Okay-beauty or J-beauty? The 2 ‘will not be so totally different nowadays.’

Glossy skin, straight bleach-tinted hair, a famous face: South Korea’s beauty industry has come to dominate the world over — Japan included.

From 2017 to 2023, Korean cosmetology exports have increased 219%, totaling more than $530 billion (about ¥82.6 trillion) and surpassing Japan’s import of French beauty products for the first time. Touted as effective yet affordable, Korean beauty routines promise prospective buyers the same thing: the smooth, healthy and youthful yuri pibu (glass skin) popularized by idol groups like BTS and glamorous actor-models like Jun Ji-hyun.

“Korean and Japanese skincare trends and demands are not so different these days,” says Kay Lan, an international business development counselor at Ginza’s Bianca Clinic. “Korea likes shiny, moisturized skin, and Japan follows the trend.”

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