Korean makeup is making rounds in the beauty industry, and people all around the world are trying to achieve a seamless ‘Korean Look. Renowned for its fresh and youthful aesthetic, it has taken the beauty world by storm. Rooted in the philosophy of enhancing natural beauty, Korean beauty (K-beauty) products and techniques emphasize radiant skin, gradient lips, and subtle, dewy finishes. In this guide, we’ll delve into the key elements of Korean makeup, exploring skincare as the foundation, mastering the art of base makeup, captivating eye looks, and achieving the coveted gradient lips.
1. Skincare as the Canvas
Korean makeup prioritizes skin over everything, so much so that their makeup also contains skincare. The foundation of Korean makeup lies in the belief that healthy, radiant skin is the key to a flawless look. A thorough skincare routine is essential before applying makeup. The 10-step Korean skincare routine, which includes cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing, provides a smooth canvas for makeup application.
- Cleansing – Start with an oil-based cleanser to remove makeup and sunscreen, followed by a water-based cleanser to eliminate impurities
- Toning – Use a hydrating toner to balance the skin’s pH levels and prepare it for the next steps
- Exfoliating – Gently exfoliate to remove dead skin cells, promoting a smoother texture.
- Moisturizing – Apply a lightweight, hydrating moisturizer to lock in moisture.
2. Mastering Base Makeup
The Korean makeup slogan is “Less Is More”. Korean base makeup focuses on achieving a natural, luminous complexion. The goal is to create a “glass skin” effect, characterized by a dewy, translucent finish.
- BB Creams and Cushion Compacts – These lightweight alternatives to foundation provide coverage while maintaining a natural look. Cushion compacts, in particular, offer easy application and portability.
- Concealer – Use concealer sparingly to cover blemishes or dark circles, ensuring it blends seamlessly with your base.
- Blush and Highlighter – Apply cream or liquid blush for a youthful flush. Highlighter is used strategically on the high points of the face to enhance the dewy glow.
3. Captivating Eye Looks
The eyes are the focal point of every makeup look. Korean eye makeup often emphasizes bright, doe-eyed looks. The focus is on enhancing the eyes without heavy, dramatic techniques. Korean eyes are light and simple. In Korean makeup, emphasis is laid on light shades such as blush, light browns and pinks.
- Eyebrows – in Korean makeup eyebrows are not overdramatized but are shaped subtly. Natural, straight-across eyebrows are favoured. Use a brow pencil or powder to define and fill in sparse areas.
- Eye shadow – soft, neutral tones or subtle shimmers are commonly used. Gradient eye shadow techniques, where colour is concentrated near the lash line and fades upwards, create an illusion of larger eyes.
- Eye tapes – Korean people often use eye tapes to open up their eyes and make them look larger. If you have monolids then using these eye tapes will give the illusion of double eyelids
- Eyeliner – Opt for thin lines or tight lining to define the eyes without overwhelming them. For a puppy-eyed look, extend the liner slightly downward at the outer corners
- Mascara – Curl lashes and apply mascara for an open-eyed appearance. False lashes are optional, but if used, they are often natural-looking and focused on the outer corners.
4. Achieving Gradient Lips
The gradient lip, known as “gradation lips” in Korean beauty, is a signature look that imparts a youthful and soft appearance. Korean makeup uses natural lip products, unlike the American trend of big full lips Korean makeup prefers gradient lips.
- Lip Tints and Balms – Begin with a lip tint or balm for a natural, flushed look. Apply more colour to the centre of the lips and blend outward using a fingertip or a cotton swab.
- Ombré Effect – To enhance the gradient effect, use a lighter shade in the centre and a slightly darker shade toward the edges.
- Gloss – A touch of lip gloss in the centre adds dimension and enhances the plump, youthful effect.
5. Setting the Look
Korean makeup places importance on setting the look without compromising the dewy finish to achieve the ultimate glass skin look.
- Setting Spray – Use a setting spray with a dewy finish to lock in the makeup and maintain a fresh look throughout the day.
- Blotting Paper – Combat excess shine with blotting paper, focusing on the T-zone while preserving the radiant glow on the rest of the face.
With the increase in popularity of Korean makeup, this guide will help you achieve the ideal look. Korean makeup transcends trends, embodying a timeless elegance that celebrates individuality and enhances natural beauty. The emphasis on skincare, a luminous base, captivating eyes, and gradient lips creates a look that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also reflects the holistic approach of K-beauty. As you embark on your journey into the world of Korean makeup, remember that experimentation and embracing your unique features are key to achieving the coveted K-beauty glow.