K-Pop Beauty Inspiration, Spring 2017

As you probably know by now, I am k-pop girl-group trash. I watch a lot of k-pop videos, which means that I encounter a lot of k-beauty. Sometimes I resolve to devote an entire post to the makeup in one music video, only to find an even better look in another video three days later. If I go on like this much longer, I’ll have a yearlong backlog, so let this post be my official trend report for spring 2017. I’ve isolated three trends from a range of videos, and since they’re all more or less wearable, I hope you get some spring inspiration from this post!

Trend #1: Hazy Peachy Eyes

This is a much softer version of the warm smoky eye that still dominates Western Insta-beauty. In most iterations of this look, one or two light peachy shades are blown out all over the lid and the lower lashline, with a thin brown or black liner on the upper lashline. Sometimes the peach or orange accents are concentrated on the outer corners of the eyes, with a more neutral shadow on the rest of the lid. Belly’s recent look with Suqqu’s new Kisui palette is a great everyday version of this look; here are some non-everyday versions, complete with face stickers!1. Twice, “Knock Knock”

Twice is the Korean girl group of the moment, which means that several groups have already copied the makeup in this video and more will probably copy it before long. In keeping with their young, fresh image, the members of Twice are wearing very delicate monochrome peach looks, like this one on Nayeon. If you look closely, the peachy color is concentrated at the outer corners and winged out slightly.


A closer look at the peachy eye:

This is all very subtle, though. Let’s progress to something a bit bolder:

2. Lovelyz, “WoW!”

Here the diffused peach is darker and rustier, and it surrounds the entire eye, with an accent of thin black liner on the upper lashline. To be fair, there’s an orangey filter on the shot below; the actual makeup is probably more subtle than it looks here.

Even zoomed out, though, you can see a slight smoky effect:

Edit: Lovelyz featured yet another peachy eye in a teaser video for a new song!

3. Pristin, “Wee Woo”

K-pop newcomers Pristin deliver the boldest of these three peachy looks. Here the peach verges on orange, and is packed onto the lid with a thicker black liner:

Like the peach shadow in the Twice video, this orange shade is winged out:

Again, there’s a warm peachy filter that could be influencing the look of the makeup, but whatever, I wanted to include a photo of my two favorite members, Yuha (left) and Roa:

I recently saw some tweet along the lines of “straight people will never experience the emotion of ‘oh god I’m so gay.'” Although I’m bisexual, I’d like to thank k-pop for inducing that emotion in me on a regular basis.

Trend #2: Warm Cheeks, Cool Lips

Like most makeup wearers, I match the undertones of my blush to the undertones of my lipstick, so I was taken aback this spring to see multiple k-pop groups pairing peachy cheeks with fuchsia or berry lips. It’s such a simple twist, but counterintuitive enough to make an impression. My first example is relatively subtle:

1. Dreamcatcher, “Good Night”In one of the bizarre reshufflings that seem to happen every other week in k-pop, obscure girl group Minx added two new members and rebranded as the leather-wearing, heavy-metal-influenced Dreamcatcher earlier this year. Most k-pop rebrandings come to nothing, but this one was well-considered: the group’s fanbase has grown, especially internationally (check out their cover of Maroon 5’s “Lucky Strike”), and their music and powerful dance moves set them apart from more sugary girl groups like Twice. In the video for “Good Night,” the undead grayish cast of the members’ skin is the most noticeable makeup effect, but the blush/lipstick combo comes a close second:

One of my favorite girl groups, EXID, had a somewhat disappointing comeback this month. The new single is decidedly less upbeat than their usual fare, while the video is full of the blown-out filters that k-pop MV directors seem to love these days. And is it even an EXID video without surrealist sexual innuendo? However, “Night Rather than Day” has one redeeming factor: Junghwa’s makeup, as seen below.

