Tag: asia

Korean Beauty Standard: All in the Head

Symmetrical face with soft, clear and supple skin, a full head of  shiny, healthy hair. Though these desirable attributes of a beautiful face are almost universal in their appeal, “ideal beauty” tends to differ greatly depending on the part of world you’re in – -think sun-kissed California beach babes with their tanned and toned bikini ready bodies or pale, porcelain face East Asian beauty with delicate features.  While it seems that much of the developed world hold on to the “skinny ideal” as widely advertised by the media, there is always some room for variety in terms of facial features, skin color and body shapes.

In South Korea, ideal beauty is more clearly defined.

Small Face Obsession

Having a “small face” is a basic requirement for a pretty face. The preference for smaller-sized face over medium or large ones is not really a Korean-only anomaly. In the modeling world, having a small head is not uncommon. A small face makes the rest of your features stand out. But Koreans are more than a little obsessed with face sizes. For example, when taking “selcas” (selfie for the rest of us), especially in a group setting, both girls and guys employ tactics like standing the furthest away from the camera or covering parts of the face with hands/other props to make their faces seem smaller.

They also have this “CD test” thingy. In this test, a piece of compact disc is held up against the face. If most of your features are covered by the disc, then you have a small face.

The scientific Korean head size test: If your features are obscured by holding a CD in front of your face, you have a small face

The scientific Korean head size test: If you can hide behind a compact disc, you have a small face.


V-Line, Egg-Line

Apart from the size of the face, the shape is also important. A V-line jaw, where the lower half of the face has a distinctly V-shape with a small,pointed chin, is prefered over a stronger, square jaw with wide or round chin. The “egg-line” face, an oval face shape with softer chin is also a popular feminine face shape. Yoona of Kpop group Girls’ Generation has this face shape.

Yoona of Korean Kpop group Girls' Generation has a small face with an "egg line" jaw shape.

Yoona and her enviable "egg-line"


Korean Kpop singer G.na has a very small face and V-line (sharp pointy jawline), both desirable traits.


Kpop singer G.Na (blue arrow) has a very small face and a sharp, V-line jaw. Even when standing in front of a crowd, her head looks significantly smaller than most of them.


Achieving a Smaller Face

Those wishing to have a smaller face with better shape may consider surgery to decrease the size of the zygomatic bone (cheekbones), mandibular jaw reduction surgery or botox injections on the jawline (which relaxes the muscles that make a jaw looks square, effectively narrowing the bottom half of the face).

There are also facial massage techniques which claim to reduce water retention and bloating of the face to aid in achieving the illusion of a smaller face.

The Problem with Small Heads

Not everyone in Korea is happy with a small head though. In the case of this man (the same guy who passed the CD test), having a small face is a burden. According to him, no girls would want to date him because the diminutive size of his head makes  ladies feel self conscious about their own (comparatively larger) faces. It’s interesting to note that in Hollywood, leading actors usually have heads larger than the female love interest (listen to Michael Caine’s interview on this).

This Korean man with small face (in the middle) is unhappy with his diminutive head size. According to him, girls do not wish to date guys with faces smaller than their own.


Question Time!

So, do you take notice of head sizes? Is there a certain face shape that is considered to be more beautiful in your culture?

Ladies, would you date a man whose head size is significantly smaller than yours?