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Are Korean makeup looks suitable for everyone? Well, not really and here’s why.

It comes to no surprise that the spread of the Korean wave has given rise to various trends in the beauty world. As such, we’ve failed to hesitate before jumping onto a K-beauty trend bandwagon in hopes of achieving the moist tinted lips and milky dewy skin sported by our favourite Korean celebrities.
But the realisation quickly sinks in the moment we attempt to recreate the looks with the oft-highly raved products— looking as close to the way Koreans (celebrities or not) look with them on is nearly as impossible as scoring a date with Gong Yoo or Song Joong Ki. Or is it?

Intended or not, South Korea is evidently known for coming up with beauty trends that extend beyond Asia. And as it often turns out with any beauty or fashion item, it’s no “one size fits all”.

The truth, as we’re well aware of, is that some looks are bound to look better on others. Let’s not ignore the fact too, that we were all born with different features and complexions that make us uniquely beautiful. So who are we to say a makeup look isn’t made for this skin or that? Everyone’s entitled to rocking their own style if it makes them feel good!

But in case you need some assurance before sporting on a “point” look in K-beauty, here’s a little beauty bible highlighting some of the common trends (and potential mishaps) so you can decide what works best for your appearance and liking!

Straight brows


One of the main things that sets Korean makeup apart from its international counterparts is straight brows, which supposedly gives you a more innocent, and thus, youthful look. In a perfect world, everyone would appear younger with straight brows. But we all know that may not always be true!

What to consider: While straight brows can radiate a younger appearance, it’s iffy to point out that the miracle of this feature works the same for everyone. After all, it usually takes a few other touches to our makeup for the age-rewinding process to take place. Straight brows with heavy contouring and a strong cat-eye look wouldn’t exactly give off an innocent vibe, would it?

How to rock it: Ultimately, the best way to rock our brows is to follow their natural shape. In fact, you might want to overlook this trend because Korean makeup experts have shared that straight brows may be losing its place to more arched brows! Some notable female K-celebs who have also gone against this long-running trend of having straight brows yet remain looking elegant include Song Hye Gyo, Suzy and Jun Ji-Hyun.

Gradient lips


We’ve seen the gradient lip game revolutionalise from the use of liquid lip tints to the current trendy Laneige Two-Tone Tint Lip Bar. As with most K-beauty trends, the idea is to have a more innocent appearance – in this case, having the inner parts of your lips tinted gives it a popsicle-stained effect.

What to consider: Moist and supple lips are key to this look, otherwise you’d look like you’ve just got off from doing overnight vampire duties! Consider applying a coat of lip balm over the tint, or opt for tinted lip balms if you’re known to have chapped lips.

How to rock it: Today, the range of products you can recreate ombre lips with are almost limitless! Try to steer away from picking up the trendiest lip product because it might not be the best for you. Take liberty in mixing your own choice of products to create a gradient lip look you’re confident to flaunt with!

Dewy skin


Going back to the days before highlighting was a thing, the Koreans were notably known for incorporating a glow to their make-up, with skincare routines (yes, we’re talking nourishing facial oils and moisturisers) infused in the whole process. When BB cushions first came out, they were initially made to achieve a glowy complexion, which gives us the impression of having supple and healthy skin.

What to consider: In a wintry climate, dewy skin wins the vote over dry and patchy skin. In a humid location like Singapore, unfortunately, our face could easily be mistaken for an oil factory by the end of the day – yikes! People with dry to combination skin may prefer a slightly dewy finish as opposed to a full-matte look. But for those with oily to combination skin, looking dewy may not be in the least attractive!

How to rock it: Given the surge in highlighters these days – which beauty gurus tend to swear by – it’s easy to find a product that’s capable of giving us a glow without making us look like a hot mess! Powder highlighters are the way to go for those with oily skin, while cream highlighters or bases are sufficient to help those with dry skin produce a natural-looking “glow from within”.

Aegyo sal


A much less talked about beauty trend that used to be the in-thing in K-beauty is the puffy eye look, better known as “aegyo sal” (read: charming/cute fats). Not to be confused with the puppy-eye look, the point of this look is to accentuate one’s eye smile – a feature that’s highly sought after to (again) look young!

What to consider: The look involves highlighting the fat pockets under our eyes with a shimmery cream or beige eye shadow, and then contouring the puffs to create a more prominent aegyo sal. Hmm…sounds like a look destined to make our dark circles worse doesn’t it? It’s perhaps not ideal for those with obvious dark circles.

How to rock it: The point of this peculiar trend is to make eye bags – okay, eye puffs – look cute. And we have to say the look is quite endearing if done just right! Try not to add too much shadow underneath the bags because it is easy for it to end up looking unflattering. If you’re not into contouring your aegyo sal, simply add some shimmery or glitter shadow beneath your waterline. This is known to make your eyes appear more awake!

Puppy eyes


If that’s not enough looks to help you achieve a more innocent appearance (which happens to be the common agenda in Korean make-up as we should have learnt by now), the puppy-eye look could be just the thing for you. It’s essentially the direct opposite of the usual cat liner!

What to consider: If you feel intimidated by the cat-eye or any thick eyeliner looks, you might want to try out the puppy-eye. The trick is to draw your eyeliner as close to your lashline, and instead of giving it a flick at the end, you’ll only extend it downwards, following the curve of your eyes. If the corners of your eyes are prone to getting oily, be sure to use a smudge-proof liner! This typically looks good if you have almond-shaped eyes, but if your eyes are naturally a little droopy, the puppy eyes look may accentuate the droop and make you look more tired.

How to rock it: There are plenty of ways to give the puppy eye look a twist. A way to make your eyes look more rounded and puppy-like, add some brown eyeliner or eye shadow on the outer third of your bottom lashes. To complement the look even further, couple it up with the aegyo sal trick, where the bottom eye is highlighted with beige or cream shadow. For the bold-hearted, you can even add a coloured line atop your original eyeliner to funk things up!