EXID has a more ~adult concept than most girl groups (though Junghwa, the youngest member, is only twenty-one), and the makeup in this video is accordingly sultry and edgy. Junghwa is wearing a bronzey smoky eye with winged liner, and her peach blush is concentrated in a horizontal lozenge shape level with the tip of her nose and stretching the length of each eye. This is the igari look, meant to give a “hungover” effect—which makes sense, considering that she’s drinking wine fully clothed in an empty bathtub. (Hence her wine-stained lips, too.)

LE’s look doesn’t fit into this trend at all, but I’m going to include it because I can:

Trend #3: Messy Waves

K-pop usually tries to project an image of sleek perfection, so the mussed hair I’ve been seeing in videos and photoshoots is a welcome change, even if it’s just as calculated as anything else in the industry. Here’s another screenshot from the Lovelyz video; Jiae’s hairstyle (left) is ’80s in an ungood way, but I love Kei’s messy pigtails.

Taeyeon, leader of Girls’ Generation and queen of my heart, in her solo song “Make Me Love You”:

Jessica Jung, formerly of Girls’ Generation (that scandal will send you down an Internet rabbit hole, be warned):

Sulli, formerly of f(x), for Elle Korea:

I’m not sure how many of my readers are at all interested in k-pop, but I hope you enjoyed this post nonetheless! I’d like this to become a semi-regular feature on my blog, with a few more installments throughout the year. For now, here’s what I’ll be up to this weekend:

12 thoughts on “K-Pop Beauty Inspiration, Spring 2017

  1. I'm basically striving for the inverse of trend #2 at the moment, cool cheeks and warm lips. while i have so many warm lipsticks, not close to finding the perfect cool cheeks yet! what i currently work with now is a cool-toned barbie pink blush, like just a pop of that colour on my cheeks. sometimes it can look weird over all the warmth i have (i also wear warm bronzer on a daily basis) but i love it!also, i hope this is not creepy at all, but is there any way we can stalk your music-listening habits? spotify playlist, for eg., if you're comfortable with sharing that? i used to listen to kpop exclusively but stopped a couple of years ago. I feel like… an irrelevant ahjumma. i need guidance to get back into listening kpop.


  2. The inverse would be beautiful, too. I remember pairing Revlon Fire & Ice lipstick with Tony Moly Milky Violet blush and liking how it looked. And no, that's not creepy at all! I've never used Spotify, though; I'll have to look into it. I feel like an ahjumma too, simply because 95% of active k-idols are younger than I am. (I'm closest in age to TOP, who's a mere two days younger. Clearly this means we're meant to be together.)


  3. I love reading about Korean and Japanese trends, which often seem to translate better to real life than those you see in North American sources. I'm kind of fascinated by K-pop culture, although I don't like the music itself.


  4. Yes, I love how Korean and Japanese makeup focuses on subtle modifications of color and placement, but you can absolutely tell that the makeup is there. North American makeup these days seems to be divided between Instagram maximalism and Glossier I'm-too-cool-for-makeup-ism, neither of which I find particularly inspiring.K-pop is certainly not for everybody! Honestly, one of the reasons I find it so fascinating is that the odds of making it as a k-pop star are similar to the odds of getting a tenure-track job in the humanities, i.e. very slim. Makes me feel less alone, I think.


  5. Haha, this is like how Kate used to do it…I most of the time I am chicken that I only wear the sheer Japanese ones. Your post reminded me that I forgot to add a visee orange crayon in my cart when I was hoarding Canmake. Hopefully it will still be in stock next e-trip…


  6. Thank you for this fun post! I love seeing the new K beauty trends (via K-pop) even though I'm probably not the right demographic for the looks. 🙂 Even still, very pretty and fun to look at.


  7. Wow, looks like I've been following Korean trends without knowing. Yesterday, I wore a warm nude blush (Too Faced Baby Love) with a pink/purple lipstick (Urban Decay Bittersweet). I also have messy hair… hopefully, the messy trend catches on in the U.S., hehe.


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