What "Natural Beauty" Looks Like in Different Countries

Sweden's "natural" is our "made-up."

alicia yoon


Whether or not we realize it, the beauty standards set by the country we live in have a massive effect on our taste in trends. While shag haircuts are big here in the U.S., the same style might not be as popular in Brazil or South Korea, for example. As the Internet at large makes international beauty more accessible, our fascinations increase. More and more, we've found ourselves wondering how the rest of the world interprets different beauty trends, and what the beauty standards around the world are.

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 12 different countries do their hair, makeup, and skin to achieve a look that says I woke up like this.

Keep scrolling to learn all about standards of beauty 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 online beauty magazine Gritty Pretty, the aesthetic is "natural and fresh-faced" makeup, "smooth, blemish-free" skin, and windswept hair you can style with just a leave-in product.

Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector SPF 30 $48.00
More Brows Brush-On Fibre Gel
Modelco More Brows Brush-On Fibre Gel $16.00
Lanolips Banana Balm Sheen 3-in-1 $16.00


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 a textured fringe. For makeup, think women with natural beauty. Gentle, light products are essential (to "let the skin breathe," as France Editorial Director Mathilde Lacombe would say). The makeup is minimal and comes second to focusing primarily on long lashes and rosy lips.

Stay Naked Threesome Blush, Bronzer, & Highlighter Palette
Urban Decay Stay Naked Threesome Blush, Bronzer, & Highlighter Palette $37.00
BareMinerals Lash Domination Volumizing Mascara $20.00
Nyx Liquid Suede Cream Lipstick $7.00


The vibe: Sculpted and defined

The details: Iranian women love to wear makeup that plays up their olive complexions, dark features, and eye shape. Think sculpted cheekbones, defined brows, and sharp, elongated winged eyeliner. Full-coverage complexion products and matte lip colors are standard, as are intelligently-placed blush and a striking contour.

Pur Cosmetics Cameo Contour & Highlight Stick $40.00 $10.00
Brows Now Click N Flick
Hard Candy Brows Now Click N Flick $7.00
One/Size Turn Up The Base Butter Silk Concealer $25.00


The vibe: Bright lips and a warm flush

The details: A bold red lip, flirtatious eyes, and a warm flush to the skin is all you need to nail down a Mexican-inspired makeup look. Though much of Mexican beauty is influenced by American culture, a quick run-through of classic Mexican movies will have you lusting over timeless rosy cheeks, classy winged eyeliner, sultry lashes, and bold eyebrows.

Eterno Liquid Liner
Tresluce Eterno Liquid Liner $15.00
Macstack Mascara
MAC Macstack Mascara $28.00


The vibe:  Fearless and glamorous

The details: When it comes to Kenyan makeup, the name of the game is glamour. Whether that means bold, colorful eyes or a striking blush placement, they use makeup to enhance their natural features rather than cover them up.

Pauline Cosmetics
Pauline Cosmetics Bombshell Lipstick $10.00
Ultimate Shadow Palette
Nyx Ultimate Shadow Palette $12.00


The vibe: Sultry, well-defined eyes

The details: Michelle Ranavat, founder of skincare line Ranavat, says that in India, the focus is almost always on the eyes. To define their eyes, Indian women line their waterline with Kajal, a kohl liner. "Using a kajal is also thought to ward off evil spirits (nazar) as a form of protection," she says. For hair, it's all about the long lengths. "We take a lot of pride in oiling our hair as a way to condition and protect," says Ranavat.

Satin Kajal Liner
Victoria Beckham Beauty Satin Kajal Liner $28.00
100% Pure Castor Oil
Sky Organics 100% Pure Castor Oil $16.00


The vibe: Bronzed and beautiful

The details: Inspired by the tropical weather, Brazilian women bring out the sultrier side of natural beauty. Brazilian blogger Camila Coelho's go-to look consists of voluminous waves, bronzed skin, and slightly more full-coverage makeup.

Benefit Cosmetics Watt's Up! Cream-to-Powder Highlighter $30.00
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment $24.00
Nº32 Hydrating Self-Tanning Cream
+Lux Unfiltered Nº32 Hydrating Self-Tanning Cream $32.00

South Korea

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," Yoon says.

Cotton towels create fiction, which leads to breakage and flyaways. Instead, eliminate frizz by using a microfiber towel to dry your hair.

UV mist cushion
Hera UV Mist Cushion $47.00
Kosas Air Brow Tinted Clean Volumizing Eyebrow Gel $22.00
Light Lock Lip Gloss
About-Face Light Lock Lip Gloss $18.00


The vibe: Glowing and healthy

The details: For Japanese women, the goal is healthy-looking skin. Rather than slathering on layers of makeup, they prefer emphasizing the complexion they work so hard to take care of by using sheer foundations, cream blushes that melt into the skin, and lightweight lip products.

Loum Awaken Glow Elixir Oil
Loum Awaken Glow Elixir Oil $72.00
Lique Cosmetics Hydrating BB Cream
Lique Cosmetics Active Beauty Hydrating BB Cream $16.00
DEW ME OVER - Prep, Set & Refresh Continuous Mist
Dezi Skin Dew Me Over Prep, Set & Refresh Continuous Mist $34.00


The vibe: Sleek and glowy

The details: The Swedish girl's everyday look focuses on naturally sleek hair, long lashes, and skin, using makeup to add color that the weather doesn't always offer. Swedish blogger and model Kenza Zouiten Subosic keeps her beauty routine focused on her cheeks, from her Dior light-boosting primer to her Anastasia contour kit.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit $40.00
Define-A-Lash Lengthening Washable Mascara, Very Black, 0.22 Fluid Ounce
Maybelline Define-a-Lash Mascara $8.00
Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade $21.00

South Africa

The vibe: Colorful and playful

The details: "South Africa is a colorful 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 color—vibrant lips being the most popular look—while lighter-skinned women are more sun- and skin-conscious, their makeup more natural."

Regardless of skin tone, African women tend to highlight one feature, like lips or eyes, and keep the skin and hair naturally gorgeous. For hair, South African looks vary from braided designs to short crops to styles wrapped in colorful scarves. Look to fashion model Shante Gainsford for inspiration.

Softglow Facial Oil
Ghost Democracy Softglow Facial Oil $38.00
Upcycle Party in the Nude Eyeshadow Palette
Pyt Beauty Upcycle Party in the Nude Eyeshadow Palette $28.00
Cream Rouge Palette
Pixi Cream Rouge Palette $20.00


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 " waves" that actually require a ton of products, and then there are those who focus on skin before makeup with the goal of re-creating "model off duty" vibes. What both groups have in common is this: loads of dry shampoo, tinted sunscreen, and lashes and brows for days.

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara $27.00
Good Apple Skin-Perfecting Foundation Balm
KVD Beauty Good Apple Skin-Perfecting Foundation Balm $41.00
living proof
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo $26.00

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