K-beauty and K-pop
An industry worth over a staggering $ 13.1 billion in 2018, it’s no surprise that the Korean beauty market is among the top 10 in the world.
With their dewy skin, bright palettes of makeup, and an excess that’s all too fashionable, music sensations such as BTS and other K-pop stars have led to an international clamour for the Korean aesthetic – a punk-inspired edge that’s all about bold and bright colours.
Both these forces have combined to create a series of looks that are now, among the hottest in town. With countless influencers doing how-to tutorials and endorsing thousands of Korean products online, K-pop makeup trends can be seen on almost every corner of the internet.
This week, we took a look at a few of the standout features of this aesthetic and even sought some advice on how these looks can be applied. Dig in to find out!
Skin care is everything
Given the attention most soap stars and singers draw to their face, having a flawless complexion is number one on the agenda. In this regard, the Korean makeup movement has trained a light on an important area in beauty routines – skin care.
Facial skin care products, in fact, comprised half of the industry’s total market share and are projected to be worth around $ 7.2 billion by 2020.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that K-beauty is leveraging revolutionary cosmetic technology to change the way we care for our skin. Some of these include the use of aloe instead of water as a base for intense nourishment and the use of rubber masks instead of sheet paper masks. The latter is a notable innovation – it effectively absorbs nutrients and fermented botanicals when applied onto the skin.
The Koreans also popularised the all-in-one foundation, moisturiser, sunscreen, and anti-aging, BB cream. These come with air cushion compact – a technology now popularised by a number of Yves Saint Laurent and Nordstrom foundations – making absorption significantly easier.
Neon dyes and edgy bobs
From ultraviolet hues of violet to fiery oranges, brightly dyed hair is a huge part of the Korean pop music scene.
With local singing sensations dying their locks in various shades of shocking pink and other hues of the rainbow – and looking absolutely flawless in the process – this is a trend that’s as Korean as they come. Spray-painted buzz cuts are also a thing. Something more surprising? They actually look decent when done right.
If you’re feeling a little adventurous but don’t want to make a long-term commitment to eye-grabbing hair colours, maybe try a wig – they look just as good and are probably a fraction of the cost of a good dye.
Another trend is the fierce bob many female artists are now styling. Worn either dead straight or in more romantic waves, this look, while well-worn out, looks edgy when framing the faces of Korea’s most desirable.
Bright and bold makeup
K-pop icons are known to deck bright and bold colours from their eyes to their lips. When they’re not wearing startling contacts, you can best bet they’re giving life to makeup trends most would shy away from. From orange blush to dyed eyebrows, too much is never enough – although in this case, it actually works.
If you like to dabble in a K-poppin’ look, there are a few ways to do your own take of these styles. When we spoke to Hajara Shabbeer, the makeup extraordinaire who goes by the handle, @artistry_by_h, on Instagram, she advises that you try a bright, eye-grabbing colour on your lips – like deep mauve or a dusty rose – to compliment the Sri Lankan skin tone.
For eye makeup that’s straight out of a Korean music video, she recommended that you dust your lids with bronze or rose gold – perfect for that melanin-soaked skin tone we’re blessed with! Glitter eyeliner is also popular, adding that “extra” touch K-pop beauty trends are renowned for.
Making a statement with the right makeup is all a part of the Korean pop scene. Another way local singers like to stand out is with the use of bright cheek art. Here, simple or overstated art – whether in the form of text, marsupial creatures, or anything of your fancy – are pasted smack in the middle of your face.
Very much like the artful excess that characterises global fashion houses such as Gucci and Versace, K-pop stars go hard when it comes to their makeup – even adorning cartoon-like drawings on their faces. If you’re dying to try this look, our only advice is go hard or go home!
Another popular statement to make in Seoul is facial piercings – especially for guys. When these are paired with light hair colours and tasteful makeup, they combine to create an androgynous look that’s very much in vogue.
Most stars go for temporary piercings or clip-on jewellery, giving them the option of toning down their look when they need to. If you’re feeling adventurous, find some temporary costume jewellery for your face – pair it with bold eye makeup for a look that’s straight from the stages of Korea!