Koreans women in general are very into beauty. It's not a "Western beauty standards" thing; it's not a post-war affluence thing; it's pretty much part of the culture. Like if you go back in history, Koreans have always promoted "healthy" food tips and fads, and until the 90s, middle-age ajuhmmas used to wear pounds and pounds of makeup. Even when I was in junior high, my Korean friends were the first to really put on the makeup, and then in high school, they were WAY ahead of everybody else in makeup technique, skin, and Euro-fashion department. They are very critical of female actresses and models. It's not the men who demand that these K-drama actresses playing girls next door look fashion print beautiful -- it's the female audience.
Like if you visit Popseoul, that's very mild compared to how most of my friends were with actresses. Or put it another way, I got used to seeing Song Hye Kyo as "chubby" and "stocky" (whereas, almost without question, even when my friends acknowledged her natural beauty. It's just part of the culture (moreso than in the West) -- you are never, ever beautiful enough.
Whereas, say, my brother, my dad (heck even my mom) and all my Chinese friends, they find a lot of the Korean actresses (Song Hye Kyo, Kim Hee Sun, Lee Young Ae, ESPECIALLY Jun Ji-hyu) just stunning. Not just "cute", not just "fresh faced", but more like "oh my God, she is the most beautiful woman I've ever seen in my life." Like a combination of refined, but natural feminine elegance that is both West and East. Moreso when the Korean actress hits her 30s and 40s, they look almost "ageless." They of course don't see the amount of work put into mounting that wall of beauty.
Koreans look better to me than other Asians because their features tend to be more defined, whereas Chinese, Vietnamese etc. usually have a smoother, flatter look.
I think the one thing that really sets Korean actresses differently from other Asian countries is the emphasis on the high, longer nose. That makes a bigger difference than eyelid surgery or losing weight to develop a V-line.
Like, if you've seen before/after shots of Hwang Hee, the change is amazing.
It's really the nose that changes how his whole face works. And, yeah, I think he looks more handsome than before (quite the hottie then too), even if he somehow looks less Asian for it.