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“韩式美容法”风靡全球背后的秘密

更新时间:2017-12-12 11:35:31 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

I Grew Up Around Korean Beauty Products. Americans, You’ve Been Had.
“韩式美容法”风靡全球背后的秘密

I admit it: I use Korean snail slime face serum. It’s purported to contain anti-aging properties. I have no opinion as to whether snails are particularly young-looking, but my experience is that their excretions do work on humans. That aside, as someone who grew up among Korean beauty products, I find the world’s sudden fascination with Korean skin care, and its now-famous 12-step regimen, to be comical.

我承认:我在用韩国蜗牛黏液面部精华液。据说它含有抗衰老成份。我对蜗牛是否看起来特别年轻没什么看法,但我的经验是,它们的排泄物确实对人类有用。除此之外,作为一个在韩国美容产品中长大的人,我觉得全世界对韩国的皮肤护理以及它现在著名的12步护肤法的突然痴迷有点滑稽。

Dozens of articles in the Western press claim that Korean beauty innovation is 10 years ahead of the rest of the world. So … in beauty terms, South Korea is in the year 2027?

西方媒体上的数十篇文章声称,韩国的美容创新比世界其他地方领先十年。所以……就美容而言,韩国现在是2027年?

It gets better: “K-beauty,” as it is often called, is not just futuristic; it’s ancient as well. According to at least three English-language beauty websites, Korean skin care rituals date back to some purported document from 700 B.C. If Koreans have had a 12-step skin care program for 2,700 years, I’m not sure why they decided to sit on it until the 1990s. But no matter.

还有更夸张的:“韩式美容法”——人们通常这样称呼它——不仅引领未来,而且是古老的。据至少三家英文网站称,韩国的护肤方式据说可以追溯到公元前700年的记载。如果2700年来,韩国人一直知道12步护肤法,我不清楚他们为什么要等到20世纪90年代才开始采用它。不过无所谓啦。

In the last six years, Korean cosmetics in the United States have gone from nonexistent to almost mainstream. According to data from Kotra, Korea’s trade promotion agency, K-beauty exports to the United States more than doubled from 2014 to 2016. The global cosmetics chain Sephora started carrying K-beauty products in 2011. Other retail chains followed suit, including Urban Outfitters, Ulta and the drugstore chain CVS, all of them touting products with ingredients like chrysanthemum and ginseng. How did Americans come to view South Korea as this beautiful-skinned Eden, when, until a few decades ago, it was impoverished and chokingly polluted?

在过去六年里,韩国化妆品在美国从无到有,几乎成为主流。根据韩国贸易促进机构韩国贸易投资振兴公社(Kotra)的数据,从2014年到2016年,韩国向美国出口的美容产品增加了一倍多。2011年,全球化妆品连锁店丝芙兰(Sephora)开始销售韩国美容产品。其他零售连锁店也纷纷效仿,包括Urban Outfitters、Ulta和药品连锁店CVS,它们都在兜售含有菊花和人参等成份的产品。美国人是怎么开始将韩国视为美丽皮肤的伊甸园的呢?要知道仅在几十年前,美国人还觉得那里很穷,空气污染严重?

I lived in Seoul from ages 12 to 18. South Korea was still a developing country when I arrived in 1985, when its inflation-adjusted per capita G.D.P. was about one-fourth of what it is today. Its growing pains showed in the country’s dodgy goods.

我从12岁到18岁一直住在首尔。1985年,我到韩国时,它还是一个发展中国家,当时它的经通胀修正人均GDP是现在的四分之一。它的成长之痛体现在它拙劣的商品上。

These days, K-beauty products come in sculptured packaging and smell like an upscale spa. But when I was growing up, Korean skin creams were all the same shade of toilet-paper pink, and they smelled like Glade PlugIns. Any Korean with means used French and American cosmetics (and the Japanese brand Shiseido). No one had ever heard of such a thing as a 12-step regime.

如今,韩国的美容产品有着精致的包装,闻起来就像高档水疗产品。但是在我小时候,韩国的润肤霜都是同样的手纸般的淡粉色,闻起来像佳丽(Glade)牌车用香水。但凡有点本事的韩国人都使用法国和美国的化妆品(还有日本品牌资生堂[Shiseido])。当时,没人听说过还有12步护肤法这回事。

That all changed in the early 1990s. South Korea became wealthy; the quality of everything from cars to CD players improved. Then, in 1998, spurred by the Asian financial crisis, the Korean government altered its economic strategy, branching out from heavy industry and electronics-focused conglomerates into pop culture businesses. Korea was rebranded a “cool” country.

到了上世纪90年代初,一切都变了。韩国变富了。从汽车到CD播放机,所有产品的质量都提高了。然后,到了1998年,在亚洲金融危机的刺激下,韩国政府改变了经济战略,将重心从重工业和电子企业集团转向流行文化公司。韩国被重新塑造成一个“酷”的国家。

Most of this new “coolness” took the form of mass-produced and exported cinema, television and pop music. But all Korean industries benefited. The popular Korean beauty chains Innisfree and the Face Shop both opened in the early 2000s — around the same time that we first started hearing about the Korean triple cleanse.

