If you’re fashion, style, or beauty obsessed like us, you’re probably aware that Asia is often a decad ahead of the western hemisphere when it comes to trends and products. Pastel hair colors have hit the Internet hard, but they’ve been popular in Japan for years! Recently, no country more so than Korea has dominated the beauty and skincare game. Every company from Sephora to Chanel has started picking up the Korean beauty trends to make them ubiquitous and chic. If you aren’t familiar with the fabulous pampering of the Korean beauty regime, then relax, throw on a sheet mask, and keep reading!
You’ve probably seen them all over Instagram, or sold individually packaged at the aisle-of-wallet-emptying in your local Sephora. Sheet masks are face masks that come prepackaged and evenly spread onto thin pastel paper. Just like any good mask, some exfoliate, some rejuvenate, and some moisturize – but all of them make you feel like a queen. They’re so easy to use, too – unfold, smooth over your skin, take a few selfies, and watch an episode of the Bachelorette. Rinse, and just try to stop touching your rose-petal-smooth skin!
Soft, straight eyebrows
The popular Korean eyebrow is very different from the arched, sharp ‘Instagram’ brow that was brought into the spotlight by celebrities like Kim Kardashian. Instead, Korean makeup gurus prefer a very soft, straight, and full eyebrow. These brows are created with a pencil, and often are ashier in color. It’s important to use small strokes and build slowly – the goal is to keep your brows looking as natural as possible.
This is another one of important Korean beauty secrets. Korean ladies take the care of their skin very seriously, and part of that skincare involves very regimented but gentle cleansing methods. Double cleansing is exactly what it sounds like – cleansing twice. Korean cleansers are often oil-based, and the first cleanse is meant to remove makeup and dirt, while the second is to gently exfoliate. Because of the oil, double cleansing won’t strip skin of its natural moisture barrier, and will leave it feeling supple and smooth. Always follow up with a good moisturizer!
Lip stains are certainly nothing new to us – ancient Romans were applying ‘stains’ made of berries as lipstick and rouge for centuries! However, the Korean method is very unique – it involves creating a gradient. This trend is called ‘bitten’ lips, and requires concealer around the edges of the lips with a soft lip stain at the center, blended outwards. It creates a very natural-looking finish, and won’t get all over your wine glass!
Sponge blush and foundation
Another one of Korean beauty secrets is sponge blush and foundation trend. We’re obsessed! Here’s the concept: instead of your blush or foundation being packaged as a liquid, powder, or mousse, it arrives (always with the cutest packaging) as a cushion – just like stamp ink cushions! Pressing the cushion releases the product, and you can use any tool you like to apply on your face. The best thing about this packaging method is the buildable product, and ‘less is more’ mentality surrounding it. Your skin will have the most refreshing dewy glow (glowing skin is a keystone of Korean beauty), and you’ll never look cakey again.
BB cream, aka Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm infiltrated the North American and European beauty markets a few years ago – and no one has looked back since. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock somewhere, BB cream is a magical blend of lightweight moisturizer and foundation. And sunscreen, and toner, and primer, and serum. Yeah, it basically does everything. When applied, it creates a light, even coverage on your skin without making it look less like…well, skin. Your entire natural glow still shines through – which is the best part about it, in our humble opinion.
This is like BB cream, but more intense. CC cream has moisturizer, and heavier tinted coverage, but it also is chock-full of exfoliants and skin-saving vitamins. The most important distinction, though, is that CC often stands for Color Corrector – CC creams often have a color correcting elements to battle redness from blemishes, or under eye circles. Both BB cream and CC cream vary from brand to brand, so it’s important to test out a few, grab some samples, and find your favorite.
Next one of Korean beauty secrets is essence.Korean skincare is so futuristic; it has products you’ve (probably) never even heard of! Don’t worry, essences are simple and totally useful. Basically, an essence product is meant to encourage cell regeneration and exfoliate very gently. It’s meant to be used after cleansing, and it hydrates, exfoliates, brightens, and firms. Sort of like a toner, but way better!
Korean beauty centers around taking incredibly good care of your skin – and that includes keeping it protected from UV rays. Brands like Shiseido and Biore have incredible lightweight sunscreens (with both a high UV index and PA) that are non-comedogenic and sit beautifully under makeup. Often, many BB and CC creams come with sunscreen already included, but it never hurts to add a little more! We think any shade of skin is beautiful, and every shade needs to be protected from the sun on a daily basis – even when it’s overcast.
And finally, one of popular Korean beauty secrets is puppy-dog eyeliner. This cute and quirky eyeliner style mirrors the winged cat-eye liner that is all the rage right now in other parts of the world. It follows a very similar premise – thin, crisp eyeliner on the top lid that wings outwards. However, while a cat-eye wings upwards, the puppy-dog eyeliner wings slightly down! It’s a cool way to create a different expression and look, and is a very nice subtle way to wear eyeliner.