South Korea has beauty on lock, and I’m not just talking about BB cream. Lately, it seems like every look I love turns out to be from Korea. It’s like they have some kind of mainline right to the pleasure center of my brain. I guess the fact that every look is either pink, inspired by a baby animal, or both sort of means they do. I talked to Charlotte Cho, cofounder and CEO of online Korean beauty retailer Soko Glam, about three of my favorites.
Gradient lips: “Korean dramas are a huge influence in Korea. On one show, a girl did a hot pink gradient lip, and it spread like wildfire,” says Cho. While gradient lips can be kind of complicated, involving concealer to hide the edges of the lips and a very specific application of several shades of color, “most girls don’t go that far,” Cho tells me. Instead, they’ll apply the color directly to the inner part of the lips, and then blend out, so it gradually gets lighter toward the edges, like you just ate a hot pink popsicle. Here are some examples from Hantastic Beauty.
Puppy eyes: “Korean-style makeup always has to do with looking youthful and fresh,” says Cho, hence “puppy eyes,” which are the cuter, sweeter version of cat-eyes. Instead of winging the liner up as you would for the feline version, draw it down from the top lid and over from the bottom, creating a little triangle at the lower outside corner of your eye. (See the difference in this post on XoVain.) It makes you look a little sad, but in a cute way, kind of like a Precious Moments doll. Cho credits Hyuna, Korean pop star and costar of the “Gangnam Style” video, as the progenitor of the look.
Aegyo-sal: “This translates as baby fat under the eye,'” says Cho, describing the trend of purposefully creating puffy undereyes. “People think it makes your eyes look brighter and more youthful.” While some people are actually getting surgery to get the look (check out our September issue for more on that!), the easiest way to get your own more low-key, temporary version is with a little contouring. Popular Korean brand Etude House sells a tool specifically for this purpose, or you can just use a little brown shadow and highlighter. Check out Michelle Phan’s tutorial here.
“I think it’s really cool that a lot of creative things are coming from Asia because for most of history, all of the influences were Western to Asia and not the other way around,” says Cho, “I see that shifting in so many ways, and I think it’s really cool.” My puppy eyes and I would have to agree.
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