它的这种新的“酷”形象主要源于批量生产和出口的电影、电视和流行音乐。不过,韩国所有的产业都从中受益。韩国热门美容连锁店悦诗风吟(Innisfree)和菲诗小铺(Face Shop)都是在21世纪初创立的——也大约是在那个时候,我们第一次听说韩式三重净化。

Until very recently, K-beauty’s presence in the West was largely a matter of prestige, not money. It was the Asian market that really mattered, especially China. It still does: In 2016, China bought about 38 percent of K-beauty exports and Hong Kong 30 percent, according to Kotra.

直到不久前,韩国美容产品在西方还只是名气大,并不是很赚钱。对它来说,真正重要的是亚洲市场,尤其是中国。现在依然如此:根据韩国贸易投资振兴公社的数据,2016年,中国购买了约38%的韩国美容出口产品,香港购买了30%。

And K-beauty, too, has moved aggressively. Innisfree, which offers products from the volcanic Korean island of Jeju, opened a Manhattan branch in September. AmorePacific, one of South Korea’s oldest beauty companies, plans to open 100 American branches of its retail chain Aritaum, a sort of Korean Sephora, within the next three years.

韩国美容业也大力行动。9月,经营火山岛屿济州岛出品的悦诗风吟在曼哈顿开张。韩国历史最悠久的美容公司爱茉莉太平洋(AmorePacific)计划用接来下的三年时间在美国开100家Aritaum。后者是其零售连锁店,类似于韩国的丝芙兰(Sephora)。

It’s clear what the K-beauty industry wants from the West: a market that isn’t fraught with messy geopolitics. But what explains why K-beauty has been embraced in the West with such gusto? Has the old Orientalist belief in ancient Asian beauty secrets struck again? There are certainly echoes of this in the marketing. Sulwhasoo, part of the AmorePacific family, advertises its products as containing “Korean herbal medicine drawn from Asian wisdom.”

显然,韩国美容业希望从西方得到的是:一个没有充满纠缠不清的地缘政治的市场。但怎么解释韩国美容在西方大受欢迎呢?是重新燃起了对古代亚洲美容秘诀的东方主义信仰吗?营销中必然有这种声音。爱茉莉太平洋家族中的雪花秀(Sulwhasoo)的广告宣称其产品蕴含“源自亚洲智慧的韩国草药”。

Or is it because Korean women themselves, with their glowing complexions, are serving as walking advertisements for the power of K-beauty? If so, America, you’ve been had: ginseng and Jeju volcano water are not the whole story behind that flawless skin.

还是因为容光焕发的韩国女性本身充当了韩国美容效果的活广告?若是如此,美国,你上当了:人参和济州岛火山水并非皮肤完美无瑕背后的全部原因。

For the past several years, beauty-obsessed South Korea has been among the world’s capitals of cosmetic surgery. Some 20 percent of Korean women have had some form of work done.

过去几年,醉心于美容的韩国已经位列全球整容手术之都了。大约20%的韩国女性做过某种形式的整容手术。

Then, there’s Botox. Several Korean news outlets this year reported a study finding that 42 percent of Korean women ages 21 to 55 have had either Botox or filler injections.

然后就是保妥适(Botox)。几家韩国新闻媒体今年报道的一项研究发现,21到45岁的韩国女性中,42%的人要么用过保妥适,要么注射过填充剂。

Many wrinkle creams worldwide contain retinol, a vitamin A derivative that is harmless in small doses but not large ones. Some Korean cosmetics contain concentrations of retinol as high as 3.8 percent — about twice that of their highest-concentrated American counterparts.

全球很多抗皱霜都含有视黄醇。这是一种维生素A衍生物,少量使用无害,但不能大量使用。一些韩国化妆品的视黄醇含量高达3.8%,大约是美国含量最高的同类产品的两倍。

Ancient beauty secrets, or Accutane? Korean doctors prescribe isotretinoin-based acne medicine “indiscriminately,” to quote the Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo, despite the risk of serious side effects.

是古老的美丽秘诀,还是异维A酸?韩国报纸《中央日报》(JoongAng Ilbo)称,尽管存在产生严重的副作用风险,韩国医生仍会“随意”开以异维A酸为基础的痤疮药。

If there are such things as “Korean beauty secrets” they seem to amount to this: Put a lot of time, money and energy into your skin, and you’ll probably see results.

如果有“韩国美容秘密”这种东西,它们似乎应该相当于:在皮肤上投入大量时间、金钱和精力,你可能就会看到效果。

But what do I know? I’m the one putting snail slime on my face.

但是别太把我的话当回事。我可是个把蜗牛黏液抹在脸上的人。

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