Korean Make-up – First steps Guide

Learn how to achieve the everyday korean makeup look

Korean Makeup

During the last years and especially in the last months, I have been noticing a major trend going on through well-known western make-up stores and on the “tube” as well; it’s about Korean’s women everyday make-up routine.

As you all know, I’m very passionate and fascinated about anything that has to do with Asian trends, so I could not leave this unnoticed. Keep in mind that beauty is affected by fashion and it changes all the time. My purpose through this article is to give an intro to the Korean makeup style.

To start with, I watched many videos to understand the process behind it and subscribed also to many Korean Beauty Influencers. Moreover, to be sure of the reliability of my sources, I asked for a feedback to one of my Korean girl-friends.

When looking at pictures of Korean women in ads and music videos you will notice that, their trend is a no-makeup look with soft colors, natural looking checks and a dewy skin finish. It’s really the opposite of western makeup! What stroke me the most is that it makes your skin look younger and healthier too! Never a bad idea, right? 😉 

So let me explain the process:

Korean Dewy Skin Foundation

1. FOUNDATION: keeping in mind that the skin needs to look as natural as possible, Korean women prefer using BB creams or CC cushion products, but if they need a little more coverage, they may opt for a thin layer of foundation. Moreover, they may also mix the three products together to obtain the desired effect and coverage. If not satisfied with the consistency of the foundation, thinking it’s too dry, they may also mix a little oil skin product to obtain a more moist texture. The key is a pale and translucent skin. No setting powder is used! Yup, you read correctly, the finish needs to remain dewy. 

2. CONCEALER: unlike western YouTube/Instagram trends, Korean ladies will only cover dark under eye circles and skin imperfections that need a little retouch. Simple right?

3. BROWS: for the past 4 years, the preferred eyebrow shape style has been straight and thick, drawn with powder products; nowadays, the trend is shifting to a more arch-like form. Many women tend to get their eyebrows tattooed, an ongoing trend in western countries as well. 

4. EYES: natural earth tone shades are preferred and washed all over the lid and on the crease. No Glitter. The eye shape is kept round and not upwards like western looks. For a cuter appearance, K-women will use a lighter eyeshadow, more skin tone like (or a highlighter) under the eye and in the inner corner. Why? The reason is that by doing so, you will accentuate the puffiness of the under eye area looking younger. In particular, that’s the area, which naturally shows more when you smile. Try smiling in front of a mirror and you will notice it.

5. EYELINER: eyeshadows (for a soft effect) or eyeliners (for a glamourous look) are used to line the eyes. The shape created, unlike the western cat eyeliner, is a down ward wing. The result is a “sad puppy look” that is highly perceived as cute.

Korean Eyeliner

6. EYELASHES: the number one rule to achieve more “openness” to the eye, is to curl your lashes before applying mascara. Korean women strongly invest on electronic curlers to accomplish that perfect curl. Mascara is then applied to complete the eye.

7. CONTOUR: not as popular as you would think, remember that we are keeping it as much natural as possible. Shading will only be used to make faces look smaller, applying it on the jawline creating a “V” shape.

Korean blush

8. CHEEKS: pink blush goes for the most and it is applied only on the apples of the cheek, to give that perception of a rose baby pinched face. Remember the keywords are always natural and youthful.

9. GRADIENT LIPS: largely used are tint items for the lips, but K-younger women prefer using lipsticks. The tendency is to darken the center of the lips, while fading the colour towards the lip line. You can do that applying 1 lip colour on the center of the lips and with the help of concealer, fade the shade towards the lipline or you can use 2 lip colours of different shades, the lighter one will be applied on the whole lip, while the darker one only on the center.

Korean Gradient lips

Which Steps I adopted in my make-up routine:

As I fell so much in love with this look, I decided to adopt some of the steps in my own makeup routine adapting them to my skin and what I actually own. 

1. Foundation: Due to my dark under eye circles, I used to look for highly coverage foundations for my everyday looks. A habit that my skin did not need. After analyzing the Korean makeup routine, I started wearing a BB cream alone or mixing it with a little foundation. I have to admit that my skin blesses me, as I have rare breakouts, no skin scars or issues that need to be covered up, except for dark under eyes. I’m very happy about it, as it seems that I have very little makeup on and it really gives a natural finish.

2. Another step that I adopted relates to the eyes. For my everyday look, I’m wearing more earth tone shadows (sometimes just 1!) and I really like to highlight more my under eye area. 

3. As I really like the idea of having “baby rose pinched cheeks”, I started using my everyday blush on the apples of the cheeks and less on my cheekbones. 

4. Gradient Lips. This is my most favorite step. I love the western gradient lip trend, but when you are in a hurry (read it as always late in the morning!), it’s not your best choice. The Korean Gradient Lip is fast, easy and so simple to replicate. Furthermore, I really love the result, it really looks so natural and you can mix 2 colours without looking like a clown! 

I hope you liked this article, as much as I liked writing it. I would also like to thank my Korean friend Christine for her feedback and tips, without which I would have not been able to be so precise and up-to-date with Korean makeup beauty trends! Will you adopt some of these steps in your make-up routine?! Which one?

Thank you,  



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