What Our Obsession With K-Beauty Reveals About All of Us

You’ve seen the look popularized by K-pop stars — smooth, blemish-free “glass skin,” luscious hair, and the sveltest of bodies. As South Korean pop culture — namely, K-pop and K-dramas — travels around the world, its stars are selling the world on another cultural product: Korean beauty standards.

In Korea, K-beauty is more than just a multistep skin-care regime starting with a double cleanse. It’s also one of the pillars of Korean culture the government has invested in as part of its soft-power experiment. South Korea is one of the plastic surgery capitals of the world, where double-eyelid surgery is so common it’s a popular graduation gift.

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