Adomaitite, where the realms of art and beauty seamlessly blend. My background in the beauty industry has equipped me with a unique lens through which I view and share the world's beauty. For me, beauty is not confined to the conventional; it's an art form, a universal language that speaks to the soul. My mission is to inspire others to see the beauty that surrounds us, to understand its depth, and to appreciate its power to transform. Join me on this journey of discovery, where every moment is an opportunity to encounter the extraordinary in the ordinary.

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