Who wouldn’t want to be like any one of the stars in K-pop sensation BLACKPINK and have head turns when you walk into a room with top-tier idol makeup?
And all of BLACKPINK’s notable gorgeous looks are because of celebrity makeup artist Myungsun Lee, also known as Maeng Ssaem.
As the pop stars’ “most-trusted artist” and having worked with them for years, who better to give us makeup tips and advice than Maeng Ssaem herself?
Read on for a step-by-step guide we’ve picked up from Maeng Ssaem’s YouTube channel, as well as some useful tips.
It might seem daunting with the number of products necessary and the steps involved, but you’ll realise that “less is more” and you’re simply enhancing your natural beauty.
Step one, of course, is to get your skin ready with your skincare routine.
This is super important because well-prepped skin ensures smooth foundation application and helps your makeup stay on for longer.
After you’re done with your skincare, don’t forget to apply sunscreen! Here, Maeng Ssaem uses a stick sunscreen, a product that’s been trending and highly raved about in the beauty world due to its effectiveness and convenience.
Tip from Maeng Ssaem: Sunscreen clumps up on the edges of our faces and could ruin our base makeup, so use a damp latex sponge and dab it all over your face once more for better absorption.
If you’re new to stuck sunscreens, give ABIB’s sun stick a go. Its curved shape allows for an even easier application onto our faces — making sure that it can reach every part of your face.
Plus, it has a refreshing texture which means no greasiness or white cast. And the molecules of the sun stick are bonded with hydrogen to control excessive oil while hydrating the skin.
ABIB Quick Sunstick Protection bar retails for S$19.69 instead of S$28.12 on YesStyle.
It’s no secret that the “no makeup” makeup look was a big hit and continues to be for the unforeseeable future (even celebrities and pop stars are rocking red carpets and going onto stages bare-faced or with very light makeup).
Pick a foundation with a thinner and more liquid consistency, and apply only one layer.
Imagine an inverted triangle on your face — where your eyes, nose, and mouth resides — and start applying towards the inside of your face.
You can also even out the skin on your eyelids with the remaining foundation if you’re planning on having eyeshadow.
Tips from Maeng Ssaem:
- It’s easy for the T-zone and tip of the nose to get cakey, so apply a small amount of foundation in those areas.
- Focus on enhancing your natural skin (covering imperfections, correcting skin tone, and covering dark eye circles) rather than covering blemishes when doing your base.
The trick here is to only cover your dark eye circles partially. You just need to cover the darkened areas along the muscle.
Apply the remaining concealer to the sides of your nose and corners of your mouth if there’s any redness or discolouration.
Here, Maeng Ssaem uses the Camouflage Cream concealer from German brand MALU WILZ Beauté, and a small rounded brush for the application.
Known for being the waterproof concealer for all skin types, the MALU WILZ Camouflage Cream is very pigmented and has higher opacity.
It’s no wonder why the BLACKPINK girls’ makeup still looks flawless after getting off stages and photoshoots. Surely worth a try, especially if it means your concealer will stay persistent in sunny yet humid Singapore.
MALU WILZ Camouflage Cream retails for S$20.41 on Shopee.
Some of us may be guilty of either not setting our face at all or setting it way too much. For that perfect idol makeup look, you’ll need to learn how to get the right balance with setting powders.
According to Maeng Ssaem, you’ll only need to apply the powder partially to the areas that tend to get oily. This means your T-zone, areas your hair touches, or your eyebrow bone areas.
Here, Maeng Ssaem is using Laura Mercier’s award-winning Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which is a cult favourite and must-have for any makeup lover.
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder retails for S$70 on Sephora.
As for natural-looking brows, you’ll want the edges to be smooth instead of sharp.
Use an eyeshadow shade that’s one shade lighter than your eyebrows and think about creating a nice gradient.
Then, use an olive or grey coloured pencil, something that mimics the colour of shadows, to define the bottom part of your brows.
If you have thinner eyebrow hair, you can use a brow gel or clear mascara on the front to middle parts of your brows to let the hair clump up a little for a more natural effect.
Before continuing to eyeshadows, if your lashes tend to droop, use a lash curler and partially curl the roots of your lashes.
Maeng Ssaem explained how brown and gold shades used to be popular back then, but now it’s “colours that give a natural look like your eyes with a bit of depth and a young cool tone is the go-to vibe”.
Start by adding some depth on the bottom of your eyelids with a shade closer to mauve. Don’t be afraid to mix two shades together!
Then, use a lighter, yoghurt-like shade on the rest of the eyelids, including the area from the eye sockets to where the nose bridge connects.
For an aegyo-sal look, use the same mauve shade and swipe it over your under eyes lightly.
Now, on to perfect wings!
Tip from Maeng Ssaem: Instead of using the eyeliner pens directly, you can dab the product onto a small rounded brush for easier application.
Start from near the edge of your upper waterline and lightly brush outwards to create a subtle cat look.
The important thing to take note of is to follow the shape of your eyes! If you need a little help in that department, take a look at our guide for drawing winged eyeliner on Asian eyes.
And if you’d like to soften the eyeliner, you can always add a little of the mauve shade used previously on the edges of the wings.
Before putting on falsies, remember to apply mascara first.
Here’s where it gets experimental. Instead of using the whole piece of false eyelashes, Maeng Ssaem gives an illusion of larger, doll-like eyes by glueing small pieces of falsies onto parts of the lash. She does this by placing it near the pupils.
Blush and contour
You’ll want to be gentle with both the blush and contour.
For the blush, apply it softly around the centre of the cheek. Then, add some contour around the jawline.
Remember, it’s all about following your features and bringing out your natural look!
Plump, voluminous and overlined lips are still very much in trend.
First, use a shade closest to your natural lip colour and smudge them along the lip lines. This will make your lips look bigger.
Next, go in with a deeper or more vivid shade and focus it mostly on the inner parts of your lips. Brush outwards to create that ombré lip effect.
With highlight, subtlety will make you shimmer more than you’d expect.
Apply some highlight lightly to your cheekbones, nose bridge, the tip of the nose, and chin.
Maeng Ssaem uses highlighter as the focal point and does this to give a glow to areas of the face that are reflected.
Additionally, for a little bit more bling, Maeng Ssaem usually adds little dots of liquid glitter on the bottom lash line right before the BLACKPINK girls go on stage.
And there you have it, a full-on K-pop idol makeup!
If you prefer to watch a video on doing “idol makeup”, here it is:
Feature image credit: @iammaeng/Instagram