Puppy eyes and cute “eye bags”? These are some of the distinctive features when it comes to Korean eye makeup. You’ve seen K-pop female idol groups such as Twice and Red Velvet do it and may have wondered, “How do I do Korean eye makeup like that?”
The answer? Yes, you can, and it is actually not as hard as you might expect.
The following tutorial will teach you how to do Korean eye makeup and we’ve made it simple enough that even beginners can follow along. We’ve also included eyeshadow palette recommendations to help you achieve trendy Korean eye makeup looks, as well as our favourite video tutorials to help you practise.
5 easy steps to do Korean eye makeup
1. Keeping the colours to a minimal
Doing Korean eye makeup is all about making your eyes look younger and brighter, but at the same time keeping it simple and achieving a natural look with only a slight hint of colour.
Most of the time, Koreans like to keep the colours on their eyes to a minimal. Korean eye makeup sees more neutral and natural colours such as brown or rose-pink that would complement our complexion the best.
Brown is usually recommended for beginners as it is a fail-proof shade that is almost universally flattering.
After choosing a shade that is just slightly darker than your skin tone, apply them over the dotted area that is shown in the picture above. You can either use a brush or simply use your fingers!
2. Giving your eyes the extra pop
The next steps aren’t really specific to Korean eye makeup and can apply to any eyeshadow look, so beginners can really benefit from these tips.
Choose a lighter shade that has a slight shimmer and apply them over the center of your eyelid. This will let your eyes really “pop”.
To nail that Korean eye makeup look, apply the same colour below your lower lash line in the center, as shown in the picture above. This will give you the effect of having ‘aegyo sal’ or also known as cute eye bags, a look that is super popular in Korea.
Korean girls tend to make it a point to highlight their ‘aegyo sal’ as it will give others the feeling that they are always smiling. You can’t learn how to do Korean eye makeup without trying this look out!
3. Shading the three Vs
Using a darker shade of eye shadow, apply it over the outer corner of your eyelid following the shape of an outward-pointing triangle.
If you are using a brush, remember to always tap off the excess eye shadow before gently applying them onto your eye lid. Blend it well so that you will not have any harsh lines at the corner of your eye.
Repeat the steps for the inner corner of your eyelid and the outer corner of your lower lash line as shown above. These three regions are known as the “holy trinity” of Korean eye makeup because shading them with a darker colour will give your eyes the appearance of depth.
4. Use eyeliner to get the puppy eye look
The next key point is lining your eyes!
As mentioned earlier, Korean eye makeup is about being “natural”. Most Korean girls prefer to use pencil eyeliners as it creates softer, more natural-looking lines. However, you can always work with other types of eyeliner you are more comfortable with.
While you can certainly choose to do a regular winged eyeliner style that you’re more familiar with, the “puppy eye” look is trending in Korea. To achieve this look, make sure the outer end of your line is slanted in a downward angle and that it extends slightly downwards, following your eye shape.
DV tip: If you have oily lids, use a smudge-proof brush-tipped liquid eyeliner of a similar colour and go over the end of the eyeliner again. That way, you can ensure that your eyeliner will not smudge underneath your eyes, even for a long period of time.
Also try experimenting with the colour of your eyeliner. If you want to create a more natural look, use brown eye liner instead of black. Black eye liner tends to give off a stronger vibe and we are sure you will notice the vast difference when you switch up those colours.
5. Curling and applying mascara
The final step is to curl your eyelashes and apply mascara! Before we do that, here is a simple trick that will make you look like as if you have fuller eyelashes.
Line your water line with pencil eyeliner as shown in the picture below. Pencil eyeliners work best, since they are more smudge-proof and waterproof than gel and liquid eyeliners. This step is optional, but it is strongly recommended because it will give the impression that you naturally have fuller eyelashes.
Curl your eyelashes with a curler that works for your eye shape.
East-Asian eyes tend to be less deep-set than that of other ethnicities, and if this applies to you, you may need to find a curler that has a flatter angle so it can hug the contour of your eye nicely. Brands that are famous for making curlers specific to Asian eyes are Shu Uemura and Shiseido.
