Do Korean "K‐Pop" Style Makeup

Everyone has an ideal person that they want to be like, and standards of beauty they'd like to live up to. With the rising popularity of Korean music and TV, it's no surprise that many girls find themselves liking the Korean makeup style or K-Pop trends. This article goes over makeup, skincare, and hair styling. Please be aware, though, that it is considered inappropriate to attempt to look like a certain race or nationality that you are not, and that this article simply attempts to teach you techniques that are worn by Korean girls--it's not helping you look more Korean.


Basic Makeup and Skin Care

  1. Assemble an arsenal of beauty products. Get skin care products, including a lotion which makes your skin moist, a primer base (pore cover), a liquid foundation like BB cream, and face powder. You will also need black or brown eyeliner, eye shadows, eyebrow liner, teardrop liner which is kind of a glitter popular among Korean girls, and lip tint.
    • To get a more authentic Korean look, shop at Korean stores or online, or get product recommendations from your Korean friends. South Korea produces a lot of innovative new beauty products like the cushion compact case, so pay attention to trends and buy Korean products.
  2. Get Skin Like a Korean. Koreans value clear, dewy skin, so set up an extensive skin care routine to make sure your skin is hydrated, clear, and free from oils, pimples, or any other blemishes.
    • Start by removing all makeup. Use an oil cleanser to clean your face thoroughly, then exfoliate with a natural scrub. Use a toner or refresher, an ampoule or essence to brighten your skin, and a sheet mask to hydrate your skin. Pat rather than rub eye cream around your eyes, apply a layer of moisturizer, and then add a night cream to help your skin refresh overnight.[1]
  3. Get your eyebrows waxed. Many Korean girls wear their eyebrows straight and thick, so waxing your eyebrows will help achieve the look. In addition, shaping your eyebrows differently can affect the perception of your overall face, so it's important to choose a style that will enhance your face shape.[2] Use your eyebrows as an easy way to make your face structure look more Korean.
  4. Create a base layer. Use lotion and a primer base, which will help reduce the look of pores. Apply a foundation with SPF, such as a BB cream. Then add face powder to finish your base. Consider using an anti-sebum powder, which reduces oil on your face. This is a very commonly-used product in South Korea.
  5. Apply eye shadow. Use any color you want, but a medium shade of brown will often look best. Use a darker shade near the eye and on the outside edge of your eyelash to create a 3D appearance.
  6. Add eyeliner. Add wings by extending it past the end of the eye on the outside and turning it slightly up, to give you almost a catlike look. Then extend your eyeliner on the inside of the eye no more than 3 mm, just below your tear duct. This will widen and flatten your eyes, which is one of the defining features of Korean makeup.
    • Apply teardrop eyeliner underneath your eyes to give them a sparkling look that is very Korean. Popular colors include: gold, white, and cream.
  7. Add mascara and a cherry lip gloss to complete the look. Remember, this is just your basic makeup. Focus on different aspects of your makeup to achieve different effects. Pick aspects of your face that look most Korean to emphasize with your makeup, or focus on using your makeup to hide or change other areas.

Perfect Your Hair

  1. Understand that you don't need to dye your hair brown or black. The goal of this article isn't to look more ethnically Korean, it's to use Korean beauty techniques to make you look the way you want to look. Also, Kpop artists dye their hair very frequently, so in pop culture, hair color is much more varied than you'd think.
  2. Style your hair to show off your face structure. The way you wear your hair can highlight certain aspects of your face, so make sure you pick the best haircuts and styles to go with your face structure.
  3. Observe Korean hairstyles to find your favorites. Pay attention to trends in Korean hairstyles and adopt those that will work best for you. Popular styles include long straight hair with bangs, long and wavy hair with a center part, short cropped hair, and clips or large bows as hair accessories.

Style Your Eyes

  1. Understand that there is no need to change your eye color. Again, although Koreans typically have dark brown eyes, there is no need to change your eye color. In fact, many Kpop artists occasionally wear colored contacts to change their eye color to look blue or light brown. Colored contacts won't affect how you see, and you generally won't need a prescription to get them.
  2. Wear circle contacts to make your pupils look bigger. This is a recent trend in South Korea and throughout Asia.[3] Wearing these contacts will help you fit into Korean beauty standards, which emphasize large, puppy-dog eyes.
    • Contacts can be expensive and, if you have never used them before, dangerous to put on, so make sure you're serious about contacts before you buy them. Learn how to use them before trying to put them on yourself.
  3. Understand that double eyelids are considered pretty in Korea. Despite common belief, there is no stereotypical "Asian eye"--however, because double eyelids are generally seen as more desirable than monolids, it's become more and more popular to try to get double eyelids. In fact, it's one of the most popular cosmetic surgeries in South Korea. However, you can still achieve the look without surgery. There are many special glues or tapes available to create it.
    • As with all products, be careful when using tapes or glues for extended periods of time. They can damage your eyes and face if used continually, causing sagging eyelids or eye inflammation.
    • It isn't necessary to change your monolids if you have them, though, because many celebrities and many more average people choose to be happy with the way they look naturally. Some examples of monolid celebrities include: soloists Baek Ah Yeon and Boa, and Minah from Girl's Day.
  4. Use makeup to create big Get Dolly Eyes. Highlight under your eyebrows with a highlighting makeup pen to make your eyes look big and innocent. Finish the look with your favorite eyeshadow and eyeliner to make you look Korean.
  5. Create cat eyes for a classic Korean look. Extend your eyeliner upwards away from your eye to create a dramatic, catlike look. Fill it in with smoky eyeshadow to complete the effect.
  6. Try puppy-dog eyes to make you look younger. [4] This recent style emphasizes youth and vitality rather than the dramatic sensuality of the cat eye. Achieve this look by extending your eyeliner downwards from the outside corner of your eye to form a triangle. Fill it in with eyeliner or a dark eyeshadow for a more subtle look.
  7. Try out aegyo sal, a style that emphasizes little puffs of fat under the eyes to make you look young and innocent.[5] This style works well with puppy eyes or your basic makeup to help you reach more Korean beauty standards. Achieve this look with eyeliner or dark eyeshadow carefully applied about half a centimeter below the bottom of your eye.

Make Your Lips Look Korean

  1. Avoid matte lip looks. As mentioned before, having a dewy, moist look is essential for Korean beauty. Lip glosses and tints, rather than a drier lipstick, are the way to go. Although very natural makeup looks are the norm, many people wear bright red lip gloss/lip tint.
  2. Use Do Gradients Lip Makeup. This is a style first used on a Korean drama that has since grown hugely popular.[6] Apply a bright pink color lipstick to the inside of your lips. Apply a little foundation to the outside of your lips. Blend the two products across your lips, so that they form a consistent gradient. Once you've gotten practice, try other colors like red, orange, peach, or brighter pinks. This is probably the most ubiquitous Korean beauty trend. Despite its popularity, it's sometimes considered a bit weird-looking to Westerners, so don't be surprised if you get confused glances.

Sources and Citations

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