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North Korea implements nationwide ban on red lipstick: Here's why

Popular international fashion and cosmetic brands are prohibited by the government, and noncompliance carries harsh consequences.

Written by  Annesha Barua -- May 13th 2024 12:31 PM
North Korea implements nationwide ban on red lipstick: Here's why

North Korea implements nationwide ban on red lipstick: Here's why

PTC News Desk: Kim Jong Un's North Korea imposes harsh, frequently peculiar restrictions that even affect clothing choices. Popular international fashion and cosmetic brands are prohibited by the government, and non-compliance carries harsh consequences. And now red lipstick is prohibited by the North Korean authorities. 

Why is red lipstick prohibited in North Korea?


Although red has historically been associated with Communism, North Korea has outlawed red lipstick because its leaders see it as a representation of capitalism rather than Communist principles. In North Korea, in fact, wearing a lot of makeup is frowned upon and considered an indication of Western influence.

But this prohibition is not as simple as it seems. The leadership is concerned that women who use red lipstick may come across as overly attractive, which would be in opposition to the government's policy of maintaining simplicity and modesty. Therefore, the rule only permits women to wear a limited amount of cosmetics. 

Red lipstick is just one aspect of North Korea's restrictive personal image policy. A number of additional products and haircuts that are purportedly associated with capitalist philosophy have been outlawed in recent years by the Kim Jong Un government, including body piercings, long hair for women, and thin or blue jeans. Only state-approved hairstyles for women and men are permitted.

Some bans, meanwhile, are more subjective than ideological. According to reports, the reason why some fashion items are forbidden—such as black trench coats or Kim Jong Un's iconic swept-back hairstyle—is because the leader of the nation does not want his image to be emulated. They have the "Gyuchaldae," or fashion police, who closely monitor everyone's appearance in order to ensure that individuals abide by these regulations. 

What occurs if individuals disregard these guidelines?

Individuals who attempt to cross these lines—for example, by donning blue jeans—may suffer dire repercussions. They could receive a fee, be stopped in public, be disciplined, or have their garments torn to the point where they are no longer fit for them. 

- With inputs from agencies

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