Depending on the type of eyelashes you have, you can use a mascara that gives you more volume, length, or both. With a suitable mascara, apply it over your upper and lower lashes after curling your eyelashes.
DV Tip: You can try applying a lash primer or a mascara fixer before using before using the actual mascara. It will help to hold your curls and the mascara will last longer than before.
With these five simple steps, you have now completed the Korean eye makeup for beginners! We’re sure you’d agree that these steps aren’t hard to achieve at all, but always remember that practice makes perfect!
Eyeshadow palettes you can use to create Korean eye makeup
You may already own an eyeshadow palette for beginners but the colours may be more suited for Western, rather than Korean, eye makeup looks. Here are a few recommendations that are trendy in the K-beauty space now.
3CE Mini Multi Eye Color Palette
For eye makeup looks that you see on Korean ulzzang, consider eyeshadow palettes from 3CE.
Their popular mini palettes carry only four coordinated colours. Pick Rose Latte or Brown Rum if you prefer matte finishes or go crazy with Glitter Bomb if you want something that acts as a great highlight.
They also have palettes in this range that have both matte and glitter shades that are more versatile. If you’re looking for these, check out Side by Side (pictured) and Almond Fudge.
Retails between S$37 and S$34. Click on the link to check for latest promotions.
Dear Dahlia Mesmerizing Moment Collection Eyeshadow Palette
Korean brand Dear Dahlia is known for its line of makeup products that help create ethereal Korean eye makeup looks.
We love this palette because it carries eight curated colours that are meant to work well with one another.
If you’re not sure which one to go for, we recommend Golden Goddess (pictured), which has shades that flatter warm skin tones. They include mattes, silky shimmers, and high-impact glitters to give you a wide range of combinations.
You’d also love how buttery smooth the texture of the powders are, which help make it easy to blend them out.
Retails for S$86. Click on the link below to check for latest promotions.
Etude Play Color Eyes Huge discount available
This nine-shade palette has easy-to-blend powders that you don’t need pro techniques to pull off.
We particularly like it in Tulip Day (pictured), which is made up of matte and shimmer shades that are super wearable. Pick the brown shades for everyday Korean eye makeup looks that work anywhere, or the peachy ones for a romantic style.
Retails for S$34. There’s a huge 58% available at the time of writing. Click on the link below to check for latest price.
rom&nd Better Than Eyes Most affordable
Up-and-coming Korean makeup brand rom&nd is receiving big love from K-beauty fans, thanks to its affordable but quality products.
This is why we recommend its Better Than Eyes palette, which consists of four wearable shades that beginners will not be intimidated by.
For the trendiest looks of the year, consider investing in the shade Dry Rose (pictured).
Retails for S$26.90. There is a 25% discount available at the time of writing. Click on the link to see latest price.
Pixi + Heart Defensor Eye Heart Eyeshadow Palette
You don’t necessarily need to get a K-beauty palette to create Korean eye makeup looks. This one from Pixi works well too.
With eight gorgeous shades, this palette also offers good value for money.
Extra tip: Some of the shades in Double Tap (pictured) work well as blushes too! Double win!
Retails for S$30. Click on the link below to check for promotions.
UNLEASHIA Tap Me Palette Duo
Think you can’t deal with huge palettes? Go for this duo instead.
Each palette comes with one matte and one glitter shade to create beautiful gradients that Korean eye makeup looks are known for.
You’ll love the formula of these palettes from the cult Korean brand and how long-lasting it is.
Retails for S$29. There’s a 21% discount available at the time of writing. Click on the link to check for latest price.
Korean eye makeup tutorials to watch
Now that you’ve got the basic techniques nailed down and the basic tools you need, it’s time to get some practice.
Here are makeup tutorials from some of our favourite Korean content creators on YouTube that you should check out.
Matte Caramel Korean eye makeup by PONY Syndrome
Vintage nude Korean eye makeup by 안다 ANDA
Cute Korean eye makeup by beauty only 아름다움
Now that you’ve aced the Korean eye makeup application, you may also want to make sure you’ve nailed down the other Korean makeup looks and trends: