What "Natural Beauty" Looks Like in Different Countries
Whether we realise it or not, the beauty standards set by the country we live in have a massive effect on our taste in trends. While strobing and shag haircuts are big in the U.S., we often forget that the same style might not be as popular in Brazil or South Korea.
Here's one fascinating example: Last year, an experiment by UK group Superdrug Online Doctors had female graphic designers in 18 different countries Photoshop the same image of a woman into the "ideal" body type. Each result was alarmingly different (you can see all 18 photos here). The experiment allowed beauty consumers to look under the hood of the axiom "Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder."
As experiments like this (and the internet at large) make international beauty more accessible, our fascinations increase. More and more, we're inspired to wonder: How does the rest of the world interpret different beauty trends?
We've already explored the top trending haircuts in different countries. Next, we were curious about "natural beauty." So we did a little transcontinental research to find out how women in seven countries across the globe do their hair, makeup, and skin to achieve a look that says, "I woke up like this."
Keep scrolling to see natural beauty looks and products from seven countries around the world!
The vibe: Just off the beach
The details: Since Australian women tend to spend so much time in the sun, SPF and melt-proof makeup are key. According to Eleanor Pendleton, founder and editor of Australian beauty site Gritty Pretty, the aesthetic is “natural and fresh-faced”: glowy makeup, “smooth, blemish-free” skin, and windswept hair you can style with just a few leave-in products.
The vibe: Low maintenance-chic
The details: French women are all about looking super chic and like they just rolled out of bed at the same time. For hair, the French go for cuts that don’t need much styling, like long lengths and textured fringe. For skincare, gentle, light products are essential (to “let the skin breathe,” as Birchbox France editorial director Mathilde Lacombe would say). The makeup is minimal and comes second to skincare, focusing primarily on long lashes and rosy lips.
The vibe: Clear-skinned and fresh
The details: “In Korea, the ‘natural beauty’ look definitely begins with the skin,” says Peach & Lily founder Alicia Yoon. “The skin ‘expression,’ as it's so often called, is all about healthy, radiant, glowing skin that looks well hydrated from within.” The makeup (normally just brows and lips) only serves to amplify that expression. For hair? “Any style that looks product-free, frizz-free, and smooth,” says Yoon.
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The vibe: Sleek and glowy
The details: The Swedish girl’s everyday look focuses on naturally sleek hair, long lashes, and glowy skin, using makeup to add colour that the weather doesn’t always offer. Swedish blogger Kenza Zouiten keeps all of her products glow-focused, from her Dior light-boosting primer to her Anastasia contour kit.
Elle South Africa
The vibe: Colourful and playful
The details: “South Africa is a colourful and unique country with women of all skin tones, and they highlight their features in different ways,” says South African makeup artist Lori Leib, creative director of Bodyography Cosmetics. "The darker-skinned demographic play around with colour, vibrant lips being the most popular look, while lighter-skinned women are more sun- and skin-conscious, their makeup more natural” she says. Regardless of skin tone, African women tend to highlight one feature, like lips or eyes, and keep the skin glowy and gorgeous. For hair, South African looks vary from braided designs to short crops to styles wrapped in colourful scarves.
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The vibe: Model off-duty
The details: When it comes to natural beauty, Americans tend to go one of two ways: There’s the “no-makeup makeup” and “beachy waves” that actually require a ton of products, and there’s the bohemian indie-girl who focuses on skin before makeup and aims to re-create “model off-duty” vibes. What both groups have in common is this: loads of dry shampoo, tinted sunscreen, and lashes and brows for days.
Obsessed with international beauty? Don't miss the #1 trending haircut in France, Japan, Australia, and more!