Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, has expanded into all areas of life, with one of the newest branches of hallyu being K-beauty, the use of Korean cosmetics and Korean make-up styles. K-beauty really started to blossom in 2015, with Korean products being praised for their healthy composition, powerful effect, and affordable price. Of course, K-beauty isn’t just related to consumerism; it also encompasses the use of Korean make-up styles, such as mul-gwang or water-light, which can easily be done at home. If you want to look just like your favorite hallyu idol, then follow along with our helpful tutorial!
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As the saying goes, “well begun is half done,” and in terms of K-beauty, that means laying a solid foundation to apply the cosmetics. Most Koreans implement an extensive skin care regime, which is the secret to their youthful appearance. If you want a beautiful K-beauty look, you have to start with moisturizing your face.
- Skin care: Korean skin care is more than just washing your face; after washing, you should also apply toner, lotion, and a watery cream for extra hydration. Depending on your skin type and condition, you may also want to apply essence, nourishing cream, or eye cream. Before applying any cosmetics, be sure to read their instructions for use, as the order may vary by brand and product.
- Base make-up: After properly moisturizing your skin, we can start on applying make-up. For mul-gwang make-up, it is best to use a base with a high moisture content or a pearl base. This will give your whole face a bit of a shine and tone-up. Next, apply a foundation or BB cream suited to your skin type. Selecting the proper color can seem overwhelming, with numbers varying by brand and product line. Generally, those with a pinker skin tone use colors 13 and 21, while people with a more yellow skin tone use numbers 22 and 23.
The next step is applying eye make-up, designed to draw attention to the eyes while remaining clean and clear. You can achieve this effect with the use of products such as eyeliner, eye shadow, and glitter. Eye make-up can largely be divided into products for brow, lid, and lash.
- Eye shadow: Select a color that isn’t too vibrant or flashy. K-beauty trends aim for a natural look, so aim for a pink or coral color. Using three to four similar colors for blending is normal; eye shadow palettes offering similar colors are great options. Use the lightest color on the prominent part of your eyelid, and the deeper colors for accent.
- Eyeliner & lashes: Filling in the eyelashes at the waterline creates a clean, full-lashed look. For lasting effect, choose a waterproof product. For more naturally curling lashes, press the eyelash curler in three spots, moving outward as you go. When you have a curl you like, apply mascara to the lashes.
- Eyebrow: After you have your eye make-up to your liking, it’s time to fill in the brows. K-beauty trends favor a straight brow that is thick and short, which creates a more youthful image. Using an eyebrow kit, fill in your brows with a color that matches your natural eyebrows. For a natural look, be sure to fill in the brows with multiple strokes. If you have thin eyebrows, you can make them appear fuller by also applying eyebrow mascara or using an eyebrow pencil.
At this point, your make-up is nearly finished. However, your face might have lost a bit of its glow, looking the same shade all around. To fix this, you can contour with blush and shading; K-beauty trends tend to favor highlighting for a brighter look.
- Blush: Blush, a necessary step in K-beauty make-up, is used to apply color to the cheeks for a healthy, lively look. For a daily look, pink or coral colored blushers are best. In addition to a rainbow of colors, blushers also come in a multitude of types, although cushion types are recommended for mul-gwang make-up. To apply the blush, pat the cushion on the cheekbone, blending naturally outward.
- Shading: Shading make-up products are great for creating the face shape you want. The artful use of shading can create the illusion of a more defined nose or jawline. If you want to make your face appear smaller, apply shading to the hairline. If you want a more oval shaped face, apply shading all along the jawline.
The final step in our tutorial is applying lip make-up! Most K-beauty aficionados swear by lip tint for its lasting power. A quick sweep of lip gloss over the tint for some shine and your K-beauty look is complete!
- Lip tint: Lip tints are one of the most popular K-beauty cosmetics around. In comparison with lipstick, tints have a heavier moisture base, allowing the color to sink into the lip and stay longer. Use two colors for a gradation, or simply use less tint on the outer edges for a similar look.
- Lip gloss: While lip gloss is not required, adding it over the lip tint will give shine to your lips, an important aspect of mul-gwang make-up. As an added bonus, it also provides a boost of moisture! Lip glosses come in many colors, but we recommend one with a bit of sparkle for that extra edge.
Make-up artist Cho Myoung-ae (Cindy)
Make-up artists in charge of make-up and hair styling for a variety of areas, including K-beauty, fashion, broadcasting, jewelry, wedding, etc.
* This column was last updated in March 2020, and therefore information may differ from what is presented here. We advise you to check details before visiting.