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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.