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What makes Korean makeup stand out?

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Updated : July 04 2018

What's all the hype about Korean makeup and what are the characteristics that make it stand out? Below, we aim to describe some of the key factors behind the Korean look.

1. Road shops


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Photo credit: Logo from each site
In Korea, there are a bunch of cosmetic shops on the streets that sell quality products. They are referred to locally as “road shops.” The stalls sell beauty products at cheaper prices than department stores, giving the Korean masses a wide range of cosmetics choices.



2. Brighter foundation


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Photo credit: Tina Yong's YouTube
Koreans tend to apply brighter foundation than their facial skin tones for fairer complexions, as compared to the US where people generally prefer to use foundation to fit the natural skin color. In the US, sometimes a toned-down darker foundation is used for makeup for a tanned look. The difference in the choice of foundations shows a difference in beauty standards.


3. Straight vs. angled


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Photo credit: @Jichulover
It had been a trend here to draw eyebrows straight and thick, on the belief it lends a younger and softer look. This is strikingly different from the US, where arched eyebrows are favored to accentuate one’s personality. The shapes of eyebrows are regarded as an important factor to a person’s first impression. The shape of the eyebrows may depend on the shape of a person’s face, but Korea is showing signs of moving away from straight brows to an arched look.


4. Popping lip colors


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Photo credit: @Jichulover
Nude lips are rarely seen for women in Korea. Women here tend to go for bright colors when choosing lipstick. They also use gradation techniques to give their makeup a more moist and natural feel. The gradation can done by applying the lipstick or tint vividly on the center of the lips and fading the colors out to the end of the lips. One could also use two different lipsticks, such as red and pink, to create the gradation.

By Lim Jeong-yeo and Kim Soo-bin (soob@heraldcorp.com)

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