How to: K-pop Idol Makeup | By: Oh My Stellar
Meet Stella from Oh My Stellar, a beauty aficionado based in Sydney, who is passionate about all things related to skincare and makeup! She is a beauty blogger and content creator who discovered her love for K-beauty while she was in music college, but really fell in love with it while studying abroad in Seoul! Since then, she has written numerous beauty blogs and reviews, bringing in tried-and-tested tips, tricks and techniques that will transform your beauty routine from wow to WHOAH!
Fun facts about Stella: She is a big K-pop fan, especially Girls Generation! Stella is no stranger to the iconic 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine and she will NEVER stop telling you to always cleanse your face (we all have been guilty of that haven’t we?)
Without further ado, Stella is here to write about the trending K-Pop Idol Makeup look for you to try, and has handpicked the best products to help you achieve the desired look effortlessly!
I have always been fascinated by K-pop idol makeup - from stage to music videos, their style is always changing and evolving. When most people think of Korean makeup, they often default to the ulzzang style - dark puppy eyeliner, gradient lips and a frosty, highlighted aegyosal (the small puff of fat beneath the eyes believed to give a youthful look). This look used to be popular amongst idols too but there has been so much change in recent years.
In my opinion, this new ‘era’ of makeup started when Pony became the makeup artist of 2NE1’s CL - she was one of the first to introduce matte, fuller lips to the idol style, totally defying previous trends. Other iconic looks in recent years would be Girls’ Generation Taeyeon’s fairy-like makeup from her ‘I’ era, as well as BLACKPINK’s editorial fashion aesthetics from the ‘How You Like That’ MV.
The idol makeup look is deceptively intimidating - there are so many different styles to play with - but you can easily break it down to just a few key points. There are general concepts that are consistent over most makeup looks so it’s much easier to focus on these and then gradually adapt to suit your style.
Now, let’s look at the three points - your base makeup, eyes and lips!
Great makeup needs a great base, so make sure that you’re using the appropriate skincare beneath your foundation. This will vary between skin types, but a great tip is to apply products in light layers - products like the ISNTREE Green Tea Fresh Toner or even the LANEIGE Cream Skin Mist are great options for lightweight and long lasting hydration.
TIP: If you have time, pop on a sheet mask too (such as THE FACE SHOP Real Nature Blueberry Mask Sheet) - this is a secret step used by most Korean makeup artists!
For makeup, focus on products that are long lasting but still give a bright, natural finish. You want your complexion to look good for as long as possible, so it's important that the product doesn't oxidize over time. A great option is the CLIO Kill Cover Founwear Cushion, which has a natural matte finish as well as a non-oxidizing, anti-darkening formula. Alternatively, you can also look into the LANEIGE Neo Cushion - it’s weightless and has a waterproof formula that also controls sebum, so it’s great for longevity.
The cushion puff is perfect for touch ups, but it’s easier to work with a blending sponge for the initial application. You can dampen this sponge for a dewy look or use as it is for higher coverage. Remember to apply your foundation in light layers and only build coverage in problem areas - this will help achieve the most natural finish.
TIP: If you’re concerned about transfer, or want to prevent makeup from rubbing off on your face mask, add a light layer of mattifying powder. The INNISFREE No Sebum Mineral Powder is perfect as it’s translucent and leaves skin with the silkiest finish.
The eyes are often the most exciting part and it’s definitely the one I have the most fun with! To achieve the idol look, the main goal is to create dimension and accent the lashes - and this can be done with some simple techniques.
Starting off with eyeshadow, neutrals are the most versatile shades to work with so look for something like the 3CE Mood Recipe Multi Eye Color Palette in Plot Twist - it’s important to have a good range of depth and a cohesive colour scheme. Blend medium and light shades all over the lid using a soft, fluffy brush and then work the deep brown tone closer to your lash line with a pencil brush. You can even give your brush a spritz of setting spray after picking up the product to further boost colour pay-off.
TIP: Lightly blend the darker shade out at the outer corner to make eyes appear larger; this will create a natural depth that in turn lits the eyes. Apply the shadow in light layers and blend in circular motions for a seamless finish.
Top this off with a hint of sparkle on the center of the eye and your aegyosal - make sure to keep the application subtle and use a product with a translucent base to avoid the frosty ulzzang vibes. The 3CE Eye Switch has a liner-type applicator which helps to focus the glitter or you can even try the 3CE Eye Switch Pot for a bolder look.
To further define the eyes, add a subtle baby wing to your upper lash line. My personal favourite is the CLIO Waterproof Brush Liner Original as it’s long lasting and also has a flexible brush tip for super smooth lines. Liquid eyeliner can take a bit of practice to get used to, but these pens are generally much easier to control too.
TIP: The straight brow trend has been evolving too. More and more, we are beginning to see idols embrace their natural arches. Experiment with different shapes and find what suits you best - there’s no right or wrong.
Finally, you can’t forget about the lashes! The idol look calls for long, separated lashes that frame the entire eye - top and bottom. If you have short lashes like me, you may appreciate the help of false lashes.
I always look for something with a natural volume. To apply, start by trimming the lashes to suit your eyes, and then hold a mirror below and look down. Although a highly unflattering angle, this actually makes it much easier to place the lash.
Afterward, use waterproof mascara (such as Daily Proof Mascara
) to blend in your natural lashes, as well as add extra definition to your lower lash line. It’s important to use something that lengthens and adds volume without clumping so that lashes can stay separated - a mascara like THE FACE SHOP Maxx'Eye Mascara in 02 Ultra Max will volumize, lengthen and curl.
TIP: Still struggling? A trick from Korean makeup artists is to use tweezers to carefully separate and bundle the lashes - it takes some time, but practice makes perfect!
The gradient lip is iconic, but this look has developed so much in the past couple of years; the new trend is all about soft mattes and feathered edges. Skip on concealing lips and just opt for a creamy tint in a colour that complements your skin tone - reds and dusty rose tones are easy to work with.
A popular product option is the 3CE Blurring Liquid Lip, as it has a blurring effect and a powdery finish. The shade range is bright but still wearable, ranging from nudes to deep reds. Another favorite among Korean makeup artists is the PERIPERA Ink Air Velvet, which has cemented itself as a cult favourite with a similar lightweight formula and super cute, travel friendly packaging.
Apply these towards the centre of the lips and feather out the edges. This look also calls for a fuller application so don’t be afraid to build up the colour. If you are concerned about dryer lips, you can use a balm underneath - just make sure to look for a formula that isn’t too glossy, as you want to maintain the matte finish.
TIP: Concerned about your lip colour transferring? You can actually use the same trick that was introduced for your base makeup! Add a very light dusting of the INNISFREE No Sebum Mineral Powder - this will minimize transfer without affecting the comfort or finish.
And those are the three key points to K-pop idol makeup. Some steps take practice but you can always work around that. I personally struggle with lashes so usually save that feature for when I have more time to fiddle around. Of course, it’s also important to note that this look can and will change. Just like how idols (and their makeup artists) will reinvent themselves for every comeback, you can take these core tips as a starting point to adapt and change to suit your personal style.
So go on, grab your makeup and try out the K-pop idol style today!
For more beauty tips from Stella, be sure to follow her!