Everything out of Korea seems to be hot these days, from K-pop to kimchi to K-dramas. Add to that list Korean makeup trends that are a fun way to switch up your look. Here, easy how-to’s to get the K-makeup look.
Korean women are all about the dong-an (baby) face, and the quickest way to get this look is with the il-jja brow. Named after the number “1,” il-jja brows are straight across the bottom, without a pronounced arch, and with a shorter and fuller taper at the end. Contrast this with a “western style brow, which typically has a high arch with a skinny tail end,” says makeup artist Christina Choi. “The il-jja brow gives you a more youthful look.”
The color is important, too. Use a brown powder one to two shades lighter than your natural brow color, like Christina Choi Cosmetics’ Chai Eyeshadow. (Korean vlogger Dayomi uses Smog from Urban Decay’s Naked palette for her brows.) “Using a firm angled liner brush, dip your brush into the shadow and start outlining the top part of your brow using feather-like strokes,” says Choi. “Avoid creating a high arch — keep the line straight. Next, fill in your brows and then outline the lower part of your brow.” If your natural arch is too high or you don’t want to look too cartoon-y, do a modified il-jja like Jun Ji-Hyun’s, which has a slight curve.
WATER SHEEN COMPLEXION (MUL GWANG)
Another Korean beauty requirement is mul gwang — that super-shiny, almost wet-looking complexion. But don’t go overboard and look, as one Korean woman put it, like you have Pond’s cold cream smeared all over your face. To get just the right balance, Korean vlogger Dayomi applies a mixture of liquid foundation and a dollop of Vaseline with a foundation brush, finished with a touch of mineral powder. For less over-the-top luster, replace Vaseline with a face balm or try a cushion compact — a BB cream in a liquid sponge compact — that’s currently all the rage in Korea. To prevent slippage, Choi recommends finishing with a light dusting of translucent loose powder, focusing on the outer perimeter of the face, then lightly dusting towards the center.
The last step in a perfectly dong-an look is the “gradation” lip. Also called the gradient lip, it’s an ombré effect with the strongest color on the inner lips, gently fading to a soft, blurred effect at the lip line. It’s not as extreme as you see on runways — it’s a more subtle gradient effect that just makes the lips look airbrushed. To achieve the look, apply a matte-ish pink on the entire lip (don’t use a beige or nude, lest your lips look super thin) and then apply a hot pink gloss along the inner edge of the lips. Gently press lips together to blend the color out, almost to the edge of the lips, but not quite.