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Move over Chanel: North Korea's 'raccoon eye makers' get state push

Updated : 2019-08-08 10:29:31

North Korea is encouraging its beauty-conscious middle-class women to choose domestic cosmetics over foreign brands in an effort to boost self-reliance as international sanctions deepen. Promoting home-grown beauty has been a political strategy since the days of state founder Kim Il Sung, but has become more focused under his foreign-educated grandson, Kim Jong Un. The international popularity in recent years of South Korea's K-beauty trend - innovative cosmetic products with natural ingredients such as ginseng and snail slime - has added momentum, say defectors who fled the North and experts who study the isolated state.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju visit a cosmetics factory in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.  North Korea is encouraging its beauty-conscious middle class women to choose domestic cosmetics over foreign brands in an effort to boost self-reliance as international sanctions deepen. Promoting home-grown beauty has been a political strategy since the days of state founder Kim Il Sung, but has become more focused under his foreign-educated grandson, Kim Jong Un. KCNA/via REUTERS
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol Ju visit a cosmetics factory in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang.  North Korea is encouraging its beauty-conscious middle class women to choose domestic cosmetics over foreign brands in an effort to boost self-reliance as international sanctions deepen. Promoting home-grown beauty has been a political strategy since the days of state founder Kim Il Sung, but has become more focused under his foreign-educated grandson, Kim Jong Un. KCNA/via REUTERS
North Korean cosmetic products (front line) are seen on a dressing table in Seoul, South Korea. The international popularity in recent years of South Korea's K-beauty trend - innovative cosmetic products with natural ingredients such as ginseng and snail slime - has added momentum, say defectors who fled the North and experts who study the isolated state. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
North Korean cosmetic products (front line) are seen on a dressing table in Seoul, South Korea. The international popularity in recent years of South Korea's K-beauty trend - innovative cosmetic products with natural ingredients such as ginseng and snail slime - has added momentum, say defectors who fled the North and experts who study the isolated state. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
The Moranbong Band, an all-female North Korean pop band formed by leader Kim Jong Un, performs at a celebratory concert marking the end of the 7th Workers' Party Congress in Pyongyang. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo
The Moranbong Band, an all-female North Korean pop band formed by leader Kim Jong Un, performs at a celebratory concert marking the end of the 7th Workers' Party Congress in Pyongyang. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo
Kang Na-ra, a North Korean defector who is now a beauty YouTuber, shows North Korean cosmetic products, in Seoul. North Korea’s state-run television KRT aired a video about Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory showing a woman replacing Chanel products with domestic products instead. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Kang Na-ra, a North Korean defector who is now a beauty YouTuber, shows North Korean cosmetic products, in Seoul. North Korea’s state-run television KRT aired a video about Pyongyang Cosmetics Factory showing a woman replacing Chanel products with domestic products instead. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
North Korea has long regulated its citizens' appearance. Hair dyeing, blue jeans and clothes with writing in English were banned under Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, as the reclusive country tried to keep western influences out. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
North Korea has long regulated its citizens' appearance. Hair dyeing, blue jeans and clothes with writing in English were banned under Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, as the reclusive country tried to keep western influences out. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Pyongyang Cosmetic Factory shipped its first batch of Unhasu brand cosmetics to a new boutique in Moscow in May, Russian media reported. 'Korean Care', another Russian cosmetics shop selling South Korean products online, started importing North Korean beauty products directly from Pyongyang last year. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Pyongyang Cosmetic Factory shipped its first batch of Unhasu brand cosmetics to a new boutique in Moscow in May, Russian media reported. 'Korean Care', another Russian cosmetics shop selling South Korean products online, started importing North Korean beauty products directly from Pyongyang last year. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
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