Clearly, there is no one true definition of beauty. This page examines some of the beauty trends and ideals in various parts of the world. Some countries place more of an emphasis on what they consider an attractive face, while others place higher value on a woman's body and curves. Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list of beauty trends worldwide, but provides an example of how subjective beauty truly is. Read more below, and please, don't forget to leave a comment!
Minimal makeup with an emphasis on skin care.
In countries such as Korea and Japan, a soft and feminine look is considered most beautiful. Rather than the use of heavy highlighting and contouring, a popular trend in the United States, East Asian women focus more on skin care. A soft and youthful appearance is enhanced through skin care products meant to brighten and firm the skin. When used, minimal, skin-perfecting makeup gives the skin an almost porcelain-like appearance. Try a google search for 'Asian beauty trends' and you'll find the top results involve skin care tips, along with images of fair, near-perfect skin complexions.
Typical beauty products used for a youthful, flawless face.
- Color-Correcting (CC Creams): Provide minimal, lightweight coverage, reducing the appearance of discolorations and uneven skin tone. Certainly popular here in the states!
- Blur creams: Used before applying makeup to minimize pores, lines, or wrinkles. Typically, in the U.S. at least, many makeup primers used on the face will have these 'blurring' qualities as well. One example is the Stay Matte Primer from Rimmel.
- Sheet Masks: This is another recent beauty practice in East Asia that's becoming increasingly popular in American culture. Different sheet masks will contain different ingredients, mainly with the aim of increasing hydration, removing dirt and oil, and reducing fine lines.
Image source: Anthony Joseph Photography
Curvaceousness and Body Adornment.
In African culture, a more curvy and voluptuous figure is highly celebrated. This is in stark contrast to the ideals of western cultures, where being thin is most popular and attractive. In fact, in Mauritania, women were once sent to 'fat camps' to gain weight! Fat camps became popular because full-figured body types were more attractive, symbolizing wealth and the ability to bear children. So, if women struggled to gain weight on their own, they would go to these camps to improve their chances of finding a partner.
Although now considered an ancient practice, many Africans would engage in the practice of scarification. Scarification involves branding the skin in intricate designs. These designs may symbol social status, religion, or identification within a particular tribe. Scarification is becoming less popular, and there are movements taking place for banning of scarification practices in Africa. Most people now seen with scars as a result of scarification are elderly, symbolizing its decrease in popularity over the years.
Body painting, however, is another form of body art practiced in Africa that continues today. Body painting serves some of the same purposes as scarification, but is less permanent. African body art aligns with the purpose of all other forms of art where a blank canvas (in this case, the body), provides an opportunity for self-expression. Recently, body painting has become a popular trend worldwide, with less of an emphasis on the face as typically seen in African culture. There are now annual body painting festivals in places such as the U.S. and Austria.
Image source: @lookamillion (Instagram)
Contour, brows, lips.
The latest beauty bloggers from the Middle East have beauty habits that closely resemble those in the states. Right now, it's all about highlighting, contouring, and thick, well-defined brows. When a hijab is not being worn, which also adds another element of style to any look, Middle Eastern women typically sport long and loose waves in their hair.
Image source: Photographer, Russel James
When it comes to beauty in Europe, less is more. In France, for example, there is a higher emphasis on taking care of the body, such as eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water. French women recognize that taking care of the body on the inside will result in a healthy and beautiful outward appearance. Heavy makeup and contouring is a no-no for these ladies.
Sofia Vergara, Image source: www.HuffingtonPost.com
Curves, Curves, Curves.
In South America, a curvy woman is an attractive woman, similar to beauty ideals observed in Africa. Women in places such as Brazil, will go to great lengths to obtain a curvy figure, while maintaining a super tiny waist. In fact, it's pretty well-known that there is an unhealthy fixation in Brazil involving cosmetic surgeries to enhance the look of the buttocks and breasts. Although we are now well aware of the dangers of receiving buttock injections for a larger-looking bum, some women still elect to have these risky procedures done in Brazil, due to cheaper prices.