Korean Sun Visor – East Asia


Dissatisfaction with the colour of one’s own skin is not a new phenomenon. In the West, a tan can improve an individual’s perceived attractiveness, making them emanate a healthy glow. Subconsciously we think tanned people so profoundly successful in life that they can loll about on a beach catching rays and sipping piña coladas all day rather than having to labour year-long under the fluorescent tubes of a drab office in Halifax.


Since the harmful effects of the Sun’s UV rays have become more widely known, so the fake-tan industry has grown into the bronze-coloured beast it is today.

Go easy on the St. Tropez or risk ‘the George Hamilton Effect’

Self-tanning products are pretty good these days, although some people still seem to prefer the bright orange tones of an Oompa-loompa.

Staff at the Chocolate Factory had limited access to today’s advanced self-tanning products

…and some are so impatient to achieve their fraudulent tan that they clearly don’t take the time to read the instructions on the bottle.

Bovril can also make a nice gravy-drink

In East Asian countries, however, having a lighter skin tone is generally more desirable, partly because having a tan can be seen as a sign of field-toiling poverty, lower social standing, and old age (heaven forbid).

Factoid: Japanese Geishas were entertainers, and originally painted their faces white so facial expressions could be more easily discerned in dim candle-light

Women in this part of the world will sometimes go to great lengths and spend vast sums on skin-whitening products, some of which are equally as dangerous as the UV rays themselves.

Modern film and pop celebrities in countries such as Thailand, Korea, China and Japan are almost ubiquitous in having pale skin, and this is fuelling the public’s desire for a marshmallow-white complexion. To try and achieve this look for themselves, an increasing number of people are choosing to hide behind slightly menacing full-facial visors when out in the sun’s merciless glare.

Whatever you do, don’t sneeze

In Japan, these visors are worn almost exclusively by middle-aged ladies on bicycles,  where an ordinary sun hat could easily get blown off whilst cycling about town. These women have become known affectionately as ‘vader ladies’, since they seem to prefer the fully opaque black style of visor.

“I find your lack of faith disturbing”

Japanese motorists tend to give Vader Ladies a wide berth, since it’s hard to tell if they’ve seen the oncoming vehicle or not. And you do NOT want to upset a Vader Lady.

The full-facial visor; also useful for concealing questionable table manners

But despite what our social conditioning tries to tell us, the truth is that beauty comes in all shades, and it shines out from beneath the skin. Feeling the Sun’s warmth on your face is one of the great pleasures in life. It’s up there with cheese on toast, clean bedsheets, kicking your shoes off after a long day, or seeing somebody else step in dogshit.