Friday, May 25, 2012

The Basics of Korean Makeup, Insights and Tips

DISCLAIMER: This is not a hundred percent accurate coz for one, I’m not Korean, and two, im not a professionalJ But most of it are base on research and some personal observations in account for my KPOP obsession and some reliable testimonials from my Korean friends at school.

The Korean makeup is indeed a trend nowadays not only in Asia but suprisingly, in western countries as well.  I really couldn’t blame such fanaticism over this type of makeup and makeup routine because damn it who doesn’t want a fresh, flawless face, not to mention a youthful glow even after a day of nerve-racking work? Well I scream, I DO!!

So, what are the basics in a Korean makeup routine?

First, a clean,clear face is an essential step to achieve that fresh look. Not only Koreans but most of the people from East Asia (like China and Japan) have this fair to white complexion with really fine pores that some even calls it the porcelain skin. Of course climate is a huge factor but I do think East Asian girls, Koreans in particular are so into their looks nowadays that they are able to practice various skin care routines that are effective in maintaining and enhancing their skin.  

Second, a staple in Korean makeup, BB cream. I know most of us are fully aware of the history and whatnots of this infamous product but yes, the magic of Korean makeup happens when this liquid foundation-slash-moisturizer-slash-sunscreen  is applied to the face and with the right amount and choice of shade for your complexion--- voila! You’ll have that glowing, dewy skin we usually see on Korean actresses and Kpop artists on TV.

A variety of BB creams now available in the market
Actress Shin Se Kyung with her flawless, dewy face.


Another is their use of black eyeliners, may it be liquid, gel or in pencil form to enhance and enlarge their eyes.  For a fresh and subtle day look, Koreans are known for tightlining their eyes. Tightlining is a method of lining the existing spaces between the lashes or lining as close as possible to the lash line. This will give you bigger, brighter, and more youthful eyes. This method actually creates an “invisible” eye makeup look that makes uswonder how come Korean actresses have these defined looking eyes but it’s as if they re not wearing any.

Also, you wound’t see a lot of them wear dark or even bold color eyeshadows (Okay I know what you’re thinking, and yes girls from 2NE1 is not an exception. On normal days, I assume Park Bom wouldn’t even think of sporting her usual black eye look inside a ramyun shop). They always go for au naturel by only applying neutral colors or champaigne or any light shimmer eyeshadow to highlight the lids. Sometimes they would choose not to put any.
See how girl group f(x) Krystal Jung's eyes are tightlined? There is obvious definition on the upper lids without dramatically lining the eyes. It's almost not there at all! Also, a a very light eyeshadow finishes a subtle look.

Koreans have a different way of grooming and styling their brows which is also getting popular these days hence the name, Korean eyebrows. The typical Korean eyebrows are tousled, bushy, and straight, yes and some of it can be DEAD-ON straight. I personally am fascinated on how they could actually pull off this look without looking like a constipated clown. Frankly, I learned to embrace my genetically straight brows because of this trend. This eyebrow style gives you that innocent, youthful look, perfect for giving definition to the eyes.

Actress Moon Geun Young and her oh so bushy brows

Straight brows of singer IU

Since most of them have fair complexion, they use blushes with shades ofpink, peach and coral to finish the look just enough to bring out a healthy glow. Cheek tints are also popular for that natural flushed look. Also, I observe that they are fond of putting highlighters or illuminators on the high points of their faces. It gives them that fresher, dewy-er, porcelain skin finish.

Look how that peachy blush makes actress Park Shin Hye look youthful without overpowering the entire look.

Most Korean lips if not thin, are small yet plump (I hope I’m not the only one who notices that. I guess it has something to do with their speech,idk) Also,most of them have  light colored lips. Lip tints are popular and you can usually see them wear that ‘just bitten’ look using berry lip tints, giving them a natural and for lack of a better term, cute pout. For lippies, they would always go for matte in shades of pink and peach.

The just bitten look by actress Goo Hye Sun. Notice how the tint is directed towards the inner portion of the lips, creating a bitten look.

I know most of us have been ogling about this trend since god knows when but I would honestly say that for some who actually want to transform and morph their faces to look like Koreans but still looking au naturel, well I won’t say it’s impossible but it is kind of hard to pull this look off. It really depends on the texture of the skin, complexion---basically the overall features.  But if you’re someone who is only looking for a fresh, youthful look without trying too hard to look like someone who is pulled out of a Korean drama, you can do a little switch-up on this Korean makeup routine.

Like BB creams for example. Not all BB creams have good coverage and some couldn’t just compliment your skin color. Why struggle in buying and wasting your time and money in BB’s that aren’t for you if you have a liquid foundation just around the corner with better coverage and one that will really compliment your skin color. Lightly sweep a highlighter to the high points of the face or you can use an illuminator as well to achieve that fresh, dewy look BB creams provide.

If you have naturally dark or red lips, use a lip concealer like Etude House’s Color Me Nude Lip Concealer (put lip balm before applying the lip concealer to avoid drying or flaking of the lips)  to neutralize the color of the lips before applying any lip color of choice especially if you want to put a lighter one on your lips. Remember that you want to achieve that fresh , natural look not that pale, anemic look so go for the lip color that will compliment your skin. Pigments are important so lay off the nude lippies if you’re not on party mode or not planning to troll in a hospital or something .

I hope these little tips of mine helped you. I’ll start posting tutorials to achieve this look without really trying so hard, especially my girls from the tropics who are struggling to achieve this look without looking deep fried at the end of the day. Remember , we live in a climate that is meant for any skin to break out and Koreans, well they live in such a  lovely climate and ha-- 

okay, let’s not talk about this anymore.

Hmm I think I’m in the mood for a Korean eyebrow tutorial tomorrow then the eyes the following day (coz those prolly are the most korean-ish about me other than being Lee Donghae's wifey. //gets bricked.

Til next timeJ


  1. Wow friend! This is really helpful. Personally, I am curious on what BB creams brands have great coverage, effective and really lasts long? You know I am not good in make-ups. I just love lipsticks and all that colorful lippies. That's it! Haha!

    I am also curious with the tightlining thing! Hope you can show us a tutorial!

    More power!

  2. Koreans usually are tan and spend exorbitant amounts of money on lightening their skin plus bb creams alone are junk, korean women will eat poo for good skin. They just wear 3 tons of makeup and brush their skin in olive oil at the end, i know coz i watch my gf do it everyday. takes 2 hours.

  3. Hey livingston, i would suggest your girl friend to use Wholesale Cosmetics, which saves her time and enhances her beauty.

  4. These are very useful tips of makeup and beauty and cute photos as well. I will recommend to my friends for reading this blog.

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  6. Koreans are also great in makeup that's why I always inspired them every time I saw them. I changed my old brush with these new set that I bought on this website and I think my new brush are much better because they are complete set that I can used in any angle of